One week with my brand new Dell XPS L702X – Review Part 1, the hardware

Lots of things have changed in my life in the last two months. Most of these are about my computing life and free time avocation. Besides my loose blog maintanance and moderation duties in the greek spasto.net forum. which is about ethical hacking, security news and the Backtrack Linux distribution, something new has come to my possession.

Those of you who read the article’s title have already guessed what this post is about…

TA-DA!!! A brand new Dell XPS L702X! An Intel Core i7 2670QM based , nVidia GT555M  equiped 3GB dedicated,  loaded with 1 TB dual hard drives and 8 GB of RAM, along with a 17.3″ glossy FullHD LED screen, all of these encased in a top design aluminium based chassi!

All I want to do now is to share with you my current experience with this nice and powerful piece of machine, so that you might consider it as an option for your next purchase, get some ideas, or whatever you might relatively need.

First I would like to show you the specs, so that you can get a taste of the machine and start thinking about it:

  • Maker: Dell
  • Model & type: XPS 17 (L702X)
  • Part Number: DLNBXPS0514
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 – 2670QM (2.20GHz – Turbo Boost 3.10GHz, 6MB Cache, 5 GT/s DMI)
  • RAM: 8192MB (2x4096MB) DDR3 1333MHz, up to 16GB maximum memory (4-Sockets)
  • HDD: 1TB (2x500GB) 7200rpm, up to 1.5TB with dual drives
  • VGA: nVidia GeForce GT 555M 3GB dedicated
  • Monitor: 17.3 WLED Glossy FHD 1080p – 3D Display (1920×1080) Widescreen, with Truelife
  • Optical Disk: Blu-Ray ROM με DVD±R/RW DL Drive
  • Pre-loaded OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit GR/EN
  • Extras: 2x Usb 3.0, 2x Usb 2.0, 1x eSata, LAN 10/100/1000, WiFi Wireless-N 1030, Bluetooth 3.0, 9-in-1 Media Card Reader, 1x Mini DisplayPort, HDMI port 1.4, 2x Headphone audio jacks with SPID/F support, 1x Mic-in, Waves MaxxAudio 3, JBL 2.1 Designed & Certified Speakers, WebCam 2.0Mpixels, TV Tuner, Integrated nVidia 3D TV Play Technology, with a built-in 3D Vision IR emmiter
  • Battery: 9 Cell Li-Ion (90 Wh)
  • Weight: 3.36Kg

Lets assume now the machine is turned off. This is what you will first see:

Chassis is of quality made, aluminum encasement in both the outer shell and around the full with numpad keyboard. The latter itself has keys in an island style and glossy surface between them. Its layout is off-course the popular QWERTY and has a few hotkeys for various functions. Transition was very easy for me from my old Acer laptop and keys don’t need too much force to be typed. On the top, keys are touch activated and illuminated with a white light. Pretty nice if you ask me. No rough edges, no corners. Just like the spirit of the modern design directives. The touchpad is simplistic with two keys and a multitouch surface.

On the side it has the USB ports version 2.0 and at the back it has two USB 3.0 ports. At the back it also has mini display and HDMI port, ethernet port,kensington slot, antenna slot (for DVB-T).

The optical drive is a Blu-Ray Rom DVD super multi combo driver. I have already tested it  with a rented movie from my local DVD store and along with PowerDVD it offered crystal clear movie playback.

On the other side the express slot is seamlessly occupied by a card reader for SD, MMC and other various media (so called removable memory cards).

Inside it has an Intel motherboard with an i7, 4 Cores Processor (2670QM) rated at 2.2 GHz with its “turbo boost” at 3.1 GHz of maximum frequency. Hyper threading is also present so that “cores” reach number 8! It also has quite a lot of RAM with the GB being also 8! Maximum RAM can reach 16 GBs utilizing all 4 slots that are available. As far as I am concerned RAM is quite cheap so I might pretty soon upgrade.

Graphics is managed by an NVidia GeForce GT555M with dedicated memory of 3 GB of available memory. I tested just by pure curiosity the Second Life “game” at its maximum settings and FPS dropped down to 15-20 about at maximum resolution so I am quite satisfied by it. Reduced settings down to a more medium ones; frame rate was improved to a number 40+ about. I say the FPS roughly because I haven’t installed any FPS tool, yet. The graphics card is also capable of utilizing the 3D display and the monitor can reach 120 Hz of vertical refresh rate. The model I got, however, does not have the optimus technology, but I don’t really care about it.

The monitor is very bright and glossy, with diagonal of 17.3 inches. No dead pixels whatsoever and I am pretty happy with it, if I do so remember my Acer days. Native resolution is FullHD 1980×1080, optimized for high definition movies.

Further multimedia capabilities are provided by the intergrated hybrid Avermedia DVB-T/analog television card.

On top of the screen is an embedded camera and microphone for easy video conferencing and chat.

This machine is also nice to play music, speakers are very loud, also with a subwoofer, all  approved by JBL. All thanks to its Maxxaudio technology and Realtek HD.

Connectivity is also to its maximum potential with ethernet, intel wifi, bluetooth and options in other models include 3G connectivity, WiMAX, etc.

Internal storage is provided by dual hard drives with a total 1 TB of capacity.

Battery is a 9-cell, 90 Wh providing 3 hours and 30 minutes of moderate use. However I managed with 20 full recharge cycles to reach capacity of 92 Wh.

imagebam.com

And in mAh:

imagebam.com

Overall I liked it quite much and I am very happy with it. I wasn’t afraid to order it from the Internet without even touching it or feeling it and I trusted Dell for its offerings. And it worked for me.

My customized desktop (on part 2 the software):

imagebam.com

The best:

  • Its monitor. Very bright and colorful. Its LED after all.
  • Audio. Happy to listen to music all the time. Noises and scratches is just a thing of the past.
  • Keyboard. I am comfortable to type on it. Although I could really find useful a few more Fn hotkeys.
  • Good structure and design. Although when playing games temperature and heat can become present, however cooling is sufficient because I haven’t seen any temperatures above 62 degrees Celcius and the battery has a bulge so that air can flow at the bottom.
  • The battery capacity and design allowing the machine to breath fresh air on the bottom, while having a slight tilt to the front to allow easy typing.

The worst:

  • Leds for indicating hard drive usage are behind the monitor! Pretty bad and awkward! I didn’t like it. Was it so difficult to install these elsewhere? Dell, please?
  • The touchpad should have been just a little to the left. Sometimes when I type I accidentally move the cursor. I have to disable the touchpad in order to avoid this!
  • e-SATA/USB 2.0 powershare combo? Is it so difficult to have two separate ports for each one? Dell, please, once again!
  • Its original BIOS being buggy (USB emulation issues). An update however solves the issue.

What’s missing and could easily be included:

  • A pair of 3D, active shutter glasses. Most 3D TVs always bundle at least one pair.
  • A cleaning cloth. My 8 years old Acer laptop had one, why is it missing from the Dell machine?
  • I need more Fn hotkeys! Where the sleep button?
  • Why does it not have Optimus anyway?

10 thoughts on “One week with my brand new Dell XPS L702X – Review Part 1, the hardware

  1. Alright! It works, thank you very much for this!

    However I should blame Dell for not having it with some sort of a sticker like the other hotkeys. Or blame me for not reading its manual :P

  2. I have the same problem with my XPS 3D.. also hate not having scroll lock, hate little-bit flickering screen and HDD led taken back.. the original seagate 750 GB 7200 RPM had SMART ERRORS after 3 days.. replaced by garranty..

  3. I don’t use Scroll Lock so I don’t bother much about it.

    Screen’s nice but it only flickers in some rare occasions and only when it is in 60 Hz mode.

    So you did experience SMART errors, now that you mentioned it I might give mine a spin with a handy tool a have on Linux.

    One more thing that made me really sad. I discovered a few days ago a dead pixel. I haven’t contacted them and I still need my laptop, fortunatelly they say that for XPS models one pixel is covered by warranty.

    • OMG! Dead pixel would kill me.. I am really sorry for that.. But if you can replace your screen, DELL maybe let you do it on your own..
      Yes, tonight I corrected the flickering 60 Hz problem with setting the refresh rate to 120 Hz..

  4. I bought DELL 17r i7-2670QM for my employee, his optimus is working.. consuming only 10-12 Wh instead of our 30-40Wh.. I’m really sad..

    Anyway, our XPS is great.. but it would be thrilling to get for example a BIOS upgrade which makes optimus working.. BTW: 2012.03.20 -> new BIOS is out, I am updating now..

    I have two HDD-s now: 750Gb original and 512GB from my “pendrive”.. :) My dream is to buy a big SSD for primary HD and a big 1 TB disk for secondary..

    I had on my desk a high speed 8 GB SD card, I installed it to the SD reader for win7 to use for ReadyBoost, but didn’t measured anything.. BTW I see that windows uses it for readings also.. so it’s working..

    I think You enjoy your 8 Gb RAM.. so its about 17-20 EUR to upgrade your laptop with an extension 4 GB DDR3 module.. I installed my two extra modules myself of course.. :)

  5. hi Twilight,
    I got the same machine and have a doubt. Why does windows show that the graphics adapter being used is Intel(R) HD graphics with1696 MB of memory. Do i have to change something to get the Nvidia adapter to kick in?

    Thank you.

  6. You got good battery power out of that, i don’t get that much
    the optimus missing is n nVidea specification insistancfe, it is possible to have it, but you need a non-3d version, then have the screen swapped, but you need to be sure you gtet the right motherboard in the firsst place, specify 8gb memory and you will get the same motherboard as the 3D setups, it is basically nVidea that force dell to disable the optimus stuff, no 3D onitially = optimus.

  7. Just wanted to let you know, even though it’s not officially supported, the XPS 17 3D with 4 RAM slots can handle up to 32 GB of RAM! I’ve got it working in mine, 8 GB in each slot.

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