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Dell XPS M1330 or alternative?

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June 11, 2008 9:25:25 AM

This September I start university and so am after a laptop to use whilst there. Because I’ll be carrying it from my house to university and back often I have decided to go for a small 13.3" screen one.

So far the best I have found is the Dell XPS M1330 (http://www1.euro.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/xpsnb_m1330?c=uk&cs=ukdhs1&l=en&s=dhs).

It seems to be the best as a lot of the reviews on the dell site are 4-5 stars, it has the right sized screen, a 1.8 dual core CPU and 4Gb of RAM (I’m paying an extra £50 from the base model to get this as it has vista...a ram killer!). I’m not too fussed about graphics as I have a £1000+ gaming machine at home (my sig I think) to game on. The Dell is also perfect in that I can get a 9 cell battery for it (but not from Dell themselves, £150 for something I can get elsewhere for £70!) and have the 4 cell as a spare. All in all with the extra RAM and battery it will cost a little over £700. This reviewer also loves it (http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=3826)

Are there any alternatives that cost about the same, are as small and have an equally good battery life? I’ve found similarly priced and spec'ed ones but the battery life is always a bit of a grey area, unlike the Dells which have been tested all over the net!

Thanks
a c 244 D Laptop
June 11, 2008 1:59:07 PM

I think DELL XPS M1330 is a very good option @ that range, small,sleek and powerful are 3 words to describe it :) 

However if u want to game, then LG P300 is a good option too, it has a 8600GS in it
http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=4296
June 11, 2008 2:57:48 PM

That P300 looks awesome for the size! However the price made me cry a little :(  (£1200 roughly).
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June 11, 2008 2:58:48 PM

Assuming you aren't going for the LED display. . .

HP dv2700t has similar specs (without a LED display option, and a 14.1 instead of 13.3), and doesn't last quite as long on battery (3 hours or so with the standard battery. Twice that with the extended), but is is about half the price.

In the upper tier of that price range sites the Lenovo IdeaPad U110-- VERY portable. . . similar battery life, more with the second battery.


A MacBook Pro is well upwards of that price range, albeit a 15 inch screen, and still quite portable (and you could game on it if you had to), battery life is dependant on which battery you get and what you do with it while its running (2.2 to 5 hours). . .

If you want something really protable, which won't leave you completely broke, the MSI WIND should be widly available very soon (Amazon is taking pre-orders for US, don't know about UK).

Other than that the defacto standard in my book, of portable, rugged, dont-care-about-gaming, are the ThinkPad X series (Especially x30 or later)
June 11, 2008 3:01:55 PM

Nice one dwellman, ill check those out now, im avoiding macbooks as they are expensive (yet good, i know)!

Update: Oh, the HP and Lenovo U110 seem to be comparable to hens teeth...the HP is currently unavailable off their site and i cant find it anywhere else and the U110 isnt even on the lenovo site!

Also, whilst that MSI WIND is very cheap and small (EEE PC rival!), it is probably too small as a 12-13" screen will be ok for working on whilst im away from my desktop (22" all the way!)

Those ThinkPads look good though, but sadly cost too much!

So far the Dell is winning on value for money, size, battery life and availability.
June 11, 2008 3:36:09 PM

Ok, ive found the most serious competator so far for the Dell, the HP TX2130, it has a slightly faster CPU, only 2GB of RAM but it has a Geforce graphics card not an intel gma. It also has a touchscreen which you can turn into a tablet PC (which looks quite handy), it seems to come with the bigger 6-cell battery included in the price of just under £700.

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/martprd/product/seo/018396#pro...

PCWorld are the best place to buy from what ive found, pretty much the cheapest, i can reserve and collect from the store about 10 minutes from my house and in the specs they list it as having the 6-cell battery which on the 2000 series gave 5 hours (so i presume a little less for this one as its more powerful).

Sadly i couldnt find a review, but the tx2000 was apparently really good...so im hoping that it can only have improved!
June 11, 2008 3:55:39 PM

It's also known as the dv2130tx, but I could find much on it either.
June 11, 2008 3:56:41 PM

Oh, thanks for looking! I might get my bro to give me a lift to PCworld so i can check it out! It looks like its between the M1330 and the TX2130!
a c 244 D Laptop
June 11, 2008 4:19:34 PM

Well TX2130 is a good laptop but its Touchscreen and has a intregrated GPU which is good for general use and very light gaming
June 11, 2008 4:23:16 PM

The Dell also has an integrated GPU with shared graphics memory, the dedicated GeForce costs a bit extra and as i have a Radeon HD3870X2 in my desktop with a quad core im not too bothered about gaming on the laptop!

The main differences between the laptops are that the Dell has a slightly bigger screen and is probably thinner, whilst the HP is thicker with a smaller screen but it is a touch screen so i can use it to draw on and as a tablet PC...

Battery lives seem fairly similar and as for power both have integrated GPUs, the HP has a slightly faster CPU but the Dell has more RAM!

The only thing that's definately going to swing it one way or the other is if one has something majorly wrong with it...i recon ill go to PC world and check em both out.
a c 244 D Laptop
June 11, 2008 6:04:19 PM

I think u mean HD 3870X2 in your desktop right ? :D 

Well if u have that kind of rig then i would go with the Tablet PC model because using your Fingers and pen is more easier than only keyboard and mouse but if u dont need TouchScreen then go for XPS M1330
June 11, 2008 6:13:18 PM

lol, yeah, thats it! I forgot as its been a while since i had to stop bragging about it as everyone knew....

I really do like that tablet, tho im still a little concerned about the battery life when compared to the Dell...but then a folding touch screen type laptop/tablet is way cooler (if a little harder to say!).
June 12, 2008 8:18:02 PM

Well, i went to PC World today and checked out the two laptops. Both look very nice (and on a side note, the guy i spoke to was excellent!), whilst the M1330 is more 'executive' styled the TX is more funky (but has what they call an 'echo' pattern...looks a little flowery to me!).

It also seems like it could be really handy when in tablet mode and is, in m opinion, cooler and more of a head turner than the Dell (as Dell are...well...common).

At the minute, because i am a self confessed gadget nut, the feature-full HP is winning!
June 14, 2008 5:50:59 PM

I got the HP this morning and am loving it! I'm writing this on the touch screen now! Its actually really easy, the recognition software is amazing!
a c 244 D Laptop
June 15, 2008 8:11:36 AM

Glad to hear it :) 
Enjoy it :) 
July 6, 2008 8:11:35 PM

Hi Guys,
Hope your still checking this thread.

I'm also looking at the HP TX2130.

Now you've got one and used it would you recommend it?
It has all tthe processing power I need (if a little low on the graphics).
I would be using the PC primarily as a lifestyle laptop (Surfing, on-line poker, music, watching DVDs etc) but would also use it for work (design work - CAD and Video/ photo manipulation).

I spend a reasonable amount of time in Hospital due to a long term healh condition. Being light weight, cool running and quite are all nice features.

What battery life are you getting? Reviews range from sub 2hrs +5hrs :ouch: 

As long as I can watch a whole feature film on one charge that would be great. (say 160min).

I've also read the there is audio distortion from he in built speakers. Do you experience this and does it go away with headphones?

I was hoping to use bluetooth headset (stereo A2DP) do you know if this works?

Thanks for any help you can give :wahoo: 
a b D Laptop
July 6, 2008 11:24:01 PM

I don't own the notebook, but i can answer a few questions:

I'd say on any modern notebook that does not have a gaming-class dedicated video chipset, you're good for at least 2 hours on battery. I get 2 hours with a 17" screen and an 8800m GTX.

All laptops have distorted speakers, tough luck. Speakers aren't meant to be packed into tight spaces, they have to have air behind them - something laptops don't have room for. Sorry. Headphones should take it away, but you'll be disappointed in the sound unless you use GOOD headphones, not logitech or bose crap.

Any bluetooth headset will work with any bluetooth adapter.
July 6, 2008 11:57:28 PM

Thanks for the info.

I wasn't clear about the distortion, I was referring to 'static' or electrical interfance rather then just poor sound quality.

2hr battery life is a little shy of what I'm looking for. I'm guessing playing DVDs is a reasonably power hungry past time as the screen has to remain on bright settings with the DVD constantly running and the processor crunching the vdeo stream.
a b D Laptop
July 7, 2008 12:50:30 AM

Even my monster notebook can beat through a full length movie on batteries. The screen brightness doesn't need to be at full.
July 7, 2008 8:07:07 AM

Well, ive owned it for a while now so ill tell you all i can think!

Processing power is fine for doing all of what you want, and making it even better for DVDs is that it comes with a little remote which fits in the express card slot! So you can control DVDs and videos via that remote.

CAD and the like may stress it a little as its not that powerful, but i use Photoshop CS3 perfectly fine!

As for battery life, it comes with two! A small 4 Cell and a larger 8 Cell which i can get easily over 3 hours off, especially with the screen brightness low (still totally fine to watch) and wifi off (not needed if you are watching a film). I dont really use the 4 Cell but that will give maybe up to 2 hours and is great for a backup and also lies totally flat when in the laptop unlike the 8 Cell which raises the back a bit (makes it easier to type though). To be honest ive not yet tried using the laptop as power savingly as i can on the large battery as the charger is always at hand.

I also havent noticed any audio distortion from the speakers which are very good quality. They actually arent even HP speakers, they use Altec Lansing ones which are apparently a better make...

Finally, the laptop has inbuilt bluetooth which works excellently with my phone so i see no reason why a bluetooth headset wouldnt work.

I would highly recommend the laptop and was very nicely surprised with the extra battery it came with (i thought it only came with the 4 Cell), the remote which goes in the side and the bluetooth capability!

Any more questions just ask here or on msn (haydock2004@hotmail.com).
July 7, 2008 10:22:47 PM

Thanks. There is nothing like hearing a real users experience.
I am surprised it comes with the 2 batteries (HP marketing are missing a sales point).
At the moment I use a q6600 based desktop which i do most of my work on but in the past 4 years I have spent most of my time in hospital. During this time I have used my wifes HP nc6320. It is quite good but produces lots of heat and the fan is also noisey with no DVD W facility or webcam. It does have a 15.4 4:3 screen tho.
The Tx is the very top end of my budget and not sure if the pen interface is worth it. I tried at Tesco's and was impressed that even leaning through the display case and writing at an angle it recognised all my words.
A couple of questions that I would like answered are
1. Is the small screen ok to work with long term
2. How noisey is it
3. How much heat does it through out and where (I tried on laptop with a front mounted fan thus blowing hot air directly at the user - nice)
4. The bluetooth headset I'd like to use is a stereo streaming headset (A2DP). It connects to 2 devices at once letting me use the pc and answer phone calls. It would be good to see if this protocol is supported.
5. Is the pen interface worth the extra or is it just a gimmick
6. what input device to you use, I was going for a small bluetooth mouse. I find the touch pads are too sensative to play poker causing me to make calls I didn't intend.
7 lastly, is the battery hot swappable and are there larger capacity batteries available.

Thanks very much for you help. Below is a list of software i use.
Photoshop
Avid HD Pro
Pro Engineer
AutoCad
Office 2003
& looking for a good sketch package - maybe coral draw
July 8, 2008 8:49:51 AM

Well, firstly, i use photoshop and office 2007 from your list and can verify they work excellently, especially photoshop with the touch screen.

Now for the questions:
1. Ive had no problems with the screen when using it off my lap, even on 50% brightness its fine. The only thing to note is its slightly grainy but thats the touch film on it.

2. The fan is usually very quiet, only hitting full speed for short bursts and even then its not bad, just a wirring noise. At the minute the noise of just my typing is pretty much drowning out the fan.

3. The fan is in the back corner so with the 8 cell battery it is raised off the ground allowing better cooling. After an hour of so of use the bottom gets quite warm if on your lap but its nothing compared to a high powered mac book which actually cooks your legs!

4. Ill check about the bluetooth on it in a bit, ive got to go out for 30 mins or so in 15.

5. I thought the pen would be cool just when i wasnt using the keyboard and touch pad but i use it most of the time! Its so much easier than the touch pad and the handwriting recognition software is amazing, it reads my writing even when my brother cant!

6. As i said, i use the pen instead of the pad. When its hovering over the screen a dot appears showing you where it is and this deactivates the rest of the screen so resting your hand on it has no effect when hand writing.

7. Not sure about this, i imagine is might be as long as you plug it in temporarily whilst you do it.

Update: 4. Ive looked at the bluetooth and i cant find many details on it, the data sheet for the laptop (http://h20195.www2.hp.com/PDF/c01405283.pdf) just says Bluetooth. If you know of a way for me to test if its capable for what you want say and ill give it a go.
August 26, 2008 10:57:28 PM

I bought a TX2130 from Tesco.
I was surprised how much trial software came with it.
Given its amazing spec I was disappointed on how slow it appeared to function. After a few mails to HP I reloaded the system from the recovery disc, removed unwanted s/w, re partioned disc so swap file was on its own partition. This increased the speed a bit but still quite slow.
I checked the system with Sandra and found that the system was running really slow (cpu@780Mhz, mem@2.7gb/s, wifi @1.8Mp/s). This was on battery power. The results on mains power were more like it (cpu @2ghz, mem 4.75gb/s wifi 2.71Mb/s) but the fan was flat out constantly the psu got very hot & the air duct burnt my leg. These setting can be changed through the power settings.

The small battery was unable to play a DVD film all the way through, the larger battery took ages to charge whilst in use. I couldn't see the screen outside due to the reflection. The speaker were very quite.

The tablet function was exceptional though.

I've borrowed a friends compaq 1.67ghz. It runs cooler, quiter, faster/longer on battery and only cost £329 (TX2130 was £699). Returned the TX to Tesco.

i'm still looking for a lifestyle notebook thats light weight.
August 27, 2008 8:54:31 AM

Ive noticed that it can get hot when running whilst on your lap but if you use it on a flat surface its fine (or have it on your lap so you arent blocking the fan vent - the big battery helps as it raises the fan vent off the surface)! Also, ive uninstalled all the software that came with it, using my own instead such as NOD32 virus scanner which is the least demanding out there. Oh, and doing a partial clean boot helps loads too as i can stop all processes running except the virus scanner and the tablet ones on start up which makes a huge difference to the speed.

Ive noticed no problems when running off battery though! The system hasnt been running as drasticaly slow as you claim, it may be a little slower but not by much. I think ill try that trick with the swap file though, did that on my desktop.

Oh, and as for the screen being to reflective to see outside, if you put the screen brightness up a little bit its perfectly manageable and also, the glossy screen is about the most commented upon tihng in any review you could possibly find about it!

On the plus though, if you still want a lightweight notebook maybe you should try the XPS1330 which i was originally looking at, i saw one in pcworld where i got this tablet and they look really nice, are small and very well priced (and brilliant according to all reviews!). One thing to note is, when buying it (use the dell online store) dont get the 9 cell battery off them, they charge about £150 for it with the 1330, where as if you get the 4 cell which it comes with as standard you can get an original dell 9 cell for about £70 elsewhere on the net (saving you a fair bit of money and giving you a spare battery too)! Or, if you dont mind spending more (im talking up to £1k now) get a Toshiba Portege, they are small, lightweight and if you get a big battery for them the battery life is awesome (my uncle's can last up to 10 hours doing word processing and using the net etc.).
!