Indeed, if one were to have any particular complaint about the XPS M1530 at this present time, it would be that Dell hasn’t quite delivered on the range of customisation one would expect of an XPS branded notebook. For example, though the 250GB SATA HDD is very generous, there’s no option for larger 300GB drives that are now available, or a faster 7200rpm drive in any size at all.
As far as display options go, it would also be great to see 1,440 x 900 and 1,680 x 1,050 resolutions available, while the 512MB version of the 8600M GT would be necessary to help power games at those higher resolutions. With any luck Dell will begin to introduce these more extensive options as it ramps up production on this model, which given its record would seem likely.
Putting aside these disappointments, there’s still plenty of great options available. Those with cash to burn will appreciate the chance to equip a slot loading Blu-ray drive, while integrated HSDPA is also available. For a small amount extra you can also opt for 802.11n Wi-Fi, for those who’ll appreciate the extra range and transfer rates. As standard, though, you get Intel 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi, with 10/100 Ethernet and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR both integrated as well. As with the XPS M1330, there’s no modem, but who gives a damn anyway?
Connectivity has been bolstered for the larger version, with an extra USB port added along with S-Video. Thus, on the left edge you’ll find the DC-in, two USB ports, the D-SUB port, Ethernet port, HDMI and a 4-pin FireWire port. You’ll notice that just below the right side of the keyboard is a fingerprint reader, which is included on all configurations – as is the 2.0 Megapixel camera.
Moving to the front, audio connections are rounded off with dual headphone jacks and the microphone/ Line-in jack. These are joined by an infrared receiver for the included media remote, which fits snugly into the 54mm ExpressCard bay and is another great touch. Also on the front is an 8-in-1 memory card reader, which should be able to deal with most card formats you throw at it.
Finally, the right edge is taken up mostly by the slot loading optical drive. However, there is space for the aforementioned 54mm ExpressCard slot, another USB port and an S-Video output. Overall, this is a very strong selection, with HDMI obviously being the highlight for those wishing to connect their notebook to a TV.
This is obviously a big attraction these days, while Dell’s Media Direct software can be booted outside of Windows for quick access to your media. Unfortunately, video codec support is somewhat limited, though it does prove a useful and quick way to access music. Another benefit is that since it doesn’t load a lot of the normal Windows services it should enhance battery life, making it good option when watching DVDs on the move.