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CNET First Look
Dell XPS 15 (Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge)Equipped with second-gen Intel Core i-series CPUs and improved Nvidia graphics, the new Dell XPS 15 performs even better than its predecessor, although it's still just as bulky.
-Hi, I'm Scott Stein, senior associate editor at CNET.com, and this is the new Dell XPS 15. Now, if you remember last year, back just in November (it wasn't that long ago) when we reviewed the Dell XPS 15, which we thought was a really great, well-featured, affordable multimedia/gaming laptop, which was just, unfortunately, pretty big and bulky. But as long as you could live with that, it was a-- had pretty nice features for the price. Well, the new one that came out and is available now has 2nd gen Intel Core i Series processors, those Sandy Bridge that you've heard about, which offer better performance and some additional gains in battery life. Other than that, the chassis is pretty much the same as before: it's big. And with a 9-cell battery, it's just downright chunky. And this thing almost has a throwback feel that-- that's not that attractive as far as laptops go. In fact, it's all metal. It actually look-- feels nicer than it looks, and we're gonna be buying this thing for the internal components. The price starts at $799 for the XPS 15 with a-- with a pretty nice set of specs for it, and it climbs all the way up to in the $1500 range. Our model is about $1488 and it comes with a quad-core i7 processor, as well as a nice, big, 1920 x 1080 (that's full HD) resolution screen, and it also has NVIDIA GeForce 500 Series graphics, which are a step up from last year's. Now, this also has a 750-gigabyte 7200 rpm hard drive and a whopping 8 gigs of RAM. That's more than you'll need but, overall, the performance really does scream. Games play really well on it and the best part is its media performance. There are dual JBL speakers and a subwoofer on the back. That's the same as last year's XPS. But again, the sound sounds fantastic. It's probably the best sound that we've heard in a laptop. And the 1080p display costs an extra $150 to upgrade to. We'd say it's really worth it because the colors that we saw were really vivid, really nice, bright picture. The two combined plus a Blu-ray drive upgrade really makes this a nice home theater-type of a laptop. You certainly won't be lugging it around when it's this thick. The good news though is that the battery life with a 9-cell is about over 4 hours, which is a lot better than what we had on the 6-cell on last year's XPS 15. You're gonna have to pony up some money for it, but if you're into a media laptop that's not gonna drift far from your desk, you might wanna give this one a look. I'm Scott Stein and this is the new Dell XPS 15.