When Dell unveiled the XPS M2010 laptop concept at CES 2006, few expected it to reach the retail market. The 20-inch laptop was more audacious than anything we'd seen previously and the general consensus was that its enormous size made it too much of a freak to be taken seriously. Kudos to Dell, then, for throwing caution to the wind and bringing it to market. But is this a case of boldness before greatness, or has the world's biggest PC manufacturer got more money than sense?
The XPS M2010 looks like no laptop before it. With the lid closed it resembles a large briefcase complete with a sturdy, leather-bound handle with silver support struts that extend halfway down the lid and base. The grip of the handle has a circular Dell logo at each end, and there's another glowing Dell logo to be found towards the top of the lid. The laptop's industrial-looking graphite colour is certainly different, but some users may prefer a more conventional black finish.
Unlike smaller XPS laptops, the M2010 uses latches to keep the lid shut when not in use. These are situated on either side of the lid. Unfortunately they feel a tad flimsy and we wouldn't be surprised if they begin to fail after extended use. The base of the laptop is smoother than most, including that of the 12-inch XPS M1210. Aside from a latch for removing the battery, a single air vent and a circular subwoofer port, there's little else to be found.
With the screen open, the XPS looks far more stylish. The 20-inch screen is the most imposing we've seen on any laptop, and the fact that the top of the screen sits close to eye level means you won't have to hunch over the laptop. This is great for your posture -- the XPS M2010 felt extremely comfortable to use during long periods. Impressively, the flexible screen hinge means the screen is height and rake adjustable so you can raise, lower and bring it closer to you for optimum comfort.
The base section of the XPS M2010 is home to its power button, which is positioned to the far right-hand side. To the left of this is a Windows Media Center 'home' button, and to the far left a set of indicator lights that show the laptop's Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, hard disk and power status. The M2010 uses the most unusual optical drive we've seen on any laptop. It's a top-loading model with two transparent glass panels that let you see the CD spinning inside the unit.