Dell's Inspiron 1720 is a robust system available in seven colours besides black.

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A powerful laptop does not have to be a boring laptop. The Dell Inspiron 1720 is a heavyish 17in notebook, but its multimedia design is top notch.

Superbly crafted for a demanding home office, the Dell Inspiron 1720 has a full-size keyboard with a separate number pad. Our test machine had one 160GB hard drive, as well as a complete contingent of connections - five USB ports, an ExpressCard/54 slot, and a memory card slot. The Dell Inspiron 1720's 4kg weight makes it a less-than-ideal notebook for the road.

When it's time to kick back, the Dell Inspiron 1720's DirectMedia button provides instant access to the full panoply of entertainment options: DVD movies, music, photo slideshows and videos. The Dell Inspiron 1720's stereo sound is good; a Blu-ray Disc drive is an option, albeit a costly one (£330).

Configured with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 processor, 2GB of RAM, and an nVidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics card, the Dell Inspiron 1720 proved an agile workhorse and gaming machine. Its WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 75 puts it in the top 10 percent of current notebooks. The Dell Inspiron 1720 kicked booty in our gaming tests, producing 116 frames per second playing Far Cry at 1,024x768 resolution. Its three-hour, 33-minute battery life isn't great, but above average for this class.

Our review notebook had an espresso-brown lid that we found a little drab, but if you're looking for a notebook with some pizzazz, try the Inspiron 1720 in spring green or flamingo pink, among other hues. Who said work isn't fun?

Dell Inspiron 1720: Specs

  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7300
  • 17in widescreen
  • 4kg
  • DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/-RAM
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7300
  • 17in widescreen
  • 4kg
  • DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/-RAM

OUR VERDICT

The Dell Inspiron 1720 is a splashy laptop that offers excellent entertainment options and great sound, as well as strong performance.

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