IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Dell Precision M3800 review

Dell packs a beautiful 15in display (3,200 x 1,880) into a 19mm chassis. But is performance and battery life up to scratch?

Ergonomics

Dell has clearly been inspired by Apple for the Precision's backlit keyboard: both laptops have Scrabble-tile units in the middle of the wrist-rest between wide bands of empty space.

The keyboard has a good action, with a solid base alongside responsive, consistent keys. The forgiving action soon saw us up to speed. Dell's smooth, wide trackpad is a match for the Apple equivalent, too, thanks to gesture support and a pair of snappy buttons.

The omission of a numberpad is unusual on a workstation designed for work, but there's no need for such small Return and cursor keys on a laptop of this size.

Options and upgrades

Our sample was priced at 1,865 but this drops to 1,738 if you're willing to forego the ProSupport warranty.

The top spec will set you back 1,974 model and it comes with a spacious 512GB SSD.

An entry-level model with a 1,920 x 1,080 screen, 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard disk is also available priced at 1,506. None of the specifications can be customised.

Each system can be augmented by basic and ProSupport warranties lasting between one and five years priced from 102 to 511. Various security options including anti-theft tagging, data protection and tracing options are available too.

The BIOS can be customised with boot settings and other tweaks for a small fee, and a 157 docking station adds USB ports, extra display outputs and a Gigabit Ethernet socket.

Overall

The Dell excels in key categories of the display, processor and has an ISV-certified discrete GPU. It's all inside a stunning, sturdy chassis which gives Apple's MacBook a run for its money.

However, Apple devices have faster storage, superior battery life, and Intel Iris graphics can even outpace the Nvidia GPU in some tests. The Retina Display might not have as many pixels as the Dell, but it's a brilliant screen in its own right.

The Dell is 150 more expensive than the MacBook Pro, but only the screen justifies this price. The M3800 is the best Windows workstation we've seen for some time, and it's a great buy if you need the best screen possible but the MacBook is a better all-rounder.

Verdict

A brilliant workstation laptops which balances great design with power. However, it could have better battery life and it is expensive.

Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-4702HQ GPU: Nvidia Quadro K1100M with 2GB GDDR5 Memory: 16GB DDR3 Storage: 256GB Lite-On SSD; 500GB hard disk Optical: n/a Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4 Ports: 3 x USB 3, 1 x USB 2, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, SD card reader, 1 x headphone Dimensions: 372 x 254 x 19mm (WxDxH) Weight: 1.88kg

Featured Resources

The 3D skills report

Add 3D skills to your creative toolkits and play a sizeable role in the digital future

Free Download

The increasing need for environmental intelligence solutions

How sustainability has become a major business priority and is continuing to grow in importance

Free Download

2022 State of the multi-cloud report

What are the biggest multi-cloud motivations for decision-makers, and what are the leading challenges

Free Download

Solve global challenges with machine learning

Tackling our word's hardest problems with ML

Free Download

Recommended

Dell snaps up cloud orchestration startup Cloudify
mergers and acquisitions

Dell snaps up cloud orchestration startup Cloudify

27 Jan 2023
Dell unveils 13 new PowerEdge servers to boost data centre performance
Server & storage

Dell unveils 13 new PowerEdge servers to boost data centre performance

17 Jan 2023
The business value of Dell Technologies APEX as-a-Service solutions
Whitepaper

The business value of Dell Technologies APEX as-a-Service solutions

8 Dec 2022
Understanding the economics of in-cloud data protection
Whitepaper

Understanding the economics of in-cloud data protection

8 Dec 2022

Most Popular

What's powering Britain’s fibre broadband boom?
Network & Internet

What's powering Britain’s fibre broadband boom?

3 Feb 2023
Dutch hacker steals data from virtually entire population of Austria
data breaches

Dutch hacker steals data from virtually entire population of Austria

26 Jan 2023
Windows 10 users locked out of devices by unskippable Microsoft 365 advert
bugs

Windows 10 users locked out of devices by unskippable Microsoft 365 advert

3 Feb 2023