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I bought this laptop 12 months ago as a replacement for my old laptop that was well past it's best. Originally I was very pleased with my choice, I wanted to be able to pay Blu-Rays on it, and the relatively short battery life didn't put me off because 99% of the time it is plugged in. 12 months down the line and I have had a few problems, about 6 months after purchasing it I had a hard drive failure and it had to be replaced (not cheap!). I have had problems with the display since I bought it as well, usually only playing with games so I will give the laptop the benefit of the doubt and put it down to changes in resolution it has to go through when playing various games. Also the disc drive is very unreliable, some days it will work fine and others it is impossible to use, it probably needs to be replaced but it's not something, now, that bothers me too much. On the positive side, 12 months down the line and it still performs pretty quickly and the screen is very nice. Overall I would probably not recommend it at full price because of the various problems I've had with it.
There were several reasons for choosing the Dell XPS L501 as my replacement laptop...I needed a smaller unit to replace my old 'desktop replacement' unit, but didn't want to spend the earth or lose graphics capability so that I could play graphic-hungry online games as well as use it for work and for general surfing. Once I'd chosen the XPS L501 (in my case direct from Dell) for it's specifications, I found the screen to be crystal clear, the keyboard to be well set out and the mouse responsive. It has proved to be a capable unit, although within 12 months the hard drive unfortunately gave up and needed to be replaced, thankfully under warranty. This has proved to be the only downside in thousands of hours of use. Graphics are good and memory can be upgraded to maintain 'future proof' capacity. The HDD is large and the DVD / RW combo unit is capable. You get a limited number of USB connections which I thought to start may restrict me, but with lots of things going 'Wi-fi', the but in wifi connection get round this well. The battery life is acceptable but nothing to shout about, and by now it needs replacing. The software loaded is 'ok' to get you going but you need more to use the system to its full potential. Would I buy another one? Yes I would. Would I recommend it for upper mid user levels? Yes.
This Dell is my second laptop and was bought for me to use in university. Firstly, it is very good looking, the metallic finish gives it a solid feel. The 15.6 inch LCD display has 1080p full HD which makes it crisp when watching movies or browsing the web. The 750 GB hard drive is more than enough to house your pictures, videos and music as well as important documents. The Dell has two JBL stereo speakers and a subwoofer built in which provide decent bass and dynamics when listening to music. There are two headphone jacks, one of which is capable of 5.1 digital output. With two USB ports, an optical drive, a microphone port and an ethernet port the laptop is well equiped for other hardware to be introduced. Included is Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit which is as reliable as Windows can possibly be. At 6lbs this is not the lightest laptop so I would recommend this as a desktop replacement rather than a laptop you can travel around with. The £700-£800 price tag is a lot but you get a lot for it. Battery life can vary depending on what the laptop is doing but on average it lasts around 5 hours between charges. The processor is a Intel Core i5-460M which makes processes quick if you are using the laptop for everyday things; but is not suitable if you are using this for activities which require more power. I have only had good experiences with this laptop and it has been very reliable.