For performance testing the M1530 was put through the usual set of benchmarks, including PCMark 05 and Vantage, our in-house Photoshop Elements and Virtual Dub rendering tests and a selection of MobileMark 2007 battery tests - when it chooses to work at least.
Overall, results were solid. In PCMark05 it bested the M1330 overall due to its faster graphics processing, but in all other tests things are more or less neck and neck. PCMark Vantage scores are also decent, though we've yet to test enough notebooks using this new benchmark to provide any meaningful comparison.
In our in-house tests the XPS M1330 did prove to be a little faster, though this will be due in no small part to the sample we had using the Intel Core 2 DuoT7300, which is only marginally faster due to having an extra 4MB L2 Cache instead of 2MB. Obviously, if this is a concern for you then the T7500 or T7700 are worth considering, though for general use the T7250 is more than able.
For battery testing I can finally bring you a full set of results from MobileMark 2007, an excellent benchmark that's somewhat unreliable in so much as it doesn't always work. Happily, in this case it did and the M1530 performed well. In the Productivity test, which simulates real world usage using a variety of tasks along with pauses, it managed two hours and 55 minutes using the default Balanced power profile.
Meanwhile, in the Reader test, results were three hours and 15 minutes and three hours 20 minutes, in Balanced and Power Saver profiles respectively. Finally, the DVD playback test terminated one minute short of the two hour mark. This is a solid result, especially given that this is run with display brightness set to its maximum.
So, having looked at design, performance and features, it is clear that the Dell XPS M1530 is a notebook of great note. Though tempered by a slight scarcity of configuration options, it's hard to get away from the fact that this is a slim, attractive and well put together take on the 15.4in notebook. For sure, it's more expensive than a similarly specified Inspiron or the likes of the Acer Aspire 5920, but if you want a larger notebook and don't want to sacrifice on style, visual impact or quality, then this machine offers great value and a solid feature set that'll hopefully expand in time.
As 15.4 notebooks go the XPS M1530 is exceedingly slim and good looking, making it great option for those who want a desktop replacement but don't want to sacrifice on styling or features.