The recent refresh of Dell’s laptop line, done in part to integrate Intel's new Centrino Duo (Santa Rosa) chipset, has been a bit. One high point is the XPS M1330, which has unseated the Lenovo thinkPad X60 (Vista) as our new Editors' Choice for ultraportables. It's the sum total of everything that's cutting-edge in the ultraportable market today.
Dell has packed a generous feature set into the system’s sleek, crimson-covered chassis. This include a 160GB hard drive, a slot-loading DVD burner, and a 0.3-megapixel webcam. A Media Center remote fits into the ExpressCard slot.The system has a FireWire port and two jacks for sharing headphones.
This ultraportable comes with a 2.0-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300 CPU- a full-voltage processor typically found on mainstream systems - and 2GB of RAM. Thanks to nVidia's GeForce 8400M GS discrete graphics, which support DirectX 10 as well as HDCP, the M1330 achieved good scores on 3DMark 06, Prey, and Company of Heroes, where it easily outperformed the Lenovo ThinkPad X60 (Vista). Its 2D multimedia scores (Photoshop CS2, Windows Media Encoder, Cinebench 9.5) were also exceptional. A 13.3-inch screen provides excellent color contrast, thanks to LED backlighting.
At 3.9 pounds, the M1330's base model (with a four-cell battery) comes in just below the 4-pound limit that defines a tree ultraportable. A nine- cell battery increases the weight to 4.7 pounds; using the larger battery, the M1330 lasted 3 hour 23 minutes when playing a DVD movie. On routine computing tasks, it should last more than 5 hours.
In the M1330, Dell has merged the best from other ultraportables with some brand- new technologies for a breakthrough improvement. It's a bit heavy for its class, especially with a nine- cell battery, but many will find the longer battery life well worth the extra weight.
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