Dell XPS M1330 review

£883
Price when reviewed
Dell’s XPS M1330 is the cheapest luxury laptop on test by quite a distance. At £768 (exc VAT), it’s almost £140 less than the Toshiba Satellite P300, and yet it still feels more luxurious than many of the other laptops in this group.

The svelte form hides more than enough power for coping with work and web surfing, and it will cope easily with more demanding apps, too. A 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 processor, with the help of 2GB of RAM, pushed the M1330 to a score of 1.04 in our 2D benchmarks.

The rest of the spec is as good as you need from a portable, sub-2kg laptop. It has a decent 13in 1,280 x 800 resolution screen. Although the graphics chipset is only a mid-range offering, the M1330’s score of 22fps in our low-detail Crysis test suggests it will cope with less demanding titles.

There’s draft-n wireless and plenty of ports and sockets, too: an HDMI output, FireWire socket and a card reader sit with a trio of USB ports, audio jacks and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

And this spec results in relatively good battery life. The Dell lasted 4hrs 15mins in our light-use test – one of the best performances this month – although this dropped to 1hr 28mins under intensive use.

The chassis is one of the best of the smaller laptops on test. While there’s some flex in the lid, it isn’t as bad as that in the Asus U6 or Fujitsu Siemens, and the rest of the M1330 feels solid, too.

The keyboard and trackpad are also good. Typing is comfortable, and the trackpad is fast and responsive. Our only niggle concerns the mouse buttons, which feel cheap and flimsy.

For such a small laptop, the M1330 also packs in a surprisingly good screen. It’s one of the best small panels we’ve seen in the Labs this month, offering accurate colours and fine detail.

It’s this, coupled with the M1330’s numerous other qualities – power, portability, battery life and build quality – that make the Dell an ideal portable laptop with features that trump many more luxurious models this month. Add in the tempting price, and it’s clear that it’s well worth its Recommended award.

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 318 x 242 x 35mm (WDH)
Weight 1.900kg
Travelling weight 2.3kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo T8100
Motherboard chipset Intel PM965
RAM capacity 3.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 13.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Resolution 1280 x 800
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS
Graphics card RAM 128MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 200GB
Hard disk usable capacity 173GB
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Seagate ST9200420ASG
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive Matshita UJ-857G
Battery capacity 5,100mAh
Replacement battery price ex VAT £125
Replacement battery price inc VAT £144

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch no
Modem no
USB ports (downstream) 3
FireWire ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 3
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset SigmaTel HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 4hr 15min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 38min
Overall application benchmark score 1.04
3D performance (crysis) low settings 22fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium
OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery partition
Software supplied Creative LiveCam, Roxio Creator DE 10.1

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