Put simply, the XPS M1210 is the most powerful and feature-packed 12. 1-inch notebook we’ve seen. This sleek 4. 8-pound system combines a dual-core processor with a 256MB discrete graphics card, plus integrated mobile broadband and a built-in webcam. Throw in Dell’s top-notch service for XPS customers and you have one of the best thin-and-light notebooks of the year, albeit at a steep price of $2,356. Dell’s sexy thin-and-light is the perfect combination of style and power. Pop the black top on this mini Media Center notebook, and you’re greeted with a dazzling gray-and-silver color scheme(Sony Vaio VGN-FZ battery).
Despite its demure (11. 7 x 8. 7 x 1. 2 inches) size, the M1210 offers a well-spaced keyboard that doesn’t leave you feeling cramped when typing. The only thing we don’t like about it is that the Page Up key is too close to the right Shift key. Above the keyboard reside three buttons for Power, Dell MediaDirect (which allows you to access media files without booting into Windows), and the 1. 3-megapixel Logitech QuickCam. A touchpad with a built-in scrollbar sits beneath the keyboard. The front bezel contains a set of illuminated multimedia buttons for volume, play/pause, stop, fast forward, and rewind, which really come in handy while on a flight or when sitting in other cramped quarters. Watching DVDs on the 12. 1-inch TrueLife screen was a pleasure, as the colors were bright and the visuals sharp. The screen maintains a wide viewing angle, so two people can watch a flick on this system at once(Sony VGP-BPS8 battery).
Dual headphone jacks on the front of the M1210 (dell xps m1210 battery) mean two people can listen simultaneously, too. The speakers below the display delivered tinny sound, which was a letdown for a notebook with such strong multimedia features. Connectivity options include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but the M1210’s(Sony VGP-BPL9 battery)main wireless attraction is the integrated Dell Mobile Broadband Card that connects to Verizon’s EV-DO service. (A Cingular HSDPA card should be an option by the time you read this. ) Road warriors who don’t want to concern themselves with tedious hotspot hunting will love this feature, as they can connect to the Web at broadband speeds from anywhere there’s coverage.
We averaged a very good 563 Kbps, which equated to speedy Web surfing. However, we did notice a few dropped connections when commuting from New Jersey to Manhattan. The rotating 1. 3-MP Logitech Quickcam sits atop the screen and works in tandem with an omnidirectional microphone for voice or video chats using the included copy of Skype(Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery ).
The video quality wasn’t as good as an external webcam, but it’s convenient to have on board. Face tracking technology keeps a subject centered in the frame, so you’re free to move about a bit without ruining the shot. The M1210 is a productivity champ, as the 2. 16-GHz Core Duo T2600 processor combined with the 1GB of RAM notched a blistering score of 286 on our MobileMark 2005 benchmark test. As we expected, this machine didn’t hiccup when we ran a virus scan and a DVD simultaneously(Sony VGP-BPL11 battery).
Even with all that power, the M1210’s battery lasted an impressive 4 hours and 29 minutes with Wi-Fi activated. What makes this Dell unique among 12. 1-inch notebooks is that it houses an Nvidia GeForce Go 7400 graphics card with a whopping 256MB of dedicated video memory. The M1210 turned in a 3DMark03 score of 4,456, which is good for a notebook in this weight class. When we ran our F. E. A. R. test, the XPS M1210 delivered 26 fps at 800 x 600 pixels, which is certainly playable (and better than the Sony VAIO SZ’s 23 fps) but less than stellar. Notching up the resolution to 1024 x 768 simply isn’t an option, as the system mustered only 5 fps. In addition to a one-year warranty, the M1210(ACER Travelmate 2300 Battery)comes with Dell’s white-glove XPS service.
The package includes a 15-month subscription to security software and quick access to a dedicated group of XPS-trained support specialists. Offering integrated mobile broadband, a webcam, handy multimedia controls, excellent battery life, and DVD burning in a lightweight, stylish package, the Dell XPS M1210 is a winner on several fronts. Those in search of a strong all-around portable performer with money to burn can’t go wrong with this system. Audio and SpeakersThis is usually the part in a review where I say “get a pair of external speakers”(ACER Aspire 3020 Battery).
But I’m not going to say that. I was astounded at the sound the M1210 provided. In a 12″ notebook you usually figure you’re lucky to get system sounds coming from a speaker on the bottom of the notebook. I played music and watched DVDs on the M1210 and the nicely positioned forward firing 4-ohm speakers generated very good audio quality. I am so impressed that I’ll say, if you’re travelling, save on the bulk and leave the external speakers at home — the loudness and clarity from these built-in speakers is more than adequate(ACER Aspire 3000 Battery).
Bravo!The two headphone jacks is kind of a cool thing too. On a plane or in the back of a car you could fire up a movie and watch it with your fellow passenger each using your own headphones. Wireless CommunicationsDell has pulled out all of the stops in making the XPS M1210 (dell inspiron 9400 battery)wireless capable(ASUS A3000 Battery).
Here’s a quick rundown of the wireless options:Wi-Fi Choices: Intel Pro/Wireless 3945 WiFi 802. 11 a/b/g, Dell Wireless 1390 802. 11g, Dell Wireless 1490 802. 11a/gBluetooth (Dell Wireless 350 BlueTooth internal wireless card)WWAN (Cellular Broadband internet access) Choices: o Dell Wireless 5500 Mobile Broadband 3G HSDPA (Cingular US)o Dell Wireless 5700 Mobile Broadband CDMA EVDO (Verizon Wireless US) The broadband cellular communication addition to the M1210 (dell inspiron 9300 battery)is much welcomed. Dell provides the option of configuring your M1210 with an internal antenna for either EVDO or HSDPA. My review unit M1210 came configured with the Dell Wireless 5700 EVDO modem. Dell puts the cellular antenna in the screen, no ugly antenna sticking out(ASUS Eee PC 900 Battery).
One important consideration, if you choose the web cam AV communications package (about a $100 option), but don’t choose EVDO service at the time of purchase, you can upgrade and add WWAN later since it’s just a mini-PCI card you’d need to plug in. EVDO via Verizon is a real treat, if you have an existing Verizon wireless account it’s $60 a month for unlimited data transfer and if you don’t then the cost is $80 a month. You also have the option of paying $15 for 24 hour access to the Verizon EVDO network(SONY VGP-BPS9 Battery).
If you’re a highly mobile person EVDO can be a real blessing and keep you from fretting about where you’ll find the next hotspot. Speaking of finding wireless hotspots, Dell has included a unique feature called “Wi-Fi Catcher” located on the left side of the notebook. You can use this switch to turn off all wireless radios by putting it in the Off position, but far cooler than that, push it all the way forward and it will blink green as it searches for a Wi-Fi network and if one is present it glows solid green, if none is found it shows orange(SONY VGP-BPS10 Battery).
This Wi-Fi Catcher works whether the notebook is on, off or in standby mode. So there’s no need to boot up and search for wireless networks, just push this button to find out. BatteryInstead of running battery benchmark tests I used a real world battery drain test. At 100% charge I set the screen to half-brightness and pulled the plug on the XPS M1210(Sony VGP-BPS11 battery).
I then performed various tasks such as downloading and installing Half Life 2 and playing it for a bit, surfing the web, downloading and installing 3DMark05, watching 10 minutes of a DVD, edited some photos for this review and also turned off wireless and just let the M1210 (compaq presario v2000 battery) idle for some time. In doing all of this the 9-cell battery ran down to 5% charge and Windows shut the notebook down at 2h 58 mins of usage. Since the M1210 (Dell Inspiron 6400 battery )here is configured with a dedicated graphics card and faster processor and I left wi-fi on, that time isn’t bad. If you had integrated graphics, wi-fi off and set your screen brightness lower you could easily achieve 4. 5 hours. My test was pretty abusive in terms of using demanding programs while on battery power.