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Review: Dell's Precision 7530 Is A Lighter, Faster Mobile Workstation

The CRN Test Center finds massive performance thanks to an Intel Core i9 chip, Nvidia graphics and 32 GB of RAM.

While mobile workstations are known for their horsepower, they're often not especially, well, mobile.

So at the CRN Test Center, we think Dell has pulled off a feat with the Precision 7530. Not only is it a workstation-class notebook with a ton of performance, but it's actually fairly portable.

[Related: 4 Cool New Workstations In Dell's Precision Lineup]

Fairly. It's still pretty heavy compared with the standard 15-inch notebook, but we found that its size and weight make it a legitimate option for using on your lap and toting around from time to time. Specifically, the Precision 7530 weighs 5.6 pounds, a 15 percent improvement from the previous generation. The overall size of the notebook has also been cut down by 14 percent for easier mobile use, Dell said.

Perhaps most impressive of all is that, in tandem with these portability improvements, Dell has also made big strides on performance with the notebook. The Precision 7530 is Dell's first mobile workstation to offer the Intel Core i9 processor, a six-core chip from Intel's eighth generation that is simply a beast on speed. (The 32 GB worth of RAM in our tryout unit doesn't hurt, either.) Perhaps our biggest takeaway after using the Precision 7530 is that we want Core i9. And we want it bad. It's simply the fastest notebook we've tried to date—every action opens and loads almost instantaneously.

We ran a Geekbench 4 benchmark test that revealed a multicore score of 21,980, which puts it up there with some of the fastest 15-inch mobile workstations on the market, such as the HP ZBook 15 G5. The Precision 7530 is also outfitted not just for typical workstation fare such as engineering work, but also for work on virtual reality with its Nvidia Quadro P3200 graphics and generous helping of RAM, according to Dell.

The mobile workstation doesn't skimp on display quality, either, with ultra-sharp 4K resolution for the 15.6-inch display in our tryout unit. FHD and touch-screen configurations are available as well.

The performance and display quality are a hog on battery life, to be sure. Even with a six-cell, 97 WHr battery in our tryout unit, we got just 4.5 hours worth of heavy usage. This isn't the ideal-size machine for plane rides, though, so the battery life is probably going to be just fine for typical use.

Military-standard durability is another major plus, and the carbon-fiber design that the notebook shares with Dell's Latitude line is a nice flourish, too.

The keyboard features deep, comfortable keys for easy typing and there's space for a a numeric keypad as well. We also think Dell did a good with the touchpad, which offered smooth and responsive performance in our tryout.

Other key features touted by Dell for the Precision 7530 include a dual-fan system for improved cooling and a ton of I/O connections (including two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports).

Our tryout model—as configured with the 4K display, Core i9-8950HK, 32 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage—is priced at $3,680. A major investment, certainly—but the Precision 7530 is also a rare species that offers this sort of performance in a (relatively) portable, eye-pleasing package.

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