Design and Build Quality
Frankly, this is one of the most portable 16" machines that we've ever seen. We could even envision using this on a coach class airplane seat if push came to shove. We should also point out the beautiful Merlot Red leather strip atop the lid (by the way, the Merlot Red color is a $40 option) is far nicer than the black strip we saw on the 13" version of this machine. That rig's strip was somewhat crinkled, and while at the time we felt it added character, we can definitely say that the "flat strip" on this machine is far nicer to look at.
From top to bottom, side to side, build quality is simply top shelf. The lid is sturdy (if not a touch heavy) and requires a deliberate push in order to recline it or relax it. There is practically no flex whatsoever when pressing on the LCD lid, and while there is a slight amount of flex present when mashing down directly in the center of the keyboard, we were never bothered by any flex while typing normally.
The glossy finish is downright gorgeous at first, but after about a day of use, the gloss had simply turned into a marred mess from all the fingerprints. The palm rest is glossy, the top lid is glossy and the display is glossy. You best carry some sort of soft cloth with you at all times, because you'll be wiping your baby down quite frequently.
The backlit keyboard was nothing short of stunning, and we loved the texture and feel of Dell's keys here. They obviously remind us a lot of the Studio XPS 13 keys that we also liked, and once you've typed on these, you'll probably have a tough time reverting to lower quality keys.
The port selection is somewhat of a mixed bag. On one hand, we greatly appreciate the fact that HDMI, VGA and DisplayPort ports are included. On the other, we can't understand how Dell could ship a 16" gaming rig with just two USB 2.0 ports. Yeah, there's a USB 2.0 / eSATA port as well, but still, that's a little slack for a machine where various input peripherals are very likely to be connected and used at LAN parties and the like. The twin headphone jacks are a nice touch, and the built-in Blu-ray drive goes perfect with the stunning 1080p RGBLED panel (a pricey $175 option over the 1080p WLED screen).