Hardware Overview Evaluation (cont’d)
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Directly atop the keyboard, we have a chrome power button as well as a “Home” button which directs the user to Dell’s website. Between the two buttons are three status LEDs which illustrate when number lock, caps lock, and scroll lock are enabled.

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A unique and interesting feature of the XPS notebook is the inclusion of a small LCD display which can relay a variety of different information back to the use. Made for Dell by Logitech, this display can showcase anything from the current date and time to current CPU and memory utilization. The round black button cycles between modes, whereas the four silver buttons below the screen manipulate the data in whichever mode is currently selected.

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Discretely placed alongside the right edge of the keyboard is a collection of five key status LEDs. Here, the user is presented with the status for power, hard drive activity, battery life, WIFI status, and Bluetooth status.

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The notebook’s touchpad looks standard when the system’s power is off with nothing more than the XPS logo to differentiate it. However, once power is provided the touchpad comes to life with both the logo and two buttons backlit with LEDs.

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With the power enabled, we find that even the speakers at the front of the system receive ample lighting from LEDs. Overall this lighting effect comes across as a subtle, yet distinctive addition rather than an obnoxious lightshow.

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From within the BIOS or using Dell’s Quickset utility within Windows, we can configure each of the four different LED zones. Not only can we manipulate the brightness of the LEDs across 8 different levels, but we can also choose between 16 different color options. As you can see in the image above, we are able to have unique options for each individual zones allowing for some interesting color combinations. However, far and away the most impressive feature of this component is the ability to choose one of four LED “effects”. Using the Quickset utility, you can download plug-ins for iTunes, Windows Media Player, and WinAmp to dynamically link the LED effects to music!

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Removing the battery from the system, we see that Dell has chosen to use a 9-cell Lithium-Ion battery rated for 85WHr to keep the XPS running when an outlet cannot be found.

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Initially, some XPS customers might be fooled into thinking Dell was kind enough to bundle a small ultraportable notebook with their new DTR system. Unfortunately, the small notebook is actually the massive AC power adaptor. A quick peek at the specs for this monster explains why the size is so large. This particular adaptor is rated for an incredible 230W, making it more than up to the task of handling the power-hungry components within the XPS system.

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Nearly as impressive as the hardware within the system itself, Dell has opted to provide an excellent bundle with the XPS notebook. In addition to the standard collection of manuals, installation discs, and documentation we see a nice leather CD case with the XPS branding. Hidden within a small black bag is a set of Creative EP-630 Noise-Isolation Earbuds. Various adaptors and dongles have been provide, along with a DVI to HDMI cable which will be an extremely welcomed item for those trying to connect the system to their TV or home entertainment center.

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