Dell XPS 17 (L702x) review
Sat, Jul 2 2011 15:37
I recently bought a Dell XPS17 (L702x) and thought I’d post a review for those considering purchasing this notebook. There’s a massive thread about all things good and bad in relation to this notebook over on notebook forums; the following is just my opinion
Weight : good for the size.
Screen: Love it !! I have the anti-glare screen (1920 x 1080) and it’s a lovely screen. I did make minor adjustments to the gamma, toned the blue down a bit and the green just a tad. Photos, especially nature scenes, look fantastic, true to life colours. The antiglare is also really good. Compared side by side with a glossy screen laptop you really appreciate how well it works: no annoying reflections of windows etc. Viewing angle is really wide with little distortion.
Keyboard: It’s growing on me, but i think it could be better. I like the back light. Problem with the keyboard being a full keyboard is it means centre of the keyboard is off centre, which means i tend to have the laptop shifted out to my right. Given how much space there is I think Dell could have done better with keyboard options, such as offer a comfort curve option.
Touchpad: It’s big. Also off to the left a bit so as to almost be centre of the alpha part of the keyboard, but not quite. Centre of the touchpad lines up with key 7 or the space between Y and U. Gestures work pretty well: I particularly like the cover the touchpad to hide all open windows gesture.
RAM is 8 GB which is good enough for me (generally). Unfortunately only 2 slots. Apparently if you order the 3D screen you get 4 slots. That kind-of sucks, but i doubt it will bother me in the next couple of years.
Processor: i7 2630QM. Seems good and fast. Yet to really multi thread stress test it though.
Graphics: most of the time I’m using the Intel one (or so it seems). I’m not a gamer
USB: Awesome !! My external HD which is USB 3, is fast I also really like the charge port for charging my phone.
Battery: I got the 9 cell. i like how it sticks out of the bottom to tilt the notebook when sitting at a table. Battery life seems good. I use the machine for hours and still have half battery left.
Hard drives: There’s two bays and came with two 750 GB @ 7200 RPM. I found them relatively noisy and kind-of slow, so I put in one of my old solid state drives and also added a new OCZ Vertex 3. The Vertex 3 uses the 6 Gbs bus and it rocks !! Lightning fast, and absolutely no noise. There was a problem with the notebook hanging for anywhere up to 30 seconds or so. Looking in the windows log I identified the problem as being the Intel SATA drivers so I uninstalled them, and since then it has been rock solid (and very fast )
Sadly the Dell web site doesn’t really give much choice on this: they don’t tell you what kind of Solid State Drive they offer as far as performance goes, and they only offer pricey options of 256 GB or more. Given this notebook has two internal drive bays, having two @120 GB would seem the best bang for your buck at present. My OCZ HD is getting the maximum windows experience index score of 7.9:
Overall opinion: I like it .