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Dell Precision M6800: Keyboard and Verdict

By Mike Jennings

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Dell Precision M6800

Summary

Our Score:

8

Dell Precision M6800: Keyboard & Trackpad

The keyboard is crucial to a machine like this, and Dell has knocked it out of the park. The Precision’s layout is fine, with large keys and a numberpad, and the more fashionable Scrabble-tile design has been ignored – instead, this is a traditional unit.

That’s no bad thing. Each key has plenty of travel, and they hammer down reliably. They’re light but feel solid and well-made rather than flimsy, and we were quickly typing at full speed – helped by the positive feedback given by the rock-solid base.

The touchpad is surprisingly small given the size of this machine, but the surface is one of the most responsive we’ve seen, and very accurate. The pad has three buttons, too – one more than most. This is one of few machines we’ve seen recently with a trackpoint, and both the point and its three buttons are pleasing to use.

Other things to consider

Three other versions of the M6800 are available. The cheapest, at £1,739, drops down to 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk, and it’s got AMD FirePro M6100 graphics. Stepping up from our sample nets you a M6800 that costs £2,166, and that configuration has a faster Core i7-4900MQ processor, a 256GB SSD and the same AMD FirePro GPU.

Dell’s top Precision M6800 is a monster – it’s got everything the previous machine offers, but it also has a more powerful Nvidia Quadro K4100M graphics core. It costs a cool £2,675.

Every specification can be customised with a huge number of service options. Anti-theft devices are affordable, and customisable installation services make things easier for broad deployments. A dozen different BIOS tweaks can be made before the Precision leaves the factory, and various tracking and recovery options are available. That’s not the end of the software versatility: Windows 7 or 8 can be chosen, and it’s even possible to get this system with Ubuntu or Red Had variants of Linux.

The M6800 comes with a three-year next-business-day warranty with Dell ProSupport as standard, but it’s possible to upgrade to four and five year packages. Accidental damage protection can be added, too.

Should I Buy the Dell Precision M6800?

This machine is designed for the most demanding of road warriors, and that’s influenced virtually every department. It’s got more ports, sockets and slots than you’ll find on almost any other machine, and it’s got more power under the hood than most, too – the M6800 will be able to handle work software without breaking a sweat.

The screen has great colour accuracy and ergonomically it’s fantastic, thanks mainly to the superb keyboard. It even has reasonable battery life – as long as it’s not pushed too hard.

The size, weight and price of this machine count against it, and that means any buying decision needs to seriously consider whether the likes of the included disc drive and high-end graphics card are really worth it. But if you need serious performance in a somewhat portable form, it's hard to beat.

Verdict

The Precision M6800 has got it where it counts, including excellent performance, build quality and a top-notch screen. Yes, it's heavy and the battery life is nothing special, but it's a serious machine and it shows.

Next, take a look at our latest laptop reviews, or check out our pick of the best laptops

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 7
  • Build Quality 10
  • Design 9
  • Heat & Noise 8
  • Keyboard 10
  • Performance 9
  • Screen Quality 8
  • Touchpad 8
  • Value 7

Prem Desai

July 3, 2014, 3:49 pm

Fantastic spec.

Dell now need to challenge themselves - keep the spec, but halve the thickness and weight. It can be done so do it ....

AA

July 3, 2014, 10:39 pm

The laptop to buy if you're a serious professional looking for a serious machine.
Still using my 7-year-old Precision M6300 and it's sturdy as ever. Oh, and their support service is unbeatable in the industry. Well worth paying the extra, IMO.

danielfrisbee

July 6, 2014, 11:40 am

the screen resolution is too low, I use an 11" screen at 1080p for 3d graphics/photoshop etc on the move, but it's just not enough pixels to get things done easily. On a 17" screen these days at over two grand there's no reason not to have 2560x1440. Most creative professionals will be making use of higher resolutions these days and would be foolish to sacrifice that..

Mladen Milic

August 12, 2014, 8:46 pm

Here it is:

Dell Precision M3800

Bjarne Nilsen

August 21, 2014, 10:14 am

Does this laptop support hardware virtualization ?

MO JO Ham

September 19, 2014, 10:08 pm

Of course it does. you don't even need to ask this question with these capabilities .

Guest

October 19, 2014, 12:02 am

from a closed comment story I saw your batshit crazy comment on:

Nope not god, science and doctors.

Guest

October 19, 2014, 12:04 am

Those Chinese Doctors don't believe your God, think you are weak for wasting time, so do I.

MO JO Ham

October 21, 2014, 10:59 am

what was that? lol

Cg Data

June 26, 2015, 3:49 pm

this comment is a year old now but I still struggle to find any(!) 2K display laptop.

danielfrisbee

June 26, 2015, 4:03 pm

I think Lenovo and Samsung laptops have 3200x1800 displays on some of their laptops

Cg Data

June 26, 2015, 10:18 pm

I mean 3/4K on 17" panel

Michael Beijer

July 3, 2015, 11:37 pm

Hell no, leave it the way it is! Those ridiculously high-def screens make everything tiny and unusable, at least in the programs I use as a translator.

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