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Available from Dell HERE From £529

Model Tested

Intel Core i5 2310 @ 2.30Ghz

2GB DDR3 Ram

500GB 7200rpm HDD

TV Tuner

BluRay Drive

Integrated Intel HD 3000 Graphics + Discrete Nvidia Geforece 525m 1GB Graphics

JBL 2.1 Speakers + Subwoofer

 

Build Quality

The brushed metal lid looks great, only slightly let down when you realise the base is plastic but theres no creaking, this feels like a very well made laptop.  Opening it up the screen is glossy Smile and the gentle curves everywhere look pleasing, the keyboard and trackpad are both full size, and look very smart with their graphite colours.

 

First Impressions

The model I tried had the upgrade to a FullHD 1920×1080 screen.  Trust me, if you do nothing else get this screen!  IT. IS. AMAZING.

The screen is quite advanced, more what you’d find in a high end monitor, and produces ~78% of the full RGB gamut – (In english it can show more colours than the average monitor) which at first makes everything look very saturated but your eyes quickly adjust and just wait till you watch a movie!
The image jumps off the screen, everything is pin sharp and is a great first impression.  The next thing that hits you is the sound!  You have never heard a laptop sound like this – the JBL speakers produce an amazing sound that fills the room, and the subwoofer gives extra kick on the low end.

The keyboard is comfortable to use given the full size, and the multitouch trackpad is responsive and smooth.

 

Performance

This laptop couples Intels latest SandyBridge chipset with Nvidia Optimus Graphics.  What does that mean? It means you get excellent battery life when using the integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics – this has more than enough grunt for most business tasks, creative apps and some less taxing games, as well as handling web video and dvd/bluray.  It also gives fantastic battery life, i was getting around 6 hours+ easily.

When you need a bit of extra muscle, the Intel TurboBoost tech kicks the processor up to 2.70Ghz on demand, and you have the option to switch to the discrete Nvidia Geforce 525M graphics card.  This has some serious power – I could run new games like Crysis 2 (which I believe is quite heavy on it’s requirements) easily – and the graphics defaulted to the best setting!  It can’t quite mange this at FullHD resolution – however the models with the faster processor (Intel Core i7 @ 2.70 ghz) with the Nvidia Geforce 540M should be OK.  On the downside you lose battery life, so it’s more for when you can plug in.  Even given this power the system runs cool – certainly cool enough to use on a lap!

Numbers below are with the Nvidia Graphics on AC power NOTE – When this was done I had installed a 60GB SSD from http://www.futurestorage.co.uk/ so the Drive score is somewhat high (Give the choice I’d spec a SSD in this laptop anyway!)

image

So it’s certainly a great performer.

 

Multimedia

As mentioned this is an excellent entertainment machine.  The JBL speakers sound excellent and people won’t believe they’re coming from a laptop!
Of course the screen will have quite an impact too…  The FullHD 1080P screen looks razor sharp – and BluRay playback is AMAZING!  The image is so detailed, but on top of that the screen can produce deep blacks and a very good contrasting picture.

Also available as a built in option is the TV tuner giving access to Freeview in the UK.  This makes this a great All-In-One machine – perfect for students who need a machine for work, entertainment and games – Just watch out though – you’ll suddenly have a load of people who want to come over to watch TV and films on it!

Overall

I can make this short.  This is the best laptop I have ever used.  Even at the lower spec it is hugely capable, and for £529 you couldn’t go wrong!  It would even make me reconsider a Macbook… That should say it all!

<- Without a doubt I’d recommend this

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  • barry thompson

    cheers for that, v helpful.

  • dan

    The model tested would be in the £850 – £1100 region if speced up at dell. Bit like saying buy a Toyota because you have tryed a Lexus.

    • http://gizmodad.co.uk Darren

      Yep you’re right, and in hindsight for that much I’d choose the MacBook air instead