Awards

  • Recommended by TR

Summary

Our Score

9/10

User Score

Review Price free/subscription

Getting a bit more technical, Dell provides a plethora of options in keeping with the XPS brand that's reserved for "performance" products. Our sample unit came with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, which clocks in at 2.00GHz and features 4MB L2 cache and an 800MHZ Front Side Bus. Alternative options, in order of speed and expense, include the T5250 (1.5GHz), T7100 (1.8GHz), T7250 (2.0GHz) and T7500 (2.2GHz).

Of all these options, we'd say the T7250 is worth a look if you're after the best balance between performance and value. It features the same clock speed as the perfectly able T7300, but has half the amount of L2 cache and costs a good deal less. Indeed, it seems as though Dell and/or Intel are trying to phase out the T7300 since, if you spec it, you pay the same price as you would for the faster T7500. Because of this the price we're quoting in this review uses the T7250, since it's a more realistic option and the performance will be near to that of our system which uses the T7300.

This is supported by the obligatory 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 RAM, with graphics processing provided by an nVidia 8400M GS with 128MB of dedicated video memory. This particular choice of GPU is always a source of frustration because it's potentially more power demanding than Intel's X3100 solution, but it isn't powerful enough to be a truly compelling gaming option. For sure, it's significantly better than integrated options and will give you more gaming headroom, but that doesn't change the fact that it isn't and never will be a genuine gaming option.

Dell does allow for a model without an 8400M GS but, due to the vagaries of Dell's configuration system, you'll actually pay more for a system that's identical but for the lack of discrete graphics. Whichever way you look at it, Dell has probably missed a trick by not adding a switching capability as per the Sony SZ or upcoming Asus U3.

Our sample unit came with a 160GB 5400rpm SATA drive, which is ample for most peoples' needs. Options run up to a 250GB 5400rpm drive, while you can also specify faster 7200rpm drives in 160GB and 200GB capacities. Optical storage is fixed and cannot be configured, with all systems coming with the same 8x DVD+/-RW slot loading drive.

For network connectivity the M1330 won't disappoint. There's 10/100 Ethernet as standard, while Draft-N Wi-Fi is available as an extra on most models. Our sample also came equipped with embedded HSDPA, making this a genuinely mobile machine. Bluetooth 2.0 EDR is also available, with our sample unit coming with a set of Dell's surprisingly decent Bluetooth headphones.

In addition to all these features our system also shipped with some extra features, including fingerprint reader and a nylon carry case. These are quite useful and smart features respectively, but they do add approximately £70 to the overall price of the machine. Moreover, currently Dell is quoting a seven week delay for any system equipped with a Fingerprint reader, so it's probably worth avoiding unless you absolutely must have one.

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