New Dell laptop goes disco

Dell's new gaming laptop features strobe lights

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman

It's not easy to stand out at a place like Digital Life, a hotbed of new product announcements conveniently scheduled right before the holiday shopping season. But if all else fails, as Dell shows, you can always resort to flashing lights.

The company's latest gaming laptop includes strobe lights built into the wrist rests that, according to Dell literature, "strobe, pulse, or fade the system's 16-color lights to the beat of a song or whenever a game character fires a weapon, moves, or gets fragged." It works with mainstream music apps, such as Windows Media Player and iTunes, but the compatible game list is still up in the air.

The laptop, which keeps the same model number as its predecessor, isn't just about blinking lights. The new XPS M1710 offers high-end parts such as Intel's overclocker-friendly Core 2 Duo T7600G and the new Nvidia GeForce Go 7950 GTX GPU. Dell won't overclock the processor for you in the factory, but just the fact that the company is encouraging it is a bold step (although not as bold as its overclocked XPS 700 desktop).

The revised XPS M1710 is available now. The tricked-out version with the components referenced above will set you back $3,498.

The flashing lights are either massively cool or entirely lame, depending on your personal aesthetic sense. We'll leave it up to you to judge for yourself.