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David Paul Ellenwood
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New Dell XPS M1330 Review

16 August 2008 10:54:52

With my wife lugging a computer to law school and back every day and both of our laptops being better than four years old, we decided it was time to get something new and actually portable while still allowing me the freedom to “develop” on-the-go.  The latter requirement means a fairly high set of specs: I need to be able to handle Adobe’s latest Creative Suite and occasionally Microsoft’s 10-ton gorilla, Visual Studio, not to mention quite a few applications running simultaneously.  The former requirement (portability) meant I was looking for a system that is five pounds or less.  Not an impossible list of needs, but still not your everyday run of the mill requests either.

After quite a bit of review, I settled on a Dell XPS M1330 and haven’t been disappointed one bit.  The system is gorgeous, fully decked out and still weighs in right around 4.8 pounds.  That weight even includes Dell’s massive 9-cell battery which, when fully, charged is giving us well over 4 hours of battery life even with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and active.  Here’s an overview of specific the system specs for those who are interested (or visit Dell for the full specs):

  • Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 (2.5GHz, 800Mhz, 6MB L2 Cache)
  • 4GB DDR2 RAM running at 667MHz
  • 13.3 WXGA LED screen (1280×800 native) with integrated web camera
  • 128MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
  • 160G 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • 85 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • Bluetooth Module (2.0+EDR)
  • Windows Vista Home Premium

I was initially very, very, VERY objected to running Windows Vista.  At all.  Ever. For any reason.  I just wasn’t impressed by what it had to offer.  But I have to admit, my mind has been changed.  After playing with the system long enough to consider myself comfortable with Vista, I actually enjoy it quite a bit.  Whenever I switch back to my primary workstation (XP on a Mac Pro), I feel as though someone has stripped all the refinements out of the OS.  I enjoy the smooth transitions and glossy look of Aero and the integrated Media Center functionality is really slick.  underneath it all, most of what made XP great is still there too, so I’m not loosing anything by the upgrade.

After using the new system for the past few days, I can’t find anything to complain about.  It just works, and works well, period.  I’ll let you know more as I spend more time with it, but I’m guessing I’ll be hard-pressed to find anything worth complaining about.

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