"The fastest gaming laptop ever built"4.5 starson by Techhawk
Pros: Screaming performance. Fastest GPU ever put in a laptop. Quiet. Thermally efficient. Excellent battery life for a DTR. Surprisingly light. Screen looks stunning when gaming.
Cons: Some screen 'sparkle' with white backgrounds (bothers some; not me). 6800go Ultra isn't overclockable... so far.
Summary: I received my XPS Gen 2 one week ago, so this is a first hand review. I'd been on the verge of ordering a Sager 9860 when the XPS Gen 2 was announced and placed my order in late Feb. My system features a Pentium M 2.0 GHz, 1 GB DDR2 RAM, 7200 RPM 60 GB HDD, Nvidia 6800go Ultra with 256MB DDR3 RAM, Intel 2915 wireless 'Centrino' chipset, 17" 1920x1200 UXGA 'Truelife' Glossy widescreen, 8x DVD-RW, Bluetooth, Microsoft XP Mediacenter, Microsoft Office Basic, 3 year onsite repair warranty, etc. The price came in at just over $2900 with discounts at the time I ordered.
This is the most remarkable gaming laptop ever built. It's the fastest by any important measure (3dMark05, FPS in gaming tests). It is much thinner, lighter and cooler than it's closest competition (Clevo 900 series, i.e.: Alienware 7700, Sager 9860, Hypersonic, Falcon NW, Voodoo, etc.) while outperforming them by a fairly large margin. It has the highest resolution screen, the fastest video card (Nvidia 6800go Ultra), and the longest battery life.
The key to the XPS Gen 2's efficiency and small (for a DTR/Gaming machine) form factor is the use of the Pentium M 'Dothan' processor. It uses drastically less power than the Pentium 4s used in the competition and generates much less heat (which also allows it to run MUCH quieter as it can use smaller fans running at lower speeds to keep it cool). The reviewers that have attacked this processor as a weakness betray their ignorance. The 2.0 GHz Dothan is equivilant to a 3.4 GHz Pentium 4 for gaming (at a fraction of the power usage)... but don't rely on me, check out Anandtech or one of the other hardcore tech sites that have tested these chips head to head. The ONLY reason to get a Pentium 4 system is if you do a lot of intense floating point operations... which doesn't apply to most users.
The key to the XPS Gen 2's stellar gaming performance is the 6800go Ultra, the fastest graphics card ever put in a laptop. It's a Dell exclusive... for now (I believe it's being tested in Clevo 900 clones, like those mentioned above, but not in production yet). This graphics solution is so fast that it's being compared to desktop gaming systems because there aren't any laptops that come close (see articles at Anandtech and Tom's Hardware).
The build quality of my machine is excellent. Esthetically it's one of the most attractive and distinctive laptops I've ever seen. The machined metal cover is beautiful... pictures don't do it justice. The LEDs on the front, sides and cover are actually quite fun. they can be any of 16 colors, brightness is adjustable and they can be turned off. Ergonomically, it's a typical laptop with a very nice keyboard and average touchpad (no pointer). It has all the necessary connections including six USB ports (that's gotta be a laptop record), DVI out, firewire, s-video, and a gigabit LAN.
The screen is big, beautiful and glossy with incredibly deep rich colors. It looks stunning when playing games. there is some visible 'sparkle' with plain white or light green backgrounds; if you don't look for it you probably won't notice it, but it drives some people crazy. My screen has no dead or stuck pixels and a tiny amount of light leakage (around 2mm) on the bottom edge; again excellent. I'm very happy with this screen.
Performance is stellar. 3dMark05 of 5132 at 1024x768. Doom3 is smooth at 1600x1200 high quality. It gets warm, but not hot, on the right rear corner where the Ultra is located.
The XPS Gen 2 isn't cheap, but represents a very good value for your gaming dollar. Configuring an Alienware 7700 as close as possible to my system (but with a lower resolution screen and slower video card, using a 3.4 P4 processor), the 7700 came in $400 more AFTER the current $500 off promotion they're having. They also have an amusing comparison to the XPS Gen 2 on their website... see if you can spot all the errors, omissions and untruths! If you are interested in a Clevo clone, look at the Sager 9860... same laptop for less.
There's no such thing as a perfect machine, but for mobile gaming nothing comes close to the XPS Gen 2.