Dell XPS M1210 Review with 1.66GHz Core Duo Processor Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (20,919)

Overview and Introduction:

The notebook being reviewed here is a Dell XPS m1210. It is considered an ultraportable with a 12.1″ screen. However, this notebook has created a new class of notebooks due to the power it has behind it via a Core Duo processor and nVidia Go 7400 card in a small size package.



Dell XPS M1210 (view large image)

Specs for the XPS m1210 as configured:

  • Intel Core Duo Processor T2300E (1.66GHz/667MHz FSB)
  • 12 inch Wide-screen WXGA Display with TrueLife
  • 2GB, DDR2, 667MHz 2 Dimm
  • 256MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 TurboCache
  • 60GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem8X DVD+/-RW Drive
  • Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 802.11a/g Mini Card (54Mbps)
  • 85 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
  • Windows XP PRO SP2 w/ install cd

Reasons for Buying:

I always try to keep up to date with the newest technology and notebooks. I recently purchashed an HP dv5000t. Two months after this my work employer purchased us notebooks.  I basically got to pick and build this m1210 system to suit my needs. I decided on this notebook because of the size and amount of power you get.

Where and How Purchased:

We got these m1210 notebooks for the given configuration for about $1,600 each from our business department at Dell Direct, ordered over the phone.

Build & Design:


Dell XPS M1210 (view large image)

The base of the m1210 is very solid.  Everything is easy to access such as the memory, hard drive and battery.  The extended battery sticks out of the back (but not the bottom) about 1-inch.  The screen itself is very flexible if you try flexing it from the top corners. The hinges keep the screen in place and it hardly wobbles if you push on the screen while it’s open.


Top view of M1210 with battery sticking out (view large image)


Underside view of M1210 (view large image)

Screen:


XPS M1210 screen (view large image)

The screen is a 12 inch widescreen WXGA display with TrueLife (glossy finish).  The resolution is 1280 x 800. The overall look of the notebook is sleek and very attractive.  The screen is a nice size, but I think it would be slightly better if it were 13.3″ and given the amount of bezel room around the screen it seems there might be enough from for this.  The screen is image is clean, bright and crisp.  There is no fading or white leaks around the edges of the screen.  The screen came with no dead pixels.

Speakers:

The speakers are as expected for an ultraportable notebook, nothing terribly special. They are very loud however, all you hear is loud treble from them. They are located just under the screen, see pictures below for this. I recommend getting some external speakers or headphones for better audio quality.

Processor and Performance:

The Intel Core Duo Processor T2300E (1.66GHz/667MHz FSB) is just a great chip. I am still impressed with the performance of these low power chips. With 2GB of memory this system hauls.  It loads Windows up in about 36 secs. Now that Dell woke up gave us the fastest memory and hard drives available for notebooks, ultraportables can step up to the big boys. The system loads Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Office with ease. I haven’t had a chance to play any games as this notebook is intended for work. I am sure it’s very similar to my HP dv5000t because it’s basically the same system specs with a little bit more power.

Benchmarks:

Here’s how the Q2010 stacked up in PCMark05 results against other notebooks.  This result considers system performance as a whole (processor, graphics card, hard drive).

Super Pi

Notebook Time
 Dell XPS M1210 (1.66GHz Core Duo / Intel T2300E)  1m 27s
 Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 12s
 Lenovo Z61m (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 16s
 IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 45s
 IBM ThinkPad Z60m (2.0 GHz Pentium M)  1m 36s
 Fujitsu LifeBook N3510 (1.73 GHz Pentium M)  1m 48s
 Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  1m 52s
 Dell Inspiron 600M (1.6 GHz Pentium M)  2m 10s
 HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M)  1m 39s
 Asus V6Va (Pentium M 1.86 GHz)  1m 46s
 Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)  1m 18s


 

3DMark05:

An unremarkable 3DMark05 score, which should make little difference to those who eschew notebook gaming:

Notebook 3DMark 05 Results

 Dell XPS M1210 (1.66GHz Core Duo / Intel T2300E, nVidia Go 7400)

 2,050 3D Marks
HP dv8000t (2.00 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400)  2,005 3D Marks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60 Nvidia GeForce Go7800 GTX)  7,078 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron e1705 (2.0GHz Intel T2500, ATI X1400)  1,791 3D Marks
Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI Radeon Mobility x700 128 MB)  2,530 3D Marks
 Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB)  2,273 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 256MB)  2,090 3D Marks
 Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 256MB)  4,157 3DMarks

 

HD Tune Results


(view large image)


HD Tach Results


(view large image)

Heat and Noise:

The DVD drive vibrates a lot when it’s under heavy read load. It’s not that annoying. Heat level is about what you can expect from a notebook. The bottom, more so towards the back of the notebook is where most of the heat is. It’s going to keep your legs warm if you’re relaxing with it on the sofa watching TV. The fan blows hot air out the left side of the notebook. There is no heat on the palm rest at all. The fan appears to be mostly quiet in use.

Keyboard and Touchpad:


M1210 keyboard and touchpad view (view large image)

The keyboard on this system is great, the keys are “clicky” which is great. The size of the keyboard is great, I can type without a problem on this. In fact, it’s a lot like the HP dv5000t keyboard in regard to size aspect. The keyboard does not flex unless you have a lead weight finger and push on the keys really hard. The touchpad works great, however the mouse buttons are weird. They have a soft push feel to them. I am just not used to it yet but it works great.

Input and Output Ports:

  • IEEE 1394 integrated port
  • 4 USB 2.0 (Universal Serial Bus) compliant 4-pin connectors
  • RJ45 Ethernet port
  • RJ11 Modem port
  • Video: 15-pin monitor connector
  • S-Video: 7-pin mini-DIN connector
  • Component Video and S/PDIF digital audio out
  • 5-in-1 removable memory card reader
  • Audio jacks: Stereo headphones/speakers miniconnector (same as line-out), microphone miniconnector
  • ExpressCard 54


Back side view of M1210 ports (battery in the middle) (view large image)


Right side view of ports on the M1210 (view large image)


Left side view of ports on the M1210 (view large image)

Wireless:

This system has an Intel PRO/Wireless 3945 802.11a/g mini card (54Mbps), it works great, my house is only about 1,000 sq. ft, but it works inside and on the backyard patio as well. Bluetooth and EVDO are available built-in, but I did’t add these options.  There is no infrared port.

Battery:

I always opt for the extended batteries when I buy laptops. This one lasted me 6hrs with the screen dimmed down 2 settings. I am very happy with these numbers. With a little bit more power tweaking I bet I can get closer to 7hrs.

Operating System and Software:

I have Windows XP professional with SP2 on the m1210. All the necessary software CDs were included, even a Dell Windows install CD. All the software that came with the computer was trash, except the MacAfee anti-virus/firewall.

Customer Support:

I have not had to deal with support on this product. However we did order over the phone with our business dell rep, and got a great price!

Conclusion:

This is the best ultraportable notebook to date hands down!


Pros

  • Its small, very fast, and lightweight.
  • It can play games.
  • Keyboard and mouse rock
  • Battery life of 6hrs+
  • Good HD choices size/speed in build process.
  • Fast DDR2 memory.

Cons

  • Lack of good software pre-installed with the system.
  • Price is high.
  • Blue lights on front, maybe they eat battery life!
  • It’s been really hard to find anything bad to say about this notebook.


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