Review I've looked at quite a few gaming notebooks, some of them good, some of them not so good. I've looked at mobile gaming solutions from hardcore players like Voodoo and Alienware, as well as lightning-fast machines from the likes of Rock and MV. But sitting before me right now is, without a doubt, the best gaming notebook I have ever got my hands on - and, amazing as it sounds, it comes from Dell, writes Riyad Emeran.
Dell's desktop XPS machine is fast, well built but very expensive. The Inspiron XPS Gen 2 follows the same path: it looks great, has a very high-end spec and has a solid and well-built feel to it. An unfortunate aspect of the latest mobile graphics chips is that there are very few notebook chassis that can handle the power and heat they produce. So most of the machines I've looked at lately are based on the same few Clevo chassis. However, Dell hasn't just jumped on the same bandwagon as everyone else.
As with any 17in gaming notebook, the XPS is far from svelte, and with dimensions of 39.4 x 28.8 x 4.2cm, and a weight of 3.9kg, you're definitely going to know it's in your bag. That said, it's still considerably lighter than the Clevo based 17in machines, which tip the scale at 5.5kg. And it does look great.
The lid of the XPS is finished in silver and black, with the centre section sporting a metallic ribbed finish. But it's the glowing XPS logos down either side that really enhance the look. When I took the machine out of the box the logos were set to glow blue, but you can define the colour of each logo and create a custom look. There are also glowing lights at the front of the machine and either side - in some ways it reminds me of a modded Citroen Saxo with 'underglow', but despite the XPS' definite chav leanings, I can't help think it looks cool.
Open up the XPS and things just get better. You're greeted by a 17in widescreen display, with a high contrast gloss coating. The coating makes both games and movies look so much better, and although you do have to put up with a more reflective screen, it's a small price to pay. But it's not just the size and the coating that make this screen so impressive, it's also the resolution: 1920 x 1200 native - this gives you an amazing amount of desktop real estate and makes working at the XPS almost as enjoyable as gaming. What's really amazing is that you'd be looking at a 23in desktop screen costing around £1000 to match this resolution.
Below the screen is a single round power button, along with indicator lights for Num Lock, Caps Lock, Shift Lock, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The keyboard is centrally positioned, unlike the 17in Clevo chassis that has a numeric pad squeezed in on the right.