Dell’s XPS M1330 is the cheapest luxury laptop on test by quite a distance. At $1499 for our test configuration, it’s almost $500 less than the Toshiba Satellite P300, and yet it still feels more luxurious than many of the other laptops in this group.
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 1280 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.
Price Check: Check out the latest prices for the Dell XPS M1330 at www.dell.com.au
A superb small laptop that offers plenty of features, power and value for money
• Dell: www.s2d6.com
• Price: $1499 • CPU model/brand: Intel Core 2 Duo • CPU speed: 2.1Ghz • Memory capacity: 2GB • Hard drive capacity: 160GB • Internal optical drive: Yes • Optical drive type: DVD writer • Graphics type: Dedicated • Graphics: Nvidia Geforce 8400M GS • Screen size: 13in • Screen resolution: 1280 x 800 • Weight: 1.9kg • Dimensions WDH: 318 x 242 x 35 • Battery type (cells): 5100Mha • Ethernet: Yes • Wi-Fi: Yes • Bluetooth ports: Yes • USB ports: Yes • Speakers: Yes • Memory card reader: Yes • Operating system: Windows Home Vista Premium • Manufacturer: Dell • Supplier: Dell • Warranty: 1yr C+R