Review : Dell XPS L501x…

After my older XPS died i got this one as my office laptop… This is the late 2010 model (L501X)

The Good

It’s snappy! This machine for the price is quite quick which is perfect for doing web development and rendering… This also means gaming is nice too… I’ve already tried a couple of games like Mass Effect 2 and Fallout 3, which are both around a year old I know but they ran very nicely… You won’t be playing Crysis at max settings but its pretty decent the performance you will get at this price…

The webcam is great too and works well even in light conditions, though I haven’t been able to test the 720p quality part of Skype due to my poor connection…

Battery life is pretty decent using the 9 cell battery. I get around 3 hours and 45 minutes on a single charge, which is not breath-taking but decent enough for a performance laptop… Just to note this is so far not using the NVIDIA GT435  but Intel’s integrated graphics… I am yet to see how long it would last using the dedicated graphics cards but I can imagine that it won’t be as long as 3 hours and 45 mins…

Dell have been promoting the JBL system a lot as part of this system and I have to say it does kinda live up to what they say… To put simply you are not going to get home theater sound quality but this is as good as they come and they’re pretty loud too… They are able to provide a kick and fullness that you wouldn’t normally get from laptop speakers which for listening to music pretty nice…

There are 3 USB ports one situated on either side and at the back near the power input… There is a multi card reader in the front and 3 headphone jacks on the right side by the Blu-ray/DVD drive one of which also acts as a SPDIF out so you can connect a home theatre system to it using an optical cable… There is a HDMI 1.4 port on the rear, mini-display port and Ethernet port

One other cool thing, this laptop is 3D enabled hence the 1.4 HDMI port version… Having tested it on a 3D TV I can say it works as you would expect it too, connecting it by HDMI to a 3D capable TV and watching Monsters Vs Aliens in 3D looked great and was pretty painless to get viewing in 3D… If you’re so inclined this will also work for games and photos that you have on the laptop, outputting them to a 3D capable TV or monitor will allow you to view them in all their 3D glory…

The Bad

Battery life. Now, while I said before that the battery life was good it really isn’t great and again this is to be expected and is really just me being really critical… But I really would stress that to those that want laptop that can run for longer then you can’t go wrong with the 9 cell, it’s $50 more and adds a bulge to the other wise slim and sleek design to the laptop… A small sacrifice to pay to keep it running a little longer especially if you go for the higher end i7 and GT435 combination…

The drivers for the TV tuner may be broken… As Windows Media Centre only reports an analogue tuner to be available… No radio and no digital tuner seems available for selection even though I ran the set-up multiple times… This may be due to drivers or windows media centre acting up, I’ve yet to look into it more thoroughly…

Conclusion

All round a very good laptop that I really cannot fault for the price on any level… It’s a good size and has decent performance for its price point… Any one who is looking for a mid-high range laptop should probably start with the XPS before looking elsewhere, try customizing it from the different models they have available to see if you can get a configuration that you like and they always have offers that can save you a fair amount of money