When Dell showed off its 20-inch Mobile Concept at this year's CES, it was greeted as a gimmick -- an attractive but freakish concept apparently doomed never to see the light of day.
Undeterred by the sceptical CES crowd, and buoyed by positive user opinion from its official user forums, Dell has made the bold move of pushing its 20-incher to market, largely unchanged but now bearing the name Dell XPS M2010.
The laptop (or 'laps-top' as Crave calls it) was shown in its full glory at last week's Ultimate XPS Experience, and it's just as imposing a sight as it was in Las Vegas. It has a faux-leather exterior with a clever folding design that includes a full-size detachable Bluetooth keyboard and a leather carrying handle with anodised hinges.
The M2010, which starts at £1,999, uses a 20-inch widescreen display with a native resolution of 1,920x1,200 pixels, but bizarrely there's no mention of Blu-ray or HD DVD optical drive support. Instead, you get an ordinary dual-layer DVD rewriter and a couple of 160GB hard drives, which is some consolation. These are joined by an 8-speaker audio system with sub-woofer, a T2600 2.1GHz Centrino Duo CPU and up to 4GB of RAM.
Graphics performance is an important issue, but it proved a contentious one at the unveiling of the 2010. With no ATI representatives in sight, Nvidia's people were given free reign to swig champagne with the journos and extol the virtue of GeForce cards in Dell hardware. But egg joined face when Dell revealed that the XPS M2010, its flagship gaming laptop, actually uses an ATI X1800 mobile chip. (Poor old Nvidia.)
How we chuckled. You had to be there. Sigh.
The whole thing is rather unwieldy, but the XPS M2010 might be the perfect tonic for anyone willing to sacrifice some portability in exchange for a large screen and outstanding performance. It should also appeal to Small Form Factor PC lovers, as it's arguably just as attractive, portable and as powerful asrange -- and it even comes with a screen.
Dell also took pleasure in showing off a new version of the XPS 1710 17-inch gaming laptop which now has a better screen and a higher spec, and the XPS 1210 12-inch ultra-portable. Both use Nvidia graphics, are dual-core-equipped, and represent the pinnacle of Dell's laptop range in their respective categories.
We'll be all over the new XPS range like bees on meat -- watch out for full reviews in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, check out CNET Asia's exclusive hands-on for more pics of the XPS M2010 and our photo story. -RR