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Dell XPS M1530
If you're a regular reader or just a signed up member of Gadget-a-Holics Anonymous (then you really ought to be a regular reader), then you'll know it looks distinctly like the truly wonderful Dell XPS M1330 - a notebook so good it managed to snatch second place in the Best Notebook category of the inaugural TrustedReviews Awards 2007. However, the M1330 it isn't, because today I'm looking at its new bigger sibling, the XPS M1530.
Announced not long ago, it takes the same basic design and expands it to house a larger 15.4in display and updated hardware. This was always a logical move for Dell to make given the success of the 13in model, providing a far more attractive and exclusive tonic to the solid but rather utilitarian Inspiron 1520.
Aesthetically then, it should go without saying that the XPS M1530 is everything one would hope it to be. Dell has done an excellent job of translating the already excellent styling to a larger chassis, losing none of the style or sharpness that made the XPS M1330 such a popular and in demand machine. Its combination of brushed metal interior, touch sensitive buttons and 'micro satin' exterior is eye catching and boast worthy - should that be a requirement.
Naturally enough it also keeps the same wedge shaped design and for a notebook of its size the M1530 is really quite slim, measuring 23.7mm at its thinnest point and 35.1mm at the back. It's also very light. Dell quotes a "starting weight" of 2.6kg, but our sample is a no less impressive 2.74kg with the supplied six-cell battery. You can also specify a nine-cell battery and though Dell didn't send us one, it's a good bet the overall weight should remain below 3kg.
Obviously this version is also wider, measuring 357mm across and 263mm deep. Much to Dell's credit though, it has resisted the temptation to use this space too liberally, keeping the same size keyboard and layout. Let me just say: this is a very good thing. Anyone who has had the pleasure of using an XPS M1330 will know just how good the keyboard really is, with a near perfect layout, firm and responsive keys and a total lack of any flex, such as that found on cheaper notebooks like the Toshiba U300-134.
Consequently, the XPS M1530 is every bit as enjoyable to use as its inspiration, while the touch pad remains well placed and proportioned. Other than this there are some very minor differences, with the glossy black strip that encases the touch sensitive buttons extending a little further down and around the edges of the keyboard.
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