Multitasking Mini – Dell Inspiron XPS M1210

Dell’s ultraportable member of the XPS line up has been available for a while now. If you’ve been holding off buying one because of the recent exploding laptop debacle let me suggest that chances are, it wasn’t Dell’s fault – Honest Guv!. The explosion was allegedly due to faulty Sony Li-ion cells, and hats off to Sony for taking it on the proverbial chin by issuing a press release to that effect. After the resulting PR nightmare, the quality control checks now in place mean that there’s probably never been a better time to buy a Dell laptop.

Moving swiftly on, there are 3 excellent reasons you should give the sleek XPS M1210 a peek – Core 2 Duo. Yes Intel’s next development in dual core processor technology has arrived, and promises to be a 12 percent improvement over Intel’s first core duo mobile processor Yonah. The highest configuration of the Dell M1210 XPS is built around Intel’s T2600, firing at 2.16GHz. This cutting edge processor leverages 2 cores on one chip making multitasking on this mini notebook a dream.

The M1210 metallic chassis can be packed with up to 4GB of Dual Channel 667MHz DDR2 RAM, allowing you to push performance on this ultraportable to the max. However that memory configuration would be mighty costly, so unless your boss is picking up the tab, opt for the 1 or 2GB memory. This XPS laptop is also packed with loads of features, including an integrated optical drive, a 120GB 5400RPM SATA hard drive, a built in 1.3 mega pixel web cam that rotates 180 degrees, and a 12.1 inch WXGA display with a sharp 1280×800 resolution.

Weighing around 2kg this Inspiron is stocky for an ultraportable, but definitely compact enough for all but the most demanding college student, frequent flyer or road warrior. Light as it is, the XPS M1210 is not light on ports, boasting the usual suspects found on bigger laptops including a 5-in-1 removable memory card reader, one express card slot, and 4 USB 2.0 ports.

Build quality is solid. Granted this Dell Inspiron is not in rugged Durabook or Toughbook league, but new RoadReady technology makes the M1210 stand out as one sturdy dude in the ultraportable crowd. Dell are definitely taking note of the public’s penchant for tougher machines. Indeed, in a recent laptop durability study carried out by VeriTest, a Dell D610 performed admirably against competitors in a free fall drop test (14 inches and 29 inches).

Standard battery life is adequate, enough to watch a dvd or two. With the optional 9 cell battery, upwards of 6-7 hours is achievable. Wireless connectivity is covered with a bluetooth option, and an internal Intel PRO/Wireless 3945. Also if you’re always on the road and need access to the web, no need to be shackled to a hotspot. The M1210 is mobile broadband ready with an integrated antenna that can access Verizon’s EV-DO network. The Inspiron XPS M1210 ships with Windows XP Media Center Edition and is ready for Windows Vista when that much heralded OS is finally released.

There are lighter ultraportables on the market, and definitely cheaper ones. But the XPS M1210 with it’s blazing core 2 duo processor, and sturdy build quality offers a lot of versatility. Indeed, this portable XPS laptop is suitable for business, multimedia, and all but the most demanding of games.

Extreme laptop gamers should probably take note of the M1210’s small 12.1 inch screen, and consider that the NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 graphics card with 256MB of dedicated memory, is not the best on the market. Maybe you’d be better off aiming for the M1710, which now ships with a core 2 duo processor, and the GeForce Go 7900 GTX, with a monstrous 512MB of dedicated graphics power.

By Todd Gold – Laptopical