Dell XPS M1330 review

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.

Dell XPS M1330 review

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.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions318 x 242 x 35mm (WDH)
Travelling weight2.3kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T8100
Motherboard chipsetIntel PM965
RAM capacity3.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size13.0in
Resolution screen horizontal1,280
Resolution screen vertical800
Resolution1280 x 800
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce 8400M GS
Graphics card RAM128MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity173GB
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSeagate ST9200420ASG
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveMatshita UJ-857G
Battery capacity5,100mAh
Replacement battery price ex VAT£125
Replacement battery price inc VAT£144


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
USB ports (downstream)3
FireWire ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
3.5mm audio jacks3
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetSigmaTel HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use4hr 15min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 38min
Overall application benchmark score1.04
3D performance (crysis) low settings22fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedCreative LiveCam, Roxio Creator DE 10.1

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