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  • FearoftheNight - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Bought my macbook pro back when pc notebooks were dull and lame and vista had just come out. Glad to see viable and very reasonably priced alternatives to Apple now that my laptop is getting old! :) Reply
  • fabarati - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Actually, Assuming you mean really early 2007, Asus still had som bitchin' business laptops, like the W3, the V6 and the W7. Reply
  • blackrook - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Now I've got a twinge of buyers remorse from my Envy 14 purchase. I'd love to see a comparison between the Radiance screen with this one, as well as the HD5650 vs. the 420m. Reply
  • FearoftheNight - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Didn't they discontinue the Radiance? Reply
  • blackrook - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Yes. Rumor has it they're going to be back in stock sometime in December. Whether they'll be the same screen (since the company that manufactured them went out of business) remains to be seen.

    The Radiance screen went from essentially a $100 upgrade to $200 to $300 until it was taken off altogether. I wonder whether the price for this screen will go up too. $130 is a steal.
    Reply
  • PlasmaBomb - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Dell are looking £170 (inc. taxes) for the R+BG 1080p screen in the UK :(

    Taking off taxes and converting to dollars thats ~$231.50

    Rip Off..
    Reply
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    isint all electronics overpriced in the UK to begin with??? Reply
  • BarkHumbug - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    "isint all electronics overpriced in the EU to begin with???"

    There, fixed it.
    Reply
  • erple2 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    $231.50 for the single most important thing on your laptop? I don't think that's even remotely close to a ripoff. Particularly given how stunningly superior the screen is to every other 720p screen that most laptop companies pass off to consumers. Reply
  • Rasterman - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Read the last paragraph in the review. Reply
  • Goblerone - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Still waiting for clarification for why the GTX 580 review compared against reference clocked competitor cards whereas the Radeon 6870 review compared against factory overclocked cards.

    Cool thanks!
    Reply
  • The_Assimilator - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Maybe because there weren't any overclocked GTX 580s available at launch? And please, stop with the whining about the comparisons. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Because everyone complained about the use of an overclocked card so Ryan and Anand chose to not use any overclocked cards in future comparisons. I thought that was pretty clear, in light of all the complaining that occurred, and the overclocked results for 6850 are available. Besides, GTX 580 is going up against 6900 next month or whenever, and that will be the real comparison.

    As I see it, imagine NVIDIA came out with GTX 560 right now, instead of AMD with the 6800. Imagine AMD's partners had a ton of highly overclocked 5870 parts and we put one in as a reference point for what the competition could do. Then we concluded that the GTX 560 was still a good card and worth purchasing, based on power and performance and price, but that the overclocked 5870 was highly competitive. That's basically what happened in reverse, and I'm still surprised at how upset people got.

    But this is neither the time nor the place for that discussion so I'd appreciate it if we could avoid bringing up separate articles that have nothing to do with this review.

    Or if you want another example, imagine I reviewed an ASUS laptop, and in the conclusion I put the whole package into the grand scheme of the market. What if I then said that while the performance was good, other factors were so neglected that need work. Or what if I discussed something like a MacBook, Envy, etc. in a review of a Dell laptop? The horror!

    Personally, I view my job as a journalist/hardware reviewer to be one of coming up with the best recommendations, regardless of manufacturer. If HP suddenly priced the Envy 14 at $850 just to compete with the L501x, but it was a limited time offer, I'd still happily mention the option in my review. Giving more detail and points of reference has never been a bad thing to me (unless it gets to the point where my graphs become unwieldy of course). That's my two cents, for what it's worth.
    Reply
  • Evil_Sheep - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Actually the Envy 14 was dropped to $850 about a week ago in a limited time deal (already expired), only available through Logicbuy. It was actually a $400 off coupon on any config over $1250, which meant some decent specs as well.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see more offers like this from HP in the future to keep them competitive, especially after disappointments like the loss of the Radiance panel and, on the Beats edition, the removal of the included headphones.
    Reply
  • khimera2000 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Isint this already covered??? its like beeting a dead horse for a week strait. they goofed, and now there doing there best to make up for it. thats all i need. Reply
  • erple2 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    I'm also waiting for clarification about the global economic recovery plan put forth by the G20 Summit meeting in S. Korea! Reply
  • a1trips - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I didn't weigh into the debate earlier but i would tend to support your position that all information must be given the reader on the assumption that they are mature adults who can make up their own minds.

    I still don't see what the hullabaloo was about regarding the overclocked card and i thought those who didn't care were in the majority, but that's just my take.

    ~atr
    Reply
  • Osamede - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Let's face it Dell still doesnt get it. Shipping a 15" unit with a 6 cell battery that isnt going to last all that long is no good. And the "option" of a 9-cell that sticks out like a sore thumb is just outdated.

    I'm no Apple fan but at least they understand that a quality laptop is one that doesnt leave you worrying about your battery AND doesnt have huge lumps sticking out of it.

    In any case this 15" brick unit is a sideshow and is no change really, as Dell has always had 15" units with a decent screen that were ugly like this one.

    The real point where we will know that PC makers are actually interested in upping their game is when they start producing lightweight laptops at 13" or 14" that have top notch screens. At that point we can discuss. But really only Sony is making a play there. The rest are jokers, Dell included.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    There are plenty of users for whom 3-4 hours of battery life is plenty, as they use the system mostly as a DTR and not on the go. No point in making the system large enough to hold the 9 cell battery when a large number of users don't need that capacity.

    Better battery life by default in Windows would be nice, but if it is a choice between having all the varied hardware available and better battery life tweaks I would definitely take the hardware choices. I also don't consider Apple's integrated battery to be at all an option.
    Reply
  • pieterjan - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    This thing must be the ugliest notebook Dell ever pooped out. Okay, it has some aluminum panels, but so do street poles. Reply
  • cknobman - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I agree completely.

    This notebook is bfugly, big and fat!!!!!!
    Reply
  • JohnMD1022 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Seagate drive?

    I'll pass.

    Just had another bad one pass thru the shop.
    Reply
  • vant - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Are you kidding me? This is quite possibly one of the ugliest laptops I've seen in a while. I seriously feel like no one at Dell's design team is younger than 50. Just look at the first picture posted and tell me thats not more hideous than a puddle of urine.

    At least the previous XPS had leather and modern styling. This seriously looks like 'hey we need some high quality materials and Apple like design cues!' but then they just f*ed up everything in the process of getting it to market.

    Seriously, with a design like that you can stuff two quad core i7s (desktop of course), 16GB of RAM, a GTX480, 200+ ppi display, a $1k price tag and NO ONE WOULD BUY IT.

    Dell, HP, Toshiba, ASUS, etc.: They all need a wake up call and realize that their products are being used in the public at coffee shops, not in private homes. We have to use these products around people who look at us. We need products that look modern and work well with our mobile lifestyles. That means we need LIGHTWEIGHT, SMALL FORM FACTOR (thin would be nice), and LARGE AMOUNTS OF BATTERY LIFE.

    The average user doesn't need a Core i7 on their laptops, the average user needs 12 hours of battery life instead. We don't need 420Ms, we need laptops that will actually fit in our backpacks (without making us look like we are carrying an animal).

    How companies are still losing market share while putting trash products like these to market and surviving is baffling. They will continue to bleed until death or change. Their choice.

    I'd like to take this time to also point out that copying the competition gets you nowhere. Innovating is where the money is.
    Reply
  • barnett25 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Are you sure you are talking about the "average user" and not just yourself?

    Cause I have no need for a thin and light laptop. I've got a smartphone for that. If your spending all your time at starbucks showing off you should get a Mac.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they should not make thin and lights, just that not every computer has to be one.
    Reply
  • nafhan - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Uhm, I'd say your wrong, there are some people who need 12 hours of battery life, but it's not the "average" user. The average user is rarely going to take their laptop out of the house/dorm, and when they do, it's going to be to a coffee shop or something. I also think there's still a few people out there who aren't going to pay an extra $800 to make sure their PC is pretty. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Umm, yeah, I would say you fit the target market for a Mac exactly. But that is not the "average user". I have had one laptop or another for 11 years, and have used one in a coffee shop maybe 5 times (when meeting with clients). And I certainly have never needed 12 hours of battery life, I've never spent 12 hours straight at any computer portable or not. Not to say I am an "average user" either, but I'm not delusional enough to think everyone needs what I would like. And I don't derive feelings of self-worth from what my laptop looks like. Reply
  • B3an - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    Who the fuck takes there laptop to a coffee shop to pose? Oh yeah... mactards.
    For the rest of us mature people with more than single digit braincell counts, we want laptops like this that are actually useful.

    This isn't even meant to aimed at these kind of sheeple. Theres laptops made specificity to be very portable, thin, lightweight, with low power usage/long batter life, and this CLEARLY is not intended as one. Idiot.
    Reply
  • PlasmaBomb - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Any chance of you asking for one and doing a review of it?

    Thanks :)
    Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Why are Macbook Pro battery life results never put in with windows laptop reviews? I understand the differences in benchmarking performance between the two, but in terms of battery life it should be a straightforward comparison, no? Reply
  • kake - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    If you look at the charts on the battery performance page, you'll find the Apple MBP 13 near the top of the heap in every scenario. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Oh goodness, I must be blind. Nevermind me! Reply
  • ckryan - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I'm more than a little disheartened at the state of Windows laptops. Especially Dell. Dell is in the best position to really make the defacto Win 7 standard, but can't seem to get it quite right. I'm going to stick with my Latitude D620 for a little while longer. It's really not that nice. Adding an SSD helped. But it's indestructible for a plastic laptop, has good battery life, and I can get anything I need on Ebay if I run into any issues. The screen is terrible, but having a docking bay makes up for it. Plus, I can get a new screen on ebay too. Newer dell laptops may have a lot going for them in some respects, but they can't eschew the commodity label. In most cases, a commodity with not so hot battery life. Reply
  • plewis00 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    That Latitude D620 is a metal-encased computer, the lid is magnesium alloy and the base chassis and internal structure is cast-magnesium - that's why it has almost zero flex. The D-series of Latitude laptops (and the Inspiron series that was based on it) had a brilliantly well-built (mechanically at least) design. And I agree, this should be the standard for all laptops.

    I like the hardware in the new XPS 15 but the first thing I thought when I saw it was I really didn't like the design - it's too thick and retro-looking. Not everyone wants Alienware/stealth designs that's a given but I don't know anyone who really liked the look of the new XPS series - despite the fact the M15x (R2) is 4kg+ it is still a lot better looking than the XPS 15. The Studio XPS 16 was and still is from a looks point of view a great design - shame they didn't consider getting heat out of it at all... This is all a shame because the hardware in the XPS 15 is amazing, and if it wasn't the fact I'd be paying the best part of £1000 for a machine I didn't really like the look of, I'd have put my money down and ordered one.
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Once you get a good coating of dust and daily grime in there, you can kiss this sucker goodbye. Reply
  • ZENDUDE - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    If I wanted a device dedicated to watching Blu-Ray movies, a 16:9 screen is great.

    However, if I wanted a laptop for general use it is a negative.
    Vertical space is very important as well to minimize the need to scroll up and down.
    The 16:9 loses about 10% of the vertical space vs 16:10 wide screen laptops.
    Reply
  • beginner99 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    correct.

    16:9 on laptops is just plain retarded. Doesn't make any sense for me. Laptops are used for web-browsing mainly and work. 16:9 only is useful for movies and gaming.
    Actually for browsing 5:4 would be ideal but 16:10 is a fair compromise at least at somewhat higher resolutions.

    The laptop I would want would need16:10, mate and reasonable resolution. That basically limits my choices to 2000$+ professional offerings... it's ridiculous.
    Reply
  • rscoot - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I think MSI has a couple of laptops with 1650x1080 screens, but you aren't going to find 1900x1200 anymore unless you buy a 17" MBP. Reply
  • erple2 - Friday, November 12, 2010 - link

    That's not true. But you are limited to 17+" laptops (HP's EliteBook, Dell's Precision line, Lenovo's Thinkpad line) Reply
  • passive - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Maybe I will be able to get a better deal!

    I've been looking for a laptop to use when I'm working from home, that will also handle light multimedia duties and occasional gaming, without feeling like it's going to break in half whenever I pick it up. My wife has a MacBook Pro, so the Envy would just be a little too close, and it's more expensive.

    I had also decided I wasn't upgrading my laptop again until I could get a decent screen, so I'm really glad the 1080p lives up to my hopes.

    This is exactly the laptop I've been waiting for. Now I just need to decide whether to wait longer in the hopes that all your bitching about a laptop that's not targeted at what you want will bring the price down.
    Reply
  • cknobman - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    No tech sites every did a formal review of the Sony CW series that was refreshed in January. That laptop was possibly one of the best buys of the year and makes like these Dell and Asus offerings look like poop.

    Sony Vaio CW Series Model: VPCCW26FX
    Color: Pearly White or Black
    Intel Core i5-520M/2.4 GHz
    NVIDIA GEFORCE 330M 512MB GPU
    Display 14" 1600x900
    4GB DDR3/ 500 GB HD
    MSRP: $899
    Reply
  • barnett25 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    As always a great review. Just wanted to throw that out there because it amazes me how much people complain about the most ridiculous things in reviews on this site. Reply
  • Dug - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Pc laptop makers still don't get it. (Except HP with Envy line, which is just a knock off of Mac).
    Just like monitor manufacturers. Just make a simple square black border. Don't add curves, or shiny black borders, or ugly angles.

    This thing is horrible to look at.

    Why can't manufacturers make a simple design? I don't care if its a little thicker than a mac, just don't add stupid crap that isn't necessary, put stickers all over it, etc. It's not that hard, and would actually be cheaper to manufacture.
    For instance the thinkpad series, the border of the screen has engraved lines, hooks, odd spacing on one side, different depths. Why?
    I think the timeline x series is close, but still not quite there. It is very close to specs on this except the screen. 3x battery life, better video card, 4.5lbs.
    Reply
  • Dug - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I think this would be a much better alternative.

    http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np5135-built-clevo-b5...

    $803 with better specs, better looking, and more custum options.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    We'll have a look at that Clevo B5130M unit in the near future. I can tell you already that it's just as bulky and the speakers sound like crap, and the build quality doesn't look great either. It's got a good 1080p LCD though (very possibly the same one as the L501x).

    As for the curves and other styling, that's ultimately a case of personal opinion. I happen to like the L501x; if I had any serious complaints with it I wouldn't have given it the Gold EC award. Some will like simple, some will like the curves; the angled edges also make it more comfortable to rest your hands on the laptop IMO. Some people think the Alienware M11x/M15x/M17x looks freaking awesome, I find it to be somewhat impractical and am perfectly happy with "average" laptops. I also like the way ThinkPads and Latitudes look and feel -- they're nothing like the L501x, but they're built more solidly.

    I'm a little confused at some of your comments, though... I suppose you're referring to laptops in general, because the L501x is very clean with no stickers to speak of, and I'm not sure what would qualify as "stupid crap" on this laptop.

    Anyway, Clevo's B5130M looks to be a fairly decent laptop and we'll have a full review from Dustin in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned....
    Reply
  • Dug - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I was speaking of the sides. I don't mind curves around the screen or body as long as its a uniform look, but the sides just look terrible. At least keep the same color of the palm area.
    The lines should just run even to the back, instead there's some curve and it makes it look like the back flares out.
    I also don't need the dvd, multi reader, cdrw, blu-ray, etc junk on the drive. It just looks so bad.

    Even the Inspiron has cleaner lines, except for some idiot marketing dept that decided glossy black is what people want where their palms rest. Sony has good lines too.

    I also think 1.5" and 6.5 lbs is too much for what you are getting. I am assuming that the speakers are what is taking so much space. Or just bad design.
    Reply
  • barnett25 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    " I am assuming that the speakers are what is taking so much space. Or just bad design."

    Or cooling?
    I think Dell may be trying to avoid the overheating issues of XPSs past.

    I like a good looking device as much as the next person but I personally feel Dell made a good call on this one. Half the good looking laptops out there overheat, I would rather have a reliable laptop than one that just looks good.
    Reply
  • Pylon757 - Sunday, November 14, 2010 - link

    The recent Thinkpad series fixed most of the problems you listed, and overall it's a more integrated look. They've got centered screens, no pesky grille things on the screen, etc. However, the hook on the top is still necessary for the Thinklight.

    I think the Latitude E-series are pretty close too. My E6410 is a great looking laptop IMO. Brushed metal lid and all corners.

    As for curves, my opinion is that doing them right is really hard. This laptop clearly doesn't do them well. I personally think that the unibody white Macbook is a really good example of using curves well. It fits really well into the design, and even adds a lot of functionality since the curved edges make a really nice grip.
    Reply
  • Aikouka - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    It's nice to see a look similar to the older Dell XPS M1530 (which I own), but with more curves added. I am a bit bummed that they kind of tacked on the 1080p LCD without adding a graphics option that can truly handle it. When I looked at Dell's new line-up, I also noticed that the 17" laptop doesn't even have a 1080p option (unless it was recently added) but has the fastest GPU option available. Reply
  • notfeelingit - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    * The touchpad belongs in the center of the laptop. No one is using it with their thumbs while also using the keyboard. It should be as large as possible and directly proportional to the aspect ratio of the screen. Also, mouse buttons are dumb.
    * Chiclet keys are the best.
    * Batteries don't need to be super easy to change. If you design your laptop around this principle you will be able to make the laptop smaller while keeping excellent battery life. Maybe make an external battery option for business folks.
    * Lose the optical drive.
    * Only LED screens from now on, please.

    Basically, just make a MBP, minus the optical drive, and knock the $800 apple tax off and everyone on planet earth will purchase your laptop.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    1 - Completely disagree on the touchpad buttons. I've used buttonless options and I hated it. Apple seems to have done it better, but I'll keep the buttons thank you.
    2 - I don't think chiclet is best; it's a stylistic thing that looks okay, but if you want a good keyboard try a ThinkPad or a Dell Latitude.
    3 - I agree they don't need to be removable at the flip of a switch for many users, but they also need to be user-replaceable.
    4 - Disagree based on input from quite a few people. I've had more than my share of friends see one of my test laptops without an optical drive and they can't figure out what they're supposed to do. When I tell them to buy an external USB drive or just use the network, they look at me like I'm speaking another language. The masses disagree with you here, and even if Apple goes this route it doesn't make it the right choice.
    5 - Name me one laptop out there that doesn't use LED backlighting... just one! What you need to say is "stop using crappy panels with tons of backlight bleed."

    Pretty much every one of the items in your list is personal opinion, and your opinion is that everything should be a MacBook clone (more or less). I'd like to see a good Windows laptop that incorporates most of the above elements, but by no stretch of the imagination do I think that should be the only way to spec out and build a laptop. There's room for a lot of variety, and while some may not like the L501x styling I think it looks great.
    Reply
  • barnett25 - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    I HATE buttonless trackpads. I personally don't like to use chiclet keyboards. I need an optical drive.

    I can appreciate your opinion, but I would not buy your laptop.
    Reply
  • Mayu - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    how does Lenovo Y560 (i7 740QM, 8gb, 5730 1 gb graphics card etc) stand against this laptop ?

    http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/we...
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    CPU is faster (you can get 740QM with the L501x if you want, though), and the 5730 is definitely faster than 420M. However, the Y560 doesn't have any switchable graphics and that quad-core CPU will kill battery life. If you want to go that route, I imagine the L501x with the GT 435M and i7-740QM will be about the same performance. Then it comes down to the other stuff. The speakers are still way better on this laptop I'm sure, the LCD is definitely better as well (Lenovo only has a 768p panel), and Dell gives USB 3.0 ports. Aesthetically, that's your call. I think the IdeaPads generally look ugly, but reading the comments what I like isn't necessarily the same as what others like. Reply
  • ratlas - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Why does the CPUID Hardware Monitor screen cap show an 15 540 when this review machine is said to have an 15 460? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Maybe HWMonitor apparently doesn't know about the i5-460M. It's clocked at the same base clock as the 540M, but the 540M has higher Turbo modes. CPU-Z shows the correct CPU, as does Astra32, but I don't know how HWMonitor identifies CPUs. Reply
  • douglaswilliams - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    It looks like a child's toy. Unlike the awesome sleek M1330 (and its big brothers). Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Problem is M1330 had a pretty pathetic GPU in there, even back in the day. 420M isn't the be-all, end-all of mobile GPUs, but it's at least enough for medium 768p gaming. If you value thin, ultimately you're going to have to give up GPU power (and probably CPU as well). Not that everyone needs a fast GPU, and Sandy Bridge will make dGPUs even less of a need, but for gaming I still think the best IGP is inadequate. Reply
  • Dug - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    To an extent. Even the Envy and Acer 4820tg is only 1.1" thick and has a better video card than the Dell which is .5" thicker. Even the Envy 17" is only 1.3" and has a 5850.

    I hope Sandy Bridge and maybe a 6 series AMD will allow for easier cooling and hopefully thinner designs.
    Reply
  • Evil_Sheep - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    eh as a former M1330 owner i wouldn't describe it as either awesome or sleek, it's actually a bit chintzy but it gets the job done.

    I don't think many will find the XPS 15 lust-worthy but it's hardly ugly: it seems conservatively tasteful and at least it avoids last year's horrid trend of shiny black plastic, the bland Inspiron grey/black plastic, and the latest fad which is light silver/black + island keyboard since seems everyone wants to be a Macbook these days.
    Reply
  • MacTheSpoon - Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - link

    Any chance you could run that volume test on some Macbook Pros, to compare them with the Dell XPS? The speakers on my MBP 2007 are a pet peeve; they're so quiet I have to use Audio Hijack to get the volume up sufficiently. I'm curious how the new unibodies sound. Reply
  • Evil_Sheep - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Great review. My first impression of the rebooted XPS series was "meh" but this review has helped change my mind. I can't remember the last time seeing such an enthusiastic review from Anandtech for a laptop PC (or a gold medal.) Dell IS doing a lot of things right here (for once) and they deserve to be recognized.

    Still I think there is some real criticism that needs to be made of the XPS 15. The main one, and this may be perceived as being unfair, is there is no good reason for 15" notebooks to exist, aside from niche applications. The XPS 15 is a case in point: 6.1lbs (6.5 w/ the 9-cell), 1.5" thick, 3-odd hours on the standard battery is no longer mobile: the farthest I would want to transport this is from my bed to my couch. And if it's not going to leave my house, why not upgrade one step higher to the XPS 17 which for $100 more gets me valuable screen real estate, a faster video card standard, and more powerful options?

    There is a user category that is going to be well-served by this overweight powerhouse, but their numbers are quite small. Most people looking for a mobile computer are much better served by sub-13" / 5lb laptops, where there is a lot of good choice in that category these days. Otherwise a home-based computer is better off as 17". The 15 is too big to be portable, too small to be useful. It's stuck between two product categories but serves neither adequately.

    So personally this review leaves me very interested in the XPS 17. I'd love to see how the new Asus N73Jq matches up (also features brand-name audio, also runs the new GT400M parts) ....any chance of a forthcoming review? My guess is that it's completely inferior (unless the rumoured 1080p panel finally shows up) but it looks exquisite and I'd love to read Anandtech's always-thorough verdict.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    We're working to get the XPS L701x and L401x for review as well, but I don't know how soon that will happen. One thing that does concern me is that while the L501x has a standard 768p display, the thing that really makes this a winner is the 1080p B+GR (WLED) high gamut panel. There's no upgraded LCD on either the L401x or the L701x. Perhaps the stock panel is already good, but without testing I have no idea. I've seen far too many lousy LCDs to assume that just because the 1080p L501x panel is good, the other XPS panels will follow.

    Perhaps the above explains the existence of the L501x. I actually don't mind the 15-16" form factor, but it does come very close to the 17" laptops. Keep in mind that we're really looking at 15.6" LCD vs. 17.3" LCD, though, so in terms of total size you're looking at 1.3" wider and .9" deeper on the L701x (or roughly 8.5% larger). It's also a substantial 23% heavier, but then it has the ability to use a much more powerful GT 445M GPU in the L701x and comes standard with the 435M... perhaps the cooling accounts for most of the difference?

    Finally, while you consider 6.14 lbs too much to carry around, keep in mind that the oh-so-amazing MacBook Pro 15 checks in at 5.6 lbs. Perhaps being thinner makes it feel lighter, but really I have no issue carrying a 6 lbs. laptop around. It's the 9 lbs. with a 1.5 lbs brick and 2 hours of battery life that causes me grief. I'm still perplexed at the poor battery life of the L501x in the Internet test, so I'm going to run that same test with the LCD set to 768p to see what that does and test my theory of the resolution hurting it. With only the IGP active it should have done better, as the idle results indicate. We'll see....
    Reply
  • Evil_Sheep - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    I just learned the 17 doesn't have the B+GR panel, and frankly I'm surprised as it seems a natural home for it. I thought I saw in some of the initial coverage that both the 15 and 17 would be offered it. Maybe it will be coming later. I hope so otherwise the 15 is a much better choice (for my needs anyway.)

    My personal cutoff for weight is 5lbs. I spent years carrying around 6-10lb laptop bags (including AC) all day...it's something I can do but it's something I will no longer choose to do when 13-inchers are cheap, fast and give all-day battery life.

    Once they get under 5lbs I often forget they're even there. It feels like going back to the dark ages with a +6lb 15-incher - I mean seriously I was using a similar form factor from Dell in 2000! That's history, or at least it needs to become history real soon.

    So yes by that metric I would also eschew the Macbook 15 (Amazing? Maybe. Good value? Hell no.) There is a small subgroup of people who can't get enough specs in a 13" package but still want to attempt to be mobile, but those people are few and know who they are. Most are better off with 13's or 17's (go big or go home.)

    Once the 400M parts start showing up in the Asus U30 refresh (and other 13-inchers), it's going to make relative heavyweights like the Envy 14 and XPS 14 look less interesting (you're gonna get the same power but twice the battery life, and of course the same crappy screen.) I'm surprised I haven't seen any announcements yet on the doorstep of the holiday season and considering how sku-happy Asus is.
    Reply
  • rorthron the wise - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Good review with a lot of encouraging info. I'm awaiting delivery of an XPS L701X with Geforce 445m and Intel I7 740QM.

    Jarred, are there any plans to review the L701X?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Yes, we've asked Dell for the L701x. When/if that will come, who knows? Reply
  • warden00 - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    It's too bad they don't offer more options with the video devices. If this had a mobile Radeon 5650 in it it would be -perfect- for me. Reply
  • KommisMar - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    The specs seem reasonably good for the price, but why is Dell still advertising laptops that look like they belong in 1999? I know you make some nice looking laptops, Dell. Stop hiding them in the business section of your website! Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Sure you can save a lot of money, but if your gonna use the computer for many years do you really want to lug around something so fat, heavy, and ugly? Remember that something is a bargain only if you get what you wan't. Why can't this thing be 1" thick, 1 pound less, and bit easier on the eyes. Also, why can't they put in a big battery without having it bulge out the bottom of the laptop. WHY!!!!

    If Apple can do it, why can't Dell? What the hell is going on here? Has Apple patented thin, lightweight good-looking laptops with non-protruding batteries? Dell - get a fu#&ing clue!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, November 11, 2010 - link

    Apple tends to run hot, they have a slower GPU, and OS X is far more optimized for power than Win7. Controlling software as well as hardware certainly gives you some advantages. And if they went with squared edges like the MacBook rather than rounded corners, a bunch of people would be saying it looks boxy. This weighs half a pound more than the MBP 15, and it's about .3" thicker. That .3" should help with cooling quite a bit. Could they improve the design? Sure, there's always stuff that could be better, but the old Studio XPS 16 was worse in many ways in my book -- all that glossy plastic was horrible! Reply
  • mrmbmh - Saturday, November 13, 2010 - link

    Does this high quality LCD exist only for 15" Models? How about new 14 Dell XPS? (I don't mean resolution.... ? I mean contrast &.... ) Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, November 14, 2010 - link

    Right now, the "B+GR" is only listed on the 15.6 as an upgrade, while the 14" and 17" list WLED. Obviously, all WLED are not created equal, so unfortunately without testing I can't say how the other displays compare. We're working to get the other two models in for review, but we'll have to wait and see what happens. Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    In order to get the GT435 GPU you HAVE to "upgrade" the CPU to a Core i7. I DO NOT WANT A Core i7, I want a Core i5. Yeah, let's reduce the clock speed by 1GHz then double the threads, yeah, that'll be great for gaming cause ALL games totally use 8 FUCKING THREADS!!!

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    Seriously, WTF!? In what world is pairing a Core i5 with a GT435M and "compatibility issue". I fucking hate you Dell. Even when you start to do something right, you FUCK IT UP!

    I am angry out of my mind right now, I cannot believe they FORCE you to downgrade to a Core i7, fucking greedy bastards. That's NOT what I want. Cyberpowerpc.com FTW!
    Reply
  • plewis00 - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    While that's true, your rant just made you come across as a complete retard...

    I originally noticed the 420M vs. 435M issue but the 435M is virtually just a factory-overclocked 420M anyway. You also don't get Optimus but I'd find it less 'forcing' you as there is some other underlying reason neither you nor I know about.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    Incidentally, while the i7 quad-core is lower clocked for the base speed, it has MUCH higher Turbo modes. So an i7-740QM runs at a base 1.73GHz but can Turbo as high as 2.93GHz when only one or two threads are active. The i5-460M in this system as reviewed runs at 2.53GHz base but can only Turbo as high as 2.80GHz.

    I'm betting you're thinking right now that the i7-740QM won't usually run anywhere near that 2.93GHz, but at least in my experience it does exactly that for many games. I'd go so far as to say that the only dual-core Arrandales that will clearly outperform a 740QM in games would be the i5-540M and i7-620M (and any higher clocked parts, obviously). But then, those cost just as much or more than the 740QM and in multithreaded loads they would still lose.

    As far as I'm concerned, the only real drawback to the quad-core upgrade is that removal of Optimus. 435M can definitely do Optimus (i.e. look at the L701x: BOOM! An XPS laptop with 435M and Optmimus!), but Dell is choosing to artificially require the CPU upgrade along with the GPU. Sandy Bridge should take care of the problem in the near future with IGP + quad-core + ~25% faster than Clarksfield/Arrandale at the same clocks. How long before we get SB + 445M Optimus? That's what I really want for the base L501x.
    Reply
  • mopomoso - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Jarred, well you seemed to suggest there was no significant difference between the i5-460 and i7-740 in your review and then almost contradict this above.

    Review:

    "...The higher base clock speed also puts it (ie i5-460M) within striking distance of the i7-720QM in multi-threaded tasks, so unless you really need every last ounce of multi-core power the dual-core i5-460M is a compelling alternative—and don't forget the loss of Optimus (and the price increase) that comes with moving to Clarksfield processors"
    Reply
  • rorthron the wise - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Have a look at your own post - the clue is in there!

    Sod it i'll tell ya - the i7-740 is quicker than the i7-720!!!
    Reply
  • mopomoso - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    Haha! Teach me to post when I'm tired -:) Apologies to Jarred.

    I'm currently debating whether to buy a L501 now or wait for SB. Doesn't look like SB will bring any benefit thermally and will, at least with the duals, only provide a small increase in processing power.

    Plus it could easily take until February for SB XPS to ship.
    Reply
  • blackrook - Monday, November 15, 2010 - link

    Isn't the 420m easily overclockable anyway? Reply
  • rorthron the wise - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    I took delivery of an XPS 17 a couple of days ago; it kept crashing on me and now it won't start at all. When i try i get 6 beeps indicating a video card failure. It also came with a slight indentation on the right palm rest.

    I've got a full refund though, and i'm not too put off - it's just a bit inconvenient that i've now had to re-order, which means waiting another couple of weeks for a new machine.

    Hopefully this is not usual - doesn't Dell have a good reputation for reliability?
    Reply
  • dgs - Tuesday, November 16, 2010 - link

    I can find various versions of the XPS in terms of CPU and screen size, but I can't find the model XPS L501x. More pertinently, I can't find any customization that will give me the 1080p screen that the review recommends. And that's the screen I want!

    I used to like Dell's website, long ago, but in recent years it's become so junked up that it's really hard to find what I want. Has anyone else been able to find it?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Hilarious... search for L501x and all you get are support documents for the XPS L501x, including a BIOS update. Search for XPS 15 and you get a bit closer. Just go to the following link and select the model you want:
    http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/x...
    Reply
  • danielt - Monday, November 22, 2010 - link

    Nice screen at 1080p, but GPU is not up to the task. Even the cheaper Acer Timelinex 4820TG performs better than XPS15 (same core i5) in gaming and multiprocessing.
    So for XPS15, GPU fail while A/V is good.
    For 4820TG, GPU is good while A/V fails.
    Reply
  • danielt - Monday, November 22, 2010 - link

    You guys at anandtech should give 4820TG some tests, and see for yourself its benchmarks and gaming power.
    BTW, judging from your tests on XPS15, even the cheaper Gateway ID49 performs better in many games..
    Reply
  • CalvinW - Tuesday, November 23, 2010 - link

    Is it out there the perfect PC or Mac?Will it come the day when we can go to the store and grab the perfect computer? NO, it won't . I hope not, otherwise the experience of shopping/ reviewing computers will be meaningless. If you want a quasi-perfect PC just build a desktop or if you want a portable one well, go with the market.
    Moreover,I like this XPS15 because its features, but not because of its design. Dell could have gotten one of those guys that design for Apple and get something aesthetically beautiful to the eye. But what is beautiful for me, might be ugly for you though.
    If you need a Mac to go out to a cafe and get looks of approval from people, or being accepted by a social group, well do it if you have the means to spend for a computer. I do love Macs but the MacPro are not professional at all.
    As for PCs there is variety out there, there is more space to innovate, and there are many of us that want something more flexible in hardware, and perhaps OS system. Certainly, Windows 7 has its flaws, and it won't be perfect, but guys you have options... if you don't like this PC don't buy it, don't even read the reviews; also, and if you have problems with self-esteem, and therefore need a machine to show off buy one appealing to your friends and stop whining like a child.
    Reply
  • Tetranode - Saturday, November 27, 2010 - link

    I'm about to buy one of these, but I want to know if it's at all possible to install XP on it. Yes, I'm a software luddite etc. who runs XP on a q9550@3.6 and so forth, but I like the results.

    Any info is appreciated.
    Reply
  • EnzoM3 - Monday, December 06, 2010 - link

    Hopefully it'll as good as the review says. Reply
  • Luke2.0 - Sunday, December 12, 2010 - link

    Out of curiosity, I was just checking the site
    http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx...
    That's the correct model, right?

    As of this moment, the option to upgrade to full HD resolution is gone.
    Just a few days ago, it was priced at $195 for the upgrade. (too high demand?)

    For whatever reason causing the hike and the subsequent removal of that upgrade, the gold-medalist is not so golden now IMO. Hmmm...
    Reply
  • IanWorthington - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    Looking on dell's site for the 1080 screen today, can't find it. Is it still available? Reply
  • Taimfrey - Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - link

    I've been looking at this laptop for a while and have customized it on their website a few times to figure out what I want and how much I want to spend. Tonight I got on and the option to add the 1080p screen was no longer available. I called Dell and apparently now only the alienware laptops have the 1080p screen as an option. I hope this is a temporary adjustment due to the holiday, or else I'm going to buy somewhere else. Seems like a rather poor move on their part, especially after a review like this. Reply
  • Photon0000 - Monday, December 20, 2010 - link

    The 1600 x 900 LCD display on the XPS 17 is for me not usable for image work and unpleasant to use period. It does not have any viewing angle you can tilt the lid to that will provide a consistent appearing image. Lift your chin and the image changes. If you tilt the lid so the webcam has you centered the image on the LCD is washed out like you are looking at it through mist. There is no sweet spot. As you tilt the screen its a continuous unbroken progression from washed out to loss of detail in dark areas. In any given position just lift your chin and the image changes. The only thing wrong with this laptop is the LCD but even the replacement they sent has the same unacceptable screen. I'm returning both. I'll just have to make do with my 5 year old 17" Inspiron 9300 which doesn't have any lid tilt viewing angle issues. Hopefully Dell will make a quality 17" screen option available at some point. Reply
  • Alex_kyri - Saturday, January 15, 2011 - link

    I have bought one of these after being less than impressed with both the Acer and Sony i7s I already own. I must say that it's a beautifully manufactured and presented top-spec Laptop with outstanding performance. Best noteboiok in its class, hands down!!!! And phone Dell for a better deal - don't order online. Reply
  • lydiawang - Thursday, December 27, 2012 - link

    Last month, I just bought a DELL XPS L501x, and also bought a DELL XPS L501x Battery on the site http://www.batterymag.co.uk/dell-xps-l501x.html , i like it. Reply
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    Reply
  • Bob Carroll - Thursday, October 03, 2013 - link

    my Dell L501X shows an orange light above the mouse and function keys F7 through to F12 are also lighted up.
    Plse can you tell me reason. Thanks
    Reply

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