Product Review–Dell XPS L702X multimedia laptop computer

Introduction

I am reviewing the Dell XPS L702X 17” multimedia laptop computer which is the first laptop that I have reviewed on this site that is powered by the Intel second-generation “Sandy Bridge” chipset. I have previously talked about the configuration as being something that will change the game for most desktop and laptop computers.

Dell XPS L702x multimedia laptop computer

Price
– this configuration
$2621
Processor Intel Sandy Bridge processors: Core i7 – 2820Qm (2.30GHz) Cheaper options
All Sandy Bridge processors
Intel Core i5-2410QM
Intel Core i7-2620QM
Intel Core i7-2720QM
RAM 8 Gb Cheaper option:
4Gb or 6Gb
Secondary Storage 1 Terabyte hard disk Blu-Ray ROM / DVD burner, SDXC / Memory Stick XC card reader
Extra Cost
Blu-Ray writer
Display Subsystem NVIDIA GeForce GT555M with 3D (3Gb display memory) Cheaper option:
NVIDIA GeForce GT550M with Optimus (1Gb)
Extra Cost
NVIDIA GeForce GT555M with Optimus (3Gb)
Screen 17” widescreen LED-backlit LCD
Network Wi-Fi 802.11n dual-band
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Connectors USB 2 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
eSATA 1 x eSATA
Video HDMI, DisplayPort
Audio 2 x 3.5mm headphone jacks,
1 x 3.5mm optical SPDIF jack,
1 x 3.5mm microphome jack
Operating System on supplied unit Microsoft Windows 7 Home Edition
Windows Experience Index 5.9 overall 7.9 Graphics
7.9 Gaming Graphics

The computer itself

Aesthetics and Build quality

A feature that may position the Dell XPS as an alternative to the one with the glowing Apple logo is the use of aluminium finishing. This is more so with the top of the lid and the bezel around the keyboard area. As well. it is a well-built computer with a sense of quality in the manufacture of the unit.

Dell XPS L702x multimedia laptop side vent grille

Side vent grille helps keep the laptop computer running cool

This machine doesn’t get too hot too easily through normal use. It has been brought about through a battery that has a flange that places the computer on a slight angle, a large vent on the left side as well as some venting at the bottom of the unit.

User interface

The Dell XPS uses a large illuminated chiclet keyboard with a regular numeric keypad;. This is very different to other Dell laptops which I have used where there is a keyboard style not dissimilar to the typical desktop keyboard. It is still accurate for most touch-typing tasks. The only limitation that I have against it is the small top row which has the function keys as well as the ESC and “Insert”, “PrtSc” and “Delete” keys.

Dell have still marked out the trackpad as a distinct area; with the buttons kept as separate buttons rather than as zones on the trackpad. This still keeps this laptop a very useable computer without having to adopt a new learning curve.

They have also kept the function keys as their regular intended functions but you can use the Mobility Control Panel to change that option. Above the keyboard, in the indicator area, there are three touch buttons which give you one-touch access to the sound-card settings, the Mobility Control Panel as well as a user-defined option.

Dell XPS L702x multimedia laptop ed keyboard

Illuminated keyboard

Audio and Video

The audio experience for the Dell XPS L702x is markedly different from the typical laptop computer that I have used. Here, I have noticed that this unit can reproduce music with a deeper bass and richer tone at a level comparable to a good portable radio;  and the dialogue and sound effects in a movie have the “full body” in them even through these speakers. This is a prime example of computer builders having compainies with audio-reproduction and speaker-design knowhow “working” their premium and multimedia laptop-computer designs to break away from the mould of “tinny” sound on this class of computer.

This example has been “worked” by JBL, one of a few companies known for extensive speaker design; as well as the use of MaxxAudio DSP logic for processing the sound. There is the option to have Creative Labs technology in the computer alongside the MaxxAudio technology and is available in this review model.

An improvement could be to move the speakers above the keyboard or on the screen so that the sound doesn’t get muffled by you resting your hands over the palm-rest speaker grilles. Of course I would find that headphones or good-quality external speakers would make this sound better.

The display subsystem is based on an NVIDIA chipset but has 3D playout functionality when connected to a suitable external display like most of the “lounge-room” TVs currently offered by most of the major manufacturers like LG, Samsung and Sony. It doesn’t seem to provide support for dual-mode “overdrive switch” in the review sample; but there are cheaper or better options that have this function but under automatic control using the Optimus feature in the new NVIDIA chipsets.

The video display handled the “Top Gear” online videos as best as the site could allow as well as some YouTube videos that I had played through the system. It as also able to hanbdle the special effects in “Munich” off the DVD very well, especially with a lot os smoothness.

Battery life

I had run this machine through a few mixed-task sessions where I had done some text editing, music playback and video playback with the machine always online through the Wi-Fi network. This was done using the default “Dell” power plan and the battery was able to cope for around two hours.

It was able to run through a DVD movie for 2 hours 33 minutes on regular power mode with the Wi-Fi network still running. This is on the standard battery that came with the system and is a benchmark that I have observed for Sandy-Bridge based laptops.

Conclusion

I would recommend the Dell XPS L702X as a desktop-replacement laptop for someone who wants to head towards the “new computing environment” but want to use a laptop that has the abilities of most current-issue standard desktop computers.

It would work well also as a work-home laptop computer for small-business owner. This is more so if you place value on the multimedia applications such as photo, audio and video editing where you need to use the latest multimedia techniques like Blu-Ray or 3D. In some ways, It could be another of those laptops that could be considered as an alternative to the Apple MacBook Pro laptop.

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20 Comments

  1. Steven Tunzik says:

    You forgot to mention one of the most important feature!
    It hasn’t got that stupid annoying glossy screen.
    I was looking for a proper laptop with matt screen for a long time
    but all of the shops had those crappy glossy ugly useless laptops.
    Fortunately I have find this Dell XPS L702X today, I am very happy, planning
    to replace two more of my old IBM ThinkPads (still running Windows 98SE).

  2. Noclegi says:

    I’ve ordered one for myself, after all of the reviews I’m sure it’s worth all the money :-)

  3. Paramdeep Singh says:

    HDMI port does not work, dell says it is a laptop design limitation. I would way misrepresentation of the product

  4. simonmackay says:

    I would also head to NVIDIA’s Website and look for the latest video drivers for your L702X – this uses the GeForce GT550M/GT555M Series video subsystems.. The comment that Dell passed that it was a design limitation is BS and someone in Dell’s technical support doesn’t know what they are talking about. The HDMI port is actually meant to be an external AV port for your laptop — why would they fit the HDMI port in the first place. As well, the HDMI display peripheral (monitor or projector) that you are attempting to use this with is meant to alos support HDCP, which they would need to have to work with Blu-Ray players.

  5. Cyberjisus says:

    I have a Dell L702X and I use the HDMI port to connect to my HD TV every day, with no problem. I’m very pleased with this laptop.

  6. Dweezil says:

    I only issue I have with my XPS L702 is that the one touch buttons are too sensitive. When I go to press “Delete” or any of the other buttons at the upper right of my keyboard I activiate the one touch items. Very much a pain in the ass.

  7. MadSHEL says:

    Well, since I purchased this machine I have had issues with flickering screen display. So, I called Dell, and the troubleshooted for hours and hours with no conclusion as of why the flickering was happening. So they decided to exchange the existent battery for r a new one. It did not work..After hours and hours of more troubleshooting the flickering problem persisted.. So then, they decided to replace the video card.. Nope, it also did not fixed. By then, and hours of constant problems..and ongoing troubleshooting I had enough (So I thought). With the problems continuing I contacted Dell asking for a computer replacement, and for my surprise they said it would be near impossible to do that. So, then the mother board gets replaced and the keyboard since the “mofo” who came to “fix” it ended up braking the keyboard in the process of opening the computer case. I am not mentioning that the support people ended up installing wrong drivers on the machine during the “troubleshooting” endless sessions. So, today after 10 month I truly had enough. The screen still flickering. I said, or you give me a new machine or I will go to the authorities and do all that I can to have this machine replaced. After hours and hours of negotiation over the phone they finally agree to give me a replacement. For my desperation, I will have to settle for the same machine. One thing for sure, this was the last Dell of my life!

  8. simonmackay says:

    I would report what happened with your L702X to the Dell management in your country and especially mention how you were treated by the support staff in relation to the problem. Raise the threat of having it handled under local consumer-protection “lemon laws” with the management.

  9. Declan Chalmers says:

    Has any one a problem with conecting the mini display port to a monitor or projector. When I plug it in I get the blue screen and crash.

  10. trainspotter says:

    I haven’t had any issue with this machine, but it is definitely NOT a “laptop”, it just weighs a ton. Carrying it for more than 5 minutes is definitely a chore, and forget using it on your “lap”.

    Mines well built and reliable and very powerful (work bought it for me, i use it every day), but think of it as a portable desktop, you will DEFINITELY not want to carry it to and from work every day!

  11. JacksonS says:

    I have bought one of the L702X and it is a lump of crap. My 3 yr old Alienware runs faster than this unit does, slow to boot and getting on to do anything on the internet is a joke.

  12. Dagron says:

    Easy Fix for flickering screen:
    Go into the intel graphics tool and deactivate the power saving feature for the display. It makes the screen flicker. solved it for me

  13. Alex says:

    I’ve had my XPSL702 for less than 4 months and have had nothing but issues. I opted for the touch screen and am unable to type more than a few letters, if any before, it ghost touches screens closed and opens random programs. Dell tech tells me there’s no issue with the screen just drivers. 2 hours on remote access with tech to fix issue. STILL DOESN’T WORK!

    2 day later the hard drive crashes! Their tech department (3 transfers to reach XPS Tech) doesn’t listen when I tell them it’s the hard drive and sends out technician to my house with a motherboard and power cord! Another tech comes out a week later with hard drive and the screen is even worse than before! 6 hours bounced between departments and 3 hangups before I can get a replacement sent out. I open the box with the replacement and first notice “REFURBISHED” sticker. I can’t even describe the profanities that came out of my mouth!

    Further research and I find that it has different components and no touch screen. 4 more transfers around departments and another 1.5 hours of my life lost to be told that the rep can do nothing to facilitate a NEW replacement or refund because the computer is more than 21 days old… Waiting on the call back from the customer (lack of) service supervisor who had BETTER ISSUE A REFUND!

  14. simonmackay says:

    If this happened to you, you should seek out the local “lemon laws” (consumer protection legislation) which enforce a statutory “fit-for-service” requirement on equipment that you purchased and apply these laws. Mention to Dell that the machine was not fit for service after the repeated attempts to repair it and that they would be obliged to supply a new working machine.

  15. John says:

    I,m very happy with dell 702 about 1,5 year. That is the best machine i’ve ever hed

  16. Reza says:

    I have XPS L702 for around a year now.
    Pros:
    It is a well-built machine, much better than any other brand. I like the quality of the sound and the display very much. The processing speed is also good. I have had minor issues so far, which resolved eventually either by contacting Dell customer service or by myself. They even replaced my keypad with backlighted one free of charge. Awesome!.
    To sum up, It’s a powerful “Portable Desktop” pc.

    Cons:
    – Weight . Forget about using it on your lap for more than couple of minutes or carrying it around for a while.
    – I have monitor flickeing issue in battery mode only as well and I could not fix it yet. Haven’t called Dell customer service for that either. I am afraid it sounds like a serious hardware mismatch.

    Cheers

  17. simonmackay says:

    Check the monitor with another “known-to-be-good” computer to see if the monitor is at fault. As well, connect the Dell to another newet screen, also to see if the video circuitry is also at fault. Other issues may include the refresh rate or overscan on CRT equipment.

  18. thanasis says:

    I am 45 and five different laptops ‘passed’ from my hands the last 15 years, macintosh included.. Needless to say that the Dell xps17 is the best of them all so far. It is portble enough for a desktop replasement and comfotable enough for a laptop.. I think it is the ultimate tool ‘for the job’ that is desiged for.

  19. thanasis says:

    what i need to connect my xps to my LG 50′ plasma tv? can anybody help me?

  20. simonmackay says:

    This laptop uses an HDMI port – you can connect it to your big TV using an HDMI cable. Most plasma and LCD TVs made over the last five years should have at least one of these connections.

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