For those of us whose pockets don't bleed money, laptops priced around $1,000 are far more practical, such as the Digital Storm xm15. Of course, you should expect some sacrifices for the lower price. For one, its budget-minded Nvidia GT 540M can't handle most games at the xm15's native res of 1920x1080 with high settings and antialiasing turned up. The xm15 squeaked out 17fps in STALKER: Call of Pripyat, and absolutely tanked in Metro 2033, with a slide show-like 8fps. You'll need to bump down all your in-game resolutions to 1280x720 for decent framerates—which really sucks, especially on an 15.6” screen. And strangely, the xm15's battery taps out in just under an hour for gaming (compared to the typical 1.5 hours from similar laptops).
That said, the xm15's chassis is light and compact, as is its power brick; you'll have no trouble packing it all away in a shoulder bag or backpack. The glossy, graphite-colored lid is gorgeous, although it tends to collect fingerprints. The brushed aluminum on the keyboard tray is wonderful to rest your palms on, and the shallow keyboard is just the right amount of springy when typing. The track pad is smooth as silk, and its buttons depress deep and satisfyingly. For the tragically accident-prone, the xm15 includes a standard three-year limited warranty and lifetime free tech support (and even a 30-day money-back return policy, should your significant other decide that the thousand-buck cost would better be spent on your mortgage). If you crave portability over power, the xm15 is a worthy rig.
SPEC ◆ Price $1,050 ◆ CPU Core i7 2720QM 2.2GHz ◆ RAM 6GB DDR3 1600MHz ◆ GPU Nvidia GT 540M ◆ Storage Seagate 500GB 7200RPM ◆ OS Win 7 Home Premium 64 ◆ Link www.digitalstormonline.com ◆ Category Mid