The included Dell keyboard looks neat, but is essentially just the standard keyboard with an added silver trim and some media controls. Keys don’t offer positive feedback, almost feeling mushy, and feature some very long travel; hardly ideal for gaming. The media controls are green-backlit (to match Dell’s monitors), and there is the unexpected and pleasant surprise of a two-port USB 2.0 hub. The included wrist-rest is flimsily attached but adequate, and a must due to the keyboard’s uncomfortably high profile.
Also included is a Dell five button mouse, which wins the distinctive honour of being one of the worst mice I have ever used. Its symmetrical shape is neither completely comfortable for palm or fingertip use, the buttons lack response, the ‘forward’ button on the left hand side is difficult to reach, and the scroll wheel does not have a pleasant coating or grip, nor does it provide ‘notched feedback’ – an essential for many gamers.
The mouse-mat on the other hand is quite decent, featuring a curvy design, non-slip rubber bottom and textured top. It provides a better mouse response than my cloth work mat, though it could do with being few centimetres bigger.
Moving on, the Dell case is a mixed bag. While there are a few disappointments, it is also full of nice touches. For example, I cannot emphasise enough how much I love the case’s top release-lever mechanism, which releases one of the side doors with a simple pull. And thankfully, the panel reinserts as easily as it comes out. The 630 also has Bluetooth 2.0, not a feature found often on Desktop PCs.
Three Aqua coloured (by default) LEDs just above the DVD drives not only light up the silver XPS logo, but also let you see what CD/DVD you’re taking out of your drive. Of course, you could just check via software, but now you don’t have to. It’s one of those completely superfluous touches that are nonetheless nice to have. The LEDs, together with two at the Dell’s rear, are actually part of its Light FX program, which should allow you to change the colours or run various patterns. Unfortunately, on our sample machine we could not find this functionality anywhere, and a search on Dell’s website proved fruitless.
Another touch that you will not find on many PCs is that the CPU’s large and heavy cooler is supported by a thick rubber pad. This is ideal for transporting the XPS (Lan Party anyone?) without having to remove the cooler or risk breaking your motherboard. The cooler itself, meanwhile, is an impressive looking affair with copper heat pipes running through aluminium fins.
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