The XPS branding of Dell once meant its futuristically tailored high performance gaming systems. But, ever since the acquisition of Alienware, back in the year 2006, Dell had sought to slide the branding away from its specialist heritage of gaming and usher in a latest, luxurious, design led range. The Dell XPS M2010, which was a briefcase sized desktop replacement was the first herald of that transformation and since then, Dell has moved on to add the 13.3″ XPS M1330 and the 17″ XPS M1730 to the range. The latest XPS M1530 that has been introduced will be filling in the 15.4″ gaping in the series.
Though the XPS M2010 was truly a remarkable beast, it was not until the arrival of the XPS M1330 a couple of years back that that the XPS range got its true identity. The M1330 was and is still one of the fabulous looking laptops Dell has ever manufactured and it is certainly not a big surprise that its successor the M1530 has inherited its fine sense of style. Whether it is a 17″ DTR gaming notebook or this compact Dell model, you can rest assured that they are always equipped with the up to date hardware by Dell, so they offer nothing less than first class performance. The Dell XPS M1530 is a very powerful multimedia notebook that sets very high standards for the competitors.
Once M1530 is slipped out of the package, its good looks will be immediately apparent. In a refreshing departure from the Dell norm, the laptop has not made recourse to the glossy black clinche, unlike most of the manufacturers. Instead, the lid of the unit is adorned by a single block of colour that is interrupted only by the chrome effect Dell and XPS logos that are flanked neatly in grey. We have a very attractively finished subtle, muted shade, dubbed midnight blue model, but you can also have a choice of Crimson red and Tuxedo Black. But the chaps in states also enjoy the option of a rather fetching looking Arctic white. Irrespective of the colour of the model that you choose, Dell’s Micro Satin Paint assures you with a very tactile, silky smooth finishing. It is extremely hard to get the combination of practicality and fabulous design perfectly correct and as you spend some time with the Dell Studio XPS M1530 Laptop, you will realise soon that the manufacture’s designers have put in a very long and hard thought on each and every facet of its design. As you tilt the lid back on the strong and pleasingly stiff hinges, the superior interior of the laptop will continue to impress.
The wide expanse wrist rest of brushed aluminium looks and feels extremely luxurious, providing you with great comfort while typing. The hinges in the laptop’s flanks merge well into the display. Though you will not be able to open the lid completely, XPS M1530 has a maximum opening angle of 160 degree which must not be an issue and once the display positions have been adjusted, you will be able to feel a slight see-saw. The omission of the lid catches is totally forgivable as the strong hinges will never allow the lid to flip open inside your bag.
On the heavier side of laptops:
The design of the XPS M1530 Laptop Computer as a whole is quite different from its smaller siblings as this model does not try to steal your attention with its LED Illumination. It is more eye catchy than the Inspiron 1520. Apart from being very sleek it also stands as an example for what elegance means. The base unit gets narrower towards the edges and looks even thinner with the effect of the bevelled flanks. The unit is very compact measuring (H x W x D) 39 x 358 x 262 mm and weighs around two and a half kilos, a dimension that well suites mobile working conditions.
Being made out of a combination of aluminium, magnesium and steel parts, the laptop has a very impressive built quality, in fact, its sheer solidity alone makes it feel heavier than it actually is. You can feel superb solidity in the laptop and no matter how hard you try, M1530 will disappoint you without giving you a slightest hint of flex as it is very pressure resistant and flexural rigid. You will have to put real effort to create any distortion on the 15.4″ display. Metal parts are also used to improve the durability of the display. However, we did find some bad workmanship with the uneven gaps in parts where the different parts of the machine get into contact and next to the hinges of the battery. OK! We understand it is very minor and hence, con certainly be ignored.
The buttons in XPS M1530:
After all the jaw openings at the striking looks of the laptop, just turn on the XPS M1530 15.4″ Hi-Def Widescreen Laptop to elicit yet another shiver of excitement. Just force down the silver power button and the array of touch sensitive buttons to its right strobes into life with a gentle blue glow. They look awesome and work great too; with just a light depress of the finger, you will be able to mute the volume, pause a track with each of the controls illuminating and fading away gently.
There are hardly any multimedia notebooks in the market without hotkeys and M1530 is not an exception; you can find them just above the keyboard with imprinted icons and note that, they are touch-sensitive. But to activate these keys you have to exert some force for these to react, which is signaled by the small blue LEDs on each of the hot keys. Their functions include media player functions, ejecting the disk of the slot-in DVD drive and volume control. To the left of the power button, you will find another hot key that, pressing on which will launch the Dell Media Direct Center. The Dell Media Direct Center is software designed to handle the multimedia elements like audio files, pictures and videos that can also be run even before starting the operating system.
The 15.4-inch Display:
The Dell XPS M1530 comes in a WXGA panel called the Ultra Sharp CCFL display with Truelife. You can also get displays like WXGA+ panel with CCFL technology and LED display in WXGA format and each of these formats will be having TrueLife surface. Dell offers a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution LCD display on most models, although the £1099 unit has a slightly higher native resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels. With the maximum brightness measured as, 172.8 cd /m ² and contrast ratio of 230:1. Said that, the pictures look great with saturated colours and the brightness is just perfect for working with the laptop outdoors. But you will find that the laptop is very reflective to be worked with in the outdoors.
The XPS M1530 keyboard:
The resilient built quality pays off its dividend for the sake of usability too. The colour of the keyboard goes well with that of the unit’s casing. The wide chassis of the laptop gives it plenty of room to breathe. The crisp positive action of the full sized keys makes long stretches of typing effortless. The noise is low even while typing faster and all that you will be able to hear is some quiet clicking.
Track pad of XPS M1530:
The responsiveness of the keys is complimented by the track pad which is equally good but we feel that its dimensions are quiet small. The vertical and horizontal scroll regions have been visually highlighted. The surface of the touchpad is fine and we especially liked the buttons as their clicking felt soft and were hardly audible.
Media Center Remote Control:
Dell has also included a Media Center remote control that fits neatly into the Express Card slot on the side off the notebook. This is a great accessory for presentations or for controlling a DVD from across the room.
2Megapixel Web Camera:
You will find a 2 megapixel camera on the top panel of the laptop which offers decent colours and a nice array of visual tracking technology to add fun masks, backgrounds and environments to video conferencing. However, the choppy visuals during web chats brought our impressions down a notch. Dell has also offered a fingerprint reader that will scan your fingerprint instead of typing in a password. This is really a very useful addition for security issues.
Ports and connectivity:
As a result of the release mechanism of the display, you will be able to find all the ports and connectivity in the left and right sides of the laptop. The M1530 is equipped with three USB ports, two in the right side and one in the left corner. The other ports include the VGA port, an S-video, a Firewire port and a HDMI port that allows you to make an external high resolution display and even the transmitting of the digital video and audio signals possible. The hard disk is in the left side and in the right is the ExpressCard Slot and Slot-in DVD drive. In the front, you will find only the audio ports. You can also opt for a Bly-ray drive instead of the 8xDVD+/-RW drive included in the unit. With this drive, you can store upto 50GB (dual layer) on a proper data carrier, but trust us; it is a costly option to choose. As in the case of most of the other XPS laptops, the M1530 also provides an optional UMTS model and the slot for the particular service provider dependent SIM card will be available in the battery slot of the notebook. Finally, in the right edge of the laptop Dell has also provided a hardware switch that controls wireless communication along with a hotkey for displaying all the wireless networks available.
It is testament to the Dell XPS M1530’s ergonomic excellence that it is very easy to forget the components that beaver underneath it.
Basic Specifications of XPS M1530:
The processor options largely remain to be same with the inclusion of the Core 2 Duo T7250 that is clocked at 2.0GHz with an 800MHz front side bus and 2MB of L2 Cache On-board. This configuration is a very capable option for most needs, but for those who are in need for more demanding requirements can choose between a 2.2GHz T7500 and the 2.4GHz T7700. For system memory, by default you will get 2GBs (2 x 1GB) worth of 667MHz DDR2 RAM, you also have an option for 4GB (2x2GB). But this can be useful only if you are opting for a 64-bit Vista that can use that amount of memory, hence 2GB will be the choice of most people. The only area that is worth thinking of a significant upgrade is the hard drive, which is a 250GB 5400rpm SATA HDD by default across the range. Though you have an option of a 64GB SSD, it is a very costly decision as it will ask another £800, that is not worthy for a notebook of this size.
A much notable improvement has been made in the context of graphics options with a 256MB nVidia 8600M GT coming as standard. This still is not suffice to rip through all the latest games, but you will be able to play a good selection of titles that are at 1280 x 800 with some details turned down. However, these upgrades in graphics processing is not matched by the display options with the unavailability of the LED backlit screen.
If there is anything that we can complain about Dell XPS M1530 laptop, it is just the company has not delivered the range of customisation options that one would expect out of a XPS branded notebook, but this was an issue of the past. Now it is offering with all the configuration options that one would love to have. The options available are listed in the specification table.
Those with a heavy bank balance will appreciate the chance to equip a slot loading Bluray drive with the integrated HSDPA available. By chucking in some extra bugs, you also have an option for an Intel 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, with 10/100 Ethernet and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR both integrated as well.
Media Direct Software:
As we had mentioned in the design section, the Media Direct Software can be booted outside of the Windows Operating System for quick access to your media. But unfortunately, the video codec support is somewhat limited though it is a very helpful and swift way to access the music. Yet another advantage of the feature is that, it does not load a lot of the normal services of the Windows, which will improve the battery life by a great deal, which makes it a great option for watching DVD on the move.
Much like the Dell XPS M1330, the M1530 packs a lot of horsepower. The performance of the M1530 is solid with all the tests made with the PCMark05 and Vantage. The XPS M1530 scores points in the benchmark tests. Its performance is even proper for current games, expect of those supporting DirectX10. Directly compared to similarly equipped notebooks, the XPS M1530 is still first-class. The Dell XPS M1530 handled all our day-to-day productivity tasks, like checking e-mail, surfing the Web, editing some photos with aplomb.
XPS M1530 Audio quality:
The quality of the speakers was just acceptable for a Laptop with built-in sub-woofer. We feel that the speakers in the M1550 are same as the ones employed in M1530 15.4 inch Laptop Notebook. You will find them in the top of the keyboard area above the media buttons. The speakers get loud enough with minimal distortion but the sound is slightly tinny as is the case with nearly all laptop speakers.
The laptop does a very reasonable job in keeping the heat under control. Both the system fan and the heat sinks do a great job for managing heat when the system is under load. The maximum amount of temperature that we noted was 58 degrees and the fan managed to push out a significant amount of hot air.
Noise Level in Dell XPS M1530:
The noise is reasonably low and most of the time; you will not be able to notice it with the background noise. But noise was somewhat of an issue during some of the other activities, for instance, the slot loading drive is quite loud during windows start-up, while inserting and ejecting discs. The sound will be something like a tiny power drill muffled under a pillow. Said that, the optical drive produces acceptable levels of noise as the disk is spinning in the drive.
The battery of Dell XPS M1530 lasts for about three hours with the balanced power profile and with the power saver mode, the laptop renders about three hours and twenty minutes. Finally, with DVD playback, the laptop lasts for two hours and these are quite solid results especially considering the DVD playback is with the brightness set to maximum. This excellent result of battery life of the laptop is because of its nine cell extended life battery. It is worth mentioning here that the nice cell battery in the laptop gives an increase in the overall slope of the keyboard, which in turn offers with better ergonomics and hence more comfort for typing.
Dell offers you with a lot of accessories with the XPS M1530 Gaming laptop that includes a wrapper making the transport of the notebook very safe, but can take only the notebook itself without space for even the power adaptor. The other stuff include tools and driver software, the Windows Home Premium OS in a DVD and in addition to these, to give a special incentive for the XPS consumer, an elegant looking briefcase for the offered software CDs and user manual is included. The package also includes an Express card sized remote control, Creative headphones and also a micro fibre cloth for cleaning your beautiful laptop.
Dell offers XPS M1530 one year standard warranty for parts and labour.
So, having a look at the design, features and performance of the Dell XPS M1530, we can say for sure that it is a great notebook. Though it is tempered by the slight scarcity of configuration options in its initial stages of release, it really got away with the other advantages of the laptop like its jaw dropping design factors in this 15.4” beauty. It has a design that is second to none in its price range. We accept the fact that is much more expensive than other laptops with similar specifications like the Acer Aspire 5920. But if you want a larger notebook without sacrificing on the style, visual impact or quality, then this machine offers you with great value and a solid set feature set. The XPS M1530 will be a great option for desktop replacement; replacement with great style.
Dell XPS M1530 Notebook PC – Technical Specifications, Features
|Operating System||Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate
Genuine Windows Vista® Business
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium
|Graphics||256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600M GT
128MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8400M GS
|Display||15.4″ Wide Screen WXGA (1280 x 800) display
with TrueLifeTM (CCFL, 220 nits)
15.4″ Wide Screen WXGA+ (1440 x 900) Display
|Hard drive||Up to 320GB configured with a single
5400 RPM SATAII hard drive.
Up to 200GB configured with a single
7200 RPM SATAII hard drive.
|Optical drives||Slot Load DVD+/-RW
Slot Load Blu-rayTM Disc
|Wi-Fi Options||Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini Card Wireless
Dell Wireless 1490 802.11a/g Mini Card Wireless
Intel Pro/Wireless 3945 802.11 a/g Mini Card Wireless
|Long Range Wireless||Dell Wireless 5520 HSDPA
Dell Wireless 5720 EVDO
|Model Name||Dell XPS M1530|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||14.06″ x (0.93″-1.38″) x 10.34″|
|Available colours||Midnight Blue, Crimson red and Tuxedo Black|
|PROCESSOR, MEMORY, STORAGE|
|Processor type||Core 2 Duo T7500|
|Clock speed||2.2 GHz|
|Cache||6 MB L2 Cache|
|RAM installed||3072 MB (3GB)|
|RAM type||667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM|
|Hard drive capacity||320GB SATA Hard Drive|
|Optical drive||Fixed 8x DVD±RW Slim Slot Load drive, including SW|
|GRAPHICS AND SOUND|
|Installed Graphics Type||Onboard Graphics|
|Graphics processor||NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT|
|Speaker Details||Stereo in & headphone/speaker out (x2)
dual digital array mics
|Ethernet||RJ45 Ethernet port (10/100)|
|Wireless||Dell Wireless Mini Card Wireless
|Webcam||2 mega pixel|
3 USB 2.0
Firewire (IEEE 1394a)
RJ45 Ethernet port (10/100)
8-in-1 card reader
1 ExpressCard 54 mm slot
|Operating System||Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate
Genuine Windows Vista® Business
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium
|Office package||MS Office Home and Student 2007|
|Other software||Dell MediaDirect 3.3|
|Battery capacity||8700 mAh|
|Estimated battery life (mfr)||3 hours|
|Accessories||Wrapper, Tools and driver software,
the Windows Home Premium OS in a DVD
and in addition to these,
to give a special incentive for the XPS consumer,
an elegant looking briefcase for the
offered software CDs and user manual
|WARRANTY AND SERVICE||One year collect and return
24×7 toll free service support