The Dell XPS 17 L702X is a reasonably smart-looking desktop replacement model that wouldn't look out of place as a workstation, with a large, backlit keyboard with good-sized keys and a numeric keypad to the right. However, it's multimedia content that is the real focus of the XPS, especially 3D content.
The XPS has a 3D capable screen and comes with a single pair of 3D glasses. If you want an extra pair, you'll have to fork out another £90. You can also hook the XPS up to a 3D-capable TV set via its HDMI port and let the nVidia GeForce GT 555M (with no less than 3GB memory) do its work. As impressive as the 3D effect is, though, we're not really sold on the idea for the moment. In the future, when glasses-free 3D is practical and affordable on laptops we might revise that opinion; but for now it has limited appeal.
The graphics card does a decent jobs with games, achieving a framerate of 68fps in the FEAR tests at Maximum quality settings. The screen is also impressive, with a full-HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. Supported by a BD-ROM/DVD±RW combo drive the movie-watching experience offered by the Dell is first class.
It's a strong performer in more everyday tasks too, scoring 126 in the WorldBench 6 test suite. This is largely due to a quad-core Intel Core i7-2630QM processor backed up with 4GB of RAM. The hard drive is a little light at 500GB though you do have the option of adding more or you could utilise the USB 3.0 or eSATA ports for external storage.
There are problems with the XPS, though, that can't be overlooked or remedied by spending more money. For a start, the large touchpad is a little too easy to accidentally knock as you type, meaning your cursor goes walkies at inconvenient moments. It also has noisy fans - the Dell is by far the noisiest of the laptops here - and as hard as the fans seem to be working, the left-hand side of the XPS gets very hot, both underneath and to the side. This actually makes it uncomfortable to use for long periods.