Product Type: Dell laptops
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Adriana Lima of laptops
Dell XPS M1330
Member Name: Doomii
Dell XPS M1330
Date: 10/04/09, updated on 11/04/09 (350 review reads)
Advantages: Sexy, slim, light, powerful
Disadvantages: Fingerprint magnet, heats up, 2 USB ports, major Nvidia graphics card issue
Are you looking to buy a new laptop that is stylish and lightweight, yet packed with powerful specs? Then the Dell XPS M1330 might be what you have been looking for. It is considered as one of the lightest and slimmest laptop weighing at 2.1kg with the 6-cell battery, and comes in several colours (Tuxedo Black, Midnight Blue, and Crimson Red). As with all Dell, it is customisable to your needs and the starting price is at £486, but I would recommend you choosing the £704 option from Dell website which has better specs and is still considerably affordable. For this review, I will be focusing on my highly spec'ed XPS which has:
Tuxedo black colour
Intel Core2Duo T9300 processor
128MB Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS graphics card
320GB (5400rpm) SATA harddrive
13.3"UltraSharp WXGA (1280x800) LED glossy screen with 0.3MP webcam
8x DVD+/-RW slim slot load drive
Wireless 802.11b/g card
6 cell battery
8-in-1 removable memory card reader
The laptop arrived at my doorsteps and when I remove it from the box, I fell in love with it straightaway. The feel and looks of the laptop is just dreamy, with its MicroSatin finish on the surface and sexy body. Once I open the lid, the sexy glossy screen nearly made me faint. The keyboard area is made of durable aluminium which also contributes to the sleekness of the laptop. Before I forget, it also comes with a fingerprint scanner which I find rather useless as it is not very responsive, working only after several tries.
---Software & Accessories---
As mine came with the WLED screen, it is very bright and lively in colours, and it is also thinner in size compared to my friend's normal CCFL display. The XPS came preinstalled and preconfigured with Windows Vista and Dell's usual bloatware, which I removed right away including the McAfee trial as I find them lagging the system. The McAfee itself is an inefficient anti-virus, which I promptly replaced with AVG Free Anti-Virus software. Also included in the box were accessories including a cleaning cloth, Creative EP-30 earphones, a media remote control which can be connected to the express card slot on the laptop, slip case, and the reinstallation CDs.
In terms of the specs itself, I have tried running multiple programs such as Photoshop, Firefox, Windows Live Messenger, Microsoft Word simultaneously and I didn't experience any lag with it, probably due to the 4GB ram. With the 2.5GHz processor, the system was very fast when processing everything. In terms of movie playback with the screen, it was amazing in clarity and I thoroughly enjoy watching my movies on it, but it did require better speakers as the ones inbuilt are just too sharp and flat for my ears. It also has a HDMI output to connect it to a plasma or LCD TV which will allow you to enjoy your movies on a big screen and with the comfort of the provided remote. For games, I have tried running Call of Duty 4 but am unable to run it at maximum settings, most of them only at low or medium for lag free gamely. If you are thinking of playing Crysis, it is also possible on low settings lag free as shown in a few YouTube videos.
When carrying this laptop around, I find that it is very light and small compared to other 13"laptops in the market. From general usage, I counted around 2 and a half hour of battery life. It is also a very quiet machine and I hardly ever hear any noise coming out from it. The 0.3MP webcam is also sufficient when having a video call with my family.
Also apart from Windows Vista, you can directly boot the laptop into Dell's Media Direct, which runs on a native OS and boots very quickly which allows you to almost instantly play your music and videos. It also had word processing software installed in it. The touch sensitive controls on the laptop are also very useful in controlling your media.
---Problems and a very big issue---
However, there are a number of faults with this almost-perfect machine. First of all, there are only two USB slots available which I find insufficient. A pendrive and a mouse is all it takes to use up the slots, leaving no space for charging my media players or connecting my external harddrives. The laptop also somehow attracts fingerprints and dusts easily, but fingerprint marks on the Midnight Blue and Crimson Red versions are not as noticeable as on the Tuxedo Black. The included slot load drive is also quite noisy when ejecting, but once you've inserted the disc, it sits quite silently. On my machine, the SD cards do not flush well in the slot, nor does the remote control, and there is slight difference in gaps on the hinges, but this might differ from other laptops due to manufacturing issues. It also does heat up on your lap after an hour or so of usage.
One very important thing to note regarding this laptop, and the Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS graphic card is that it will fail in about 7-12 months which you will then have to call up Dell XPS service and replace your whole motherboard with your included 1-year warranty. This problem arises due to a faulty dye in Nvidia graphics card, and also the limited cooling due to the placement of parts in the XPS laptop. You can read up on this problem on many websites throughout the internet. I myself have replaced my motherboard once, and the customer service is definitely 5 stars as they replaced it within a couple of days and within an hour of arriving at your home. I will be ready to call customer service once again when the problem arises which is inevitable and the replacements you will be getting will also experience the same thing. This problem might be the one thing to consider very carefully as constantly replacing your motherboard might be frustrating, and can all be avoided by going with another laptop. However, another way out is to choose the integrated Intel graphics card instead.
So to recap the review,
Sexy looking laptop, small, slim and lightweight
Customisable and can be very powerful with high specs
Durable due to its aluminium design
Dell Media Direct
Great battery life for a powerful machine
Bright and lively screen
Great accessories included
Amazing XPS customer service
Slot load drive is loud when ejecting
Manufacturing issues with the hinges and card slots
Can get very hot on your lap
2 USB ports only
Lousy speakers compared to the laptop
Not very responsive fingerprint reader
NVidia dye issue requiring motherboard replacement once it it fails
To summarise this review, although it is very tempting to purchase this sexy and lightweight laptop with a leopard inside, it might be worthwhile to consider any other alternatives, such as the newer XPS Studio line which has no such problem with the graphics card.
Summary: Very sexy and powerful laptop but might be worthwhile to choose another laptop to avoid all future t
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