Yessssss, It Finally Arrived: my Dell XPS M1330



I’ve been playing with my new Dell XPS M1330 quite a bit over the past couple of days – after waiting forever for it, it’s great to finally have it in my hands. My first impressions, stream of consciousness style? Here we go…

It’s impressive. Incredibly fast. Great fit and finish. Love the red satin cover, love the aluminum on the inside. Slot load DVD drive is cool – but the eject button doesn’t always work. 802.11n is fast (I’ve connected up to 117 mbps), but seems inconsistent and I’m not seeing transfers speeds as fast as I’d expect. Only two USB ports – pity. No CompactFlash slot (darn). Came pre-loaded with Norton AntiVirus, Google Desktop Search, Google Toolbar, Google Desktop Sidebar – none of which I want, so I’ll have to reformat the whole thing and re-build it from scratch (grumble). Did I mention it’s fast? So damn fast – I installed City of Heroes and the video card (128 MB NVIDIA 8400M GS) handled it without a problem, smooth like butta’. The screen is gorgeous, very bright at max brightness, but so very dull at anything less than about 70% brightness. The 1280 x 800 resolution isn’t bad, but higher would have been better – why not 1440 x 900? If the Dell 14.1″ screen notebooks have an option for 1440 x 900, why not this high-priced beast?

Gonna’ see about getting 4 GB of RAM put in there, I’ll only get access to 3.5 GB, but hey that’s better than 2 GB. Lightroom runs great on this, the CPU is very fast (I got the 2.2 Ghz model). Overall the unit is very quiet, and you can only just barely hear the fan under heavy load. Seems to be some quirks with suspend/resume – it just takes way too long, screen flashes off and on, seems sloppy. My old XP-based Fujitsu upgraded to Vista is faster at suspend/resume, so this is just unacceptable. The fingerprint reader is a neat gimmick, but the software is sloppy and dysfunctional, I don’t know if I’ll use it. So far, I’d give this an 8 out of 10 rating as a laptop. Dell did quite good here, but my expectations were a touch higher for an XPS laptop that’s eight months into Vista’s cycle.