Dell Precision M6400 Covet review

Delivering a workstation in a mobile form in no easy task, but the Dell Precision M6400 is a near perfect example of how to do it right.

More remarkable than this, though, is that the Covet is equipped with four DIMM slots where its rivals sport only two. That means adding large amounts of memory will be significantly cheaper, though you'll still need to take out a small mortgage to get right up to the 16GB maximum. Conversely, if the price above gives you palpitations, choosing the standard (non-"Covet") M6400 enables you to downgrade several elements to save money.

But forget about the internals for a moment, cast your eye over the M6400 Covet's fine figure, and you'll fall in love with this machine. The chassis is wrapped in a tight-fitting aluminium jacket finished, in the case of the Covet, in eye-popping blood-orange.

It's an immensely well-constructed chassis too, rigid as a drillmaster's cane and extremely tough: there's absolutely no give, no rattle, no flex anywhere; even the screen, with its metal latches, resisted our ham-fisted attentions.

It isn't the world's lightest laptop at 4.34kg, but if you need to transport this machine from office to office, or the oil rig for that matter, we're confident it will cope.

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Pop open the lid, and you'll find more to adore. The edge-to-edge 17in 1,920 x 1,200 screen, though glossy and prone to reflections under office lights, is in every other way superb. It's an RGB LED panel, and is capable of rendering 100 per cent of the Adobe sRGB colour space - a feature more commonly found on high-end professional monitors. It's bright and clear, with punchy colours and no hint of graininess, and its slight red push was easily adjusted out using Nvidia's control panel. To reduce the bright display's effect on battery life, there's also an ambient light sensor to automatically control brightness.

The keyboard is equally accomplished. Each key has a soft, positive break and at the end of the keystroke, your finger meets a solid, yet slightly cushioned base. It's supremely comfortable to type on. There's room for a number pad on its right hand side, the keys are backlit (this can also be controlled by the ambient light sensor) and set into keyboard's centre is a trackpoint for mousing - an option to the more standard touchpad below.

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