Dell's XPS M1710

Dell's pricey premium notebook targets hardcore gamers and heavy multimedia users

The Dell XPS M1710 may just be one of the fastest and juiciest notebooks around. But don't count on getting around town very fast with this baby.

Dell's premium - and pricey notebook (it has a base price of C$2,409 (AUD$2,817)) - is targeted at hardcore gamers and heavy multimedia users.

It packs quite a bit of punch, with two 2.1 GHz Intel Core Duo processors and the latest NVidia GeForce Go 7900 GTX graphics card.

This is definitely no itsy-bitsy notebook. At 3.99 kg (minus the power pack) it makes for quite a load to carry, and is not recommended for regular travel.

If looks could kill

If the weight doesn't do it, the M1710's appearance (after you turn it on) will stop you in your tracks.

"Wow, check this out," cried Julian, my 12-year-old son, when the M1710 came to life with neon blue lights streaming out of the vents of its sleek matte silver and metallic black body.

Dell's marketing team wasn't off base in describing this unit's design as "bold and brazen." Aside from my reviewer's metallic black face plate, the M1710 also comes in "Formula Red".

With 16 optional light schemes to chose from, the illuminated XPS logo and a backlit touchpad, you're guaranteed to standout in any crowd. In our dimly lit basement, the M1710 looked like a snazzy sci-fi gadget.

Industrial strength

The sci-fi, industrial theme goes beyond looks. Magnesium alloy was used on the top and bottom panels for sturdiness. The keypads and palm rest are of thick pliable plastic.

Dell also claims to have tested the unit's steel hinges for durability by opening and shutting the lid for up to 20,000 times. The lid did have a solid feel to it; the locking mechanism doesn't look like it would break off if you happened to slam the cover hard.

A StrikeZone shock absorber protects the hard drive for minor drops and bump. This, I never did get to try.

The matte silver theme extends to the keys which are well placed and easy to navigate. The keyboard is stable. I didn't detect that annoying springy feeling you get with keyboards of some notebooks.

Although this computer was designed as a gaming laptop, the ergonomics will make it very suitable for an office desk as well.

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