The new Dell XPS M1530 15.4" screen notebook was announced just last week and our much anticipated review model made it in the door today. Following is a first look and video comparison with the smaller brother XPS M1330.
Dell XPS M1530 (view large image)
XPS M1530 Overview and Differences from XPS M1330
The Dell XPS M1330 has received high praise for its design and feature set in a 13.3" portable form factor, but the real sweet spot for selling laptops is the 15.4" screen size. Dell, being in the business of selling more laptops and making customers happy, figured it would be wise to offer something that's larger and appeals to more people. And that's exactly what the M1530 is -- a larger version of the M1330. It's as if Dell put the M1330 on steroids and the M1530 is the end result -- the laptop size increased proportionally and it's also more powerful in its new form (baseball player Barry Bonds could explain this phenomenon to you well). The design and look is precisely the same, the keyboard feels the same, the touch sensitive controls are replicated and for the most part the ports are the same (though you do get an extra USB 2.0 port on the M1530).
Below is a video comparing the XPS M1530 and smaller XPS M1330
There are some notable differences other than size between the M1530 and M1330 however. The M1530 can be configured with a more powerful Nvidia 8600M GT graphics card for boosted gaming performance over the XPS M1330 that only offers up to the Nvidia 8400M GS. The M1530 also offers up to a 2.80GHz Intel T7800 processor, whereas the XPS M1330 tops out at an Intel T7500 2.0GHz processor. Obviously if you're all about the performance metrics and don't carry a laptop around much, the XPS M1530 is a better fit for you.
Another difference that should be mentioned is that currently the M1530 is offered with only a standard 15.4" widescreen XGA (1280 x 800) display, while the XPS M1330 has the option for a thinner and more power efficient LED backlit display. Dell says the XPS M1530 should be available next year with different display resolution screens. Even though some will be a little put out by the lack of LED backlighting being offered on the M1530 initially, the standard CCFL display is still gorgeously bright and flawless. Plus you get a higher 2.0MP web cam with the standard thicker CCFL screen, whereas with a thinner LED screen only a VGA resolution cam can be fitted.
Dell XPS M1530 15.4" versus Dell Inspiron 1520 15.4"
Some people might wonder if they should go for the Dell Inspiron 1520 15.4" notebook or the Dell XPS M1530 15.4". After all, they're both consumer notebooks from the same company that can be configured similarly, so what's the point? For one, the XPS M1530 is way more eye catching in terms of design than the Inspiron 1520. The barrel hinge, dropdown screen and sloping look of the M1530 is just cool. Second, the XPS M1530 weighs just 5.9 lbs with a standard 6-cell battery while the Inspiron 1520 weighs in at just over 7lbs with its 6-cell battery. Other benefits of the XPS M1530 notebook include a sleeker slot loading optical drive, touch sensitive light-up buttons, dedicated XPS tech support, media remote control and thinner profile.
Above view of Dell XPS M1530 (view large image)
Are there things better about the Inspiron 1520? Well, it has four USB 2.0 ports (one more than the M1530), it's cheaper and it can come in up to eight different lid colors instead of the three offered with the M1530 (which are: crimson red, tuxedo black, pearl white). Clearly though, the XPS M1530 is the higher end of the two notebooks. The crimson red we have on our review unit is particularly sporty looking might I add.
Included remote with XPS M1530 (view large image)
Tour around the XPS M1530
Here's a video tour around the Dell XPS M1530:
And let's do that again, but with still images for closer and more clear viewing:
Front profile view of XPS M1530 (view large image)
Left side view of XPS M1530 (view large image)
Right side view of XPS M1530 (view large image)
Back profile view of the XPS M1530 (view large image)
The built-in HDMI is a very nice thing to have for those that want digital video output, S-Video is also there for the more old-fashioned approach to that. With FireWire, three USB ports, a media card reader, two headphone jacks, microphone jack, ExpressCard slot and Ethernet port you're well equipped ports wise. I'm a huge fan of the slot loading optical drive. Yes, the slot loading action is a bit loud like the M1330 is, but that doesn't bother me so much.
Initial Performance Look
Of course we couldn't resist running a couple of benchmarks on the XPS M1530 out of the box. Without any tweaks to drivers or removal of software, the machine performed very well -- the 2.40GHz Core 2 Duo processor and Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB card will satisfy most gamers with exception to those more hard core, and will certainly please the average PC user:
3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance:
|Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB)||4,310 3DMarks|
|Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT)||2,905 3DMarks|
|Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB)||1,408 3DMarks|
|Samsung Q70 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 and nVidia 8400M G GPU)||1,069 3DMarks|
|Asus F3sv-A1 (Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB)||2,344 3DMarks|
|Alienware Area 51 m5550 (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7600 256MB||2,183 3DMarks|
|Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB)||2,144 3DMarks|
|Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB)||1,831 3DMarks|
|Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB)||1,819 3DMarks|
|HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||827 3DMarks|
PCMark05 measures overall notebook performance:
|Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB)||5,412 PCMarks|
|Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT)||4,616 PCMarks|
|Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS)||4,591 PCMarks|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)||4,153 PCMarks|
|Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100)||3,987 PCMarks|
|Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB)||4,189 PCMarks|
|HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400)||4,234 PCMarks|
|Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400)||3,487 PCMarks|
|Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX)||5,597 PCMarks|
|Sony Vaio SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400)||3,637 PCMarks|
|Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400)||3,646 PCMarks|
Stay tuned for more
The Dell XPS M1530 has only been with us for a few hours at the time of this writng, so we'll be testing it for a few more days before forming a full opinion and review. Stay tuned though, as that will be upcoming, and if you have specific questions on this notebook that you'd like covered in the review then ask us now!