Home » Dell XPS M1330 Review (Videos & Pics)

Dell XPS M1330 Review (Videos & Pics)

Welcome to my review of the dell xps m1330:

Updates to this review:

External Reviews:

Personal Review:

Specs of my m1330 in this review:

  • Core 2 Duo Santa Rosa T7300 2.0Ghz
  • 2x1GB DDR2-667Mhz
  • 120gb 5400RPM hdd
  • dvd-rw
  • nVidia GeForce 8400m Video
  • LED Backlit screen with VGA webcam
  • 6 cell battery
  • vista home premium
  • 3 year warranty

Thanks to engadget, I read the post about dell starting to ship out the m1330’s this week so I checked my order status and it had ALREADY BEEN DELIVERED!! So I got home and quickly started to unbox it!


Taking everything out, you find the accessories, the laptop itself, and to my surprise, a nice little case! The accessories include an express card remote, the charger (which is only 65w, so charging may take longer than with a normal 90w, like w/my m1210), software (yes, vista reinstall comes with it), and a carrying pouch. The actual case that the laptop comes in is a nice fit, and there is no zipper or any other kind of ‘latching’ mechanism to keep the case closed the ‘lid’ has a magnet in it to keep it closed, not powerful enough to damage anything ‘magnet sensitive’, like the laptop haha — it’s like a laptop sleeve.

left side
right side

Then you have the laptop itself. It’s VERY sleek. The inside is metallic, and has plenty of ports to go around — check the pictures and see for your self.<,/p>


Now, I don’t know if this is supposed to be like this, but the keyboard seems to be a little ‘curved’. The middle is a bit raised (higher) than either side…. I still haven’t decided if this is by design or by …. fault? haha (you can’t tell from the picture — I tried and tried to picture it, it just wouldn’t show!). The webcam (this is the VGA one since the display is LED backlit) sits flush w/the panel. Oh, and the charger is nice and small, which a weird shaped (not circular, but octagonal) and is just as easy to plug in as a normal plug.

fully opened

Now here is the screen open (left), and in the right picture, it shows how far it can open. I miss being able to open the screen a full 180 degrees like the m1210, but I’ll get used to it (besides, how often did I need to open it that far? never!)

first time boot
welcome screen

Here’s the first bootup of the laptop — everything going as you’d expect, dell logo, windows welcome screen….

windows error
blue screen err

but then, as windows was starting up, I got the blue screen error (figures..), windows rebooted, and upon logging back in, had this error message. Now, I’m hoping this is a one time thing, or at least it’s just a vista thing (I plan to put XP on it later)….but we’ll see…..

vista score
unknown chip

Here we can see this laptop gets a 4.0 on the vista scale (good? bad? I dunno!), and look at that! I have an unknown processor! hmpf…. wonder if that has to do w/the blue screen error I had…..who knows!

bluetooth error

so I went to eat some dinner, and came back, and look what sneaked in! a bluetooth error!! this is starting to aggravate me. I REALLY hope this is just vista issues!!!

Okay, now I haven’t got to using it a lot yet, so I will add to this review later after I’ve used it (heat, battery life, speed, etc) — but for now, here are some pictures comparing it to the m1210!

m1210 4.90 lbs
m1330 4.35 lbs

here we’ve got the weights of the m1210 (left) @ 4.9lbs, and the m1330 (right) @ 4.35lbs.

side by side
side shot

Here they are side by side,

stacked overhead
stacked side shot

stacked on top of each other,

overhead compare

and an overhead shot!


Now, like I said, I will be updating this review within the next few days to write more about actually using it — I’ve spent enough time taking these pictures and doing this writeup, I want to actually use it now! I’ll keep ya’ll posted!…


UPDATE 1: so I have found a flaw that I really don’t like — so I am trying to install XP, and I may be using an older xp install cd because it can’t find any hard drives, so I want to eject the CD to put in a newer one (with sp2 slipstreamed), but I can’t! I press the eject button and nothing happens — it appears to be ‘software’ based — how the heck do I get the CD out if I’m not in windows/os!? — to reply to a comment below, the eject button works fine when ever you can actually use the media buttons (in the media direct, or in windows) — it just won’t work, or any of the media buttons, if ur not in an OS that can load the drivers for it :-( — anyone else know differently?

UPDATE 2: ahhh – reinstalled vista and i don’t get the blue screen nor the bluetooth errors anymore :-) — dunno what happened before, but all is working great now

UPDATE 3: after thinking about it all night…. I have reset it back to dell factory settings, packaged it back up, and put it up on ebay — I decided I just simply can’t afford it, especially cause I have a perfectly fine m1210 haha I have decided to sell it because compared to the price of the m1210 that I have, it isn’t worth it (to me) to spend the $400+ more to keep the m1330 over the m1210 I already have. I just don’t need the speed/performance/aesthetic increase — Please feel free to bid/buy! (which also means this is as far as the review will go :-( ) already sold, but I still have it another night to finish the review

UPDATE 4: on second thought, I will do the video review and further usage review tomorrow night tonight (tuesday). Keep a look out for more updates!

UPDATE 5: aight, here’s some videos — first one is a simply showing the laptop and using it some. It shows the boot up sequence, the cd drive noise, comparrisson to the m1210, fan/keyboard noise, media direct, media buttons, etc. The other video (which I still have to upload) will have game play footage of the game F.E.A.R. (w/framerates, cpu temps, etc). (until my webhost converts them to FLV for better quality that youtube, here they are on youtube, haha…)

now after taking all these videos after installing fear, and playing it for about 20 minutes or so, the laptop got a little warm on the palm rests, but not any worse than my m1210. Notebook Hardware Control reported the CPU temp of being 59c (138.2f). However, I didn’t think to see how warm to the touch the bottom of the laptop was…I’ll have to try it again if I have time (I have to ship it off tomorrow before UPS closes!).

the display definitely looks a little sharper and brighter than my m1210 and I like it. The mouse pad and buttons are real nice, all my co-workers mentioned how they liked it as well (kinda weird that was the only thing they seemed to think stood out haha). The weight of the system is evenly distributed so it feels ‘right’ when carrying it.

the laptop over all looks to be significantly bigger than the m1210. while it is quite thinner, it is about an inch wider and longer. In reality, that’s not much of a size difference, but it just seems to look a lot bigger (when compared to the m1210). Now, that doesn’t really bother me, I was just stating my opinion :-). The speakers are on par with what would be expected, nothing great, but they’re fine for a laptop. The webcam (vga w/this led backlit screen) is of the same quality of the m1210, except that it seems to have a little bit faster frame rate.

as I stated earlier, the keyboard definatley has a curve to it, and everyone I have shown it to also noticed it (so it’s not just me!). This kinda upsets me seeing as how my first m1210 had a buldge in the keyboard too and it turned out to be a cable somehow got somewhere it shouldn’t have been and got wedged under the chassis (link to post) — so it just kinda reminds me of that. Now, it seems as though the area between the keyboard and the screen (where the media and power buttons are) is also bowed/curved, so maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be? I’d like to know if anyone else has this issue once they start getting theirs

I also wonder why I seem to be one of the first people to get one, haha. I ordered in on 6/30, and I’m thinking the fact that I got the black casing has a lot to do with it. Other people I know that ordered the same day ordered different colors and sill have theirs in production.

hdmi output — I was really excited to try this out as I have been missing having a computer hooked to my hdtv since I sold my htpc. Well…. I plugged in it, and of course it’s not working well (see video below). Now it could be the TV, the cable (the cheap ~$5 from monoprice.com), or of course the laptop, I just don’t know — anyone have any suggestions?

UPDATE 6:look in the youtube playlist above for the FEAR gameplay footage. I’ll edit the post here, later, to talk more about it — just wanted to let ya’ll know it’s been uploaded for now!

UPDATE 7:here are some of the answers to some of the comments below:

  • Battery Life — I did not have a chance to test the battery life (had to ship it out) — sorry ya’ll, can’t comment at all about this
  • Case — I did not order the case, nor did I even see the option for it when I was ordering it (though it may have been there, I did not see it). It was also NOT listed in my order. It’s actually a pretty nice case — simple and does it’s job. Can it fit the laptop w/a 9 cell battery? I don’t know since I had the 6 cell. From other reviews I’ve seen w/the 9 cell, it doesn’t look like it sticks out too much from the bottom, and there was a little room in the case, so I would think it would fit. But keep in mind, I don’t know for sure! – UPDATE: dell now shows "FREE Timbuk2 Messenger Bag with XPS M1330 purchase ($149 Value)!" in their product page for the m1330
  • WWAN Card — Also, unfortunately, I had to ship out the laptop before I was able to check on this before I shipped it out. However, dell’s description for the m1330 includes "Optional Built-in Mobile Broadband – Enjoy great coverage and fast, broadband-like speeds", so that would mean that it should have the option for wwan card (w/the antennas).
  • gig-e ethernet (10/100/1000) — again…wasn’t able to test :-
  • Modem — correct, this does not have a modem, but I also don’t see where dell listed this having a modem.
    • Also, I’ll be writing up a pros/cons list when I get a chance, and explain why I decided to sell it and keep the m1210, soon.

    UPDATE 8: so I’ve spoken with some other m1330 owners, and they’re saying that as long as their machine is on, they are able to eject the cd — in other words, they don’t have to be in windows (or an OS) in order to eject a cd — anyone else experiencing this? perhaps it’s a newer firmware?

    101 Responses to “Dell XPS M1330 Review (Videos & Pics)”

    1. caje23 on: 30 July 2007 at 7:24 pm

      congrats on actually receiving the XPS. Now we know it wasn’t a scam :)

      Appreciate the unboxing pics too. Helps ease the pain of still waiting for mine.

      Oh, and that BSOD on first boot up. LOL. I guess this thing really is too good to be true. Thats what we get for being early adopters.

      Enjoy your XPS buddy!

    2. Andrew on: 30 July 2007 at 9:51 pm

      You bought a computer that you didn’t need and couldn’t afford, only to sell it on ebay the day after you got it?

      I hope all that was worth the chance to put some “unboxing” pics on your website.

    3. thomas on: 31 July 2007 at 4:25 am

      how to eject the cd under xp? did you try the software thing in winXP – work center, rightclick on the dvd drive, EJECT?

      this should work for the time dell hasn’t provided a XP software update for the hardware button

    4. thomas on: 31 July 2007 at 4:30 am

      oh now I understand… interesting. good luck.

    5. thomas on: 31 July 2007 at 4:57 am

      now I understand.. good luck.

    6. John on: 31 July 2007 at 5:04 am

      Hi JRin,

      Can you tell us if you notice the heat when you are writing? I saw reviews which said that the brushed aluminum surface of the palm rests did heat up. Is that true? If it is, is it uncomfortable or is it bearable? How about the noise? Thanks.

    7. jrin on: 31 July 2007 at 7:51 am

      no, when I’m logged into windows, or if window is starting up, I can eject the cd fine by using the soft touch button — however, I am in the bios (or the windows setup), the soft touch media buttons do nothing. This is kind of annoying because many times I just want to quick get the cd out so I would boot to bios (w/my m1210) to eject the cd — but can’t w/the m1330!

    8. Johnny on: 31 July 2007 at 8:44 am

      Please test the battery life!

    9. jrin on: 31 July 2007 at 8:58 am

      I will, give me some time haha

    10. Mmmateo on: 31 July 2007 at 10:19 am

      Re: Update 1 – Might not have found the hard drive due to AHCI being turned on in the BIOS which iirc XP is unable to take advantage of. Nice to see that someone actually received their unit, I’m still waiting on mine.

    11. jrin on: 31 July 2007 at 10:26 am

      ah yah, I saw that in the bios and was wondering what that meant — thanks!

    12. Kim on: 31 July 2007 at 11:17 pm

      Hi-I checked out the “dummy” m1330 at my local Dell kiosk today and I,too, noticed the curve of the keyboard. Everyone compared it to the legendary IBM keyboard – NO WAY ! It felt flimsy…very disappointing for an otherwise, superb design.

    13. James on: 1 August 2007 at 3:38 am

      I can’t seem to get your videos to work :(

      Any suggestions?

    14. jrin on: 1 August 2007 at 6:36 am

      ah, yah, I had originally had my review chopped up into many different videos — I re did it and combined it into one — it’s up and working now (tho still only youtube..)

    15. exd on: 1 August 2007 at 8:46 am

      Well , nice review :)

      So, what are pros and cons for each laptop for you ?

    16. Pdeoo on: 1 August 2007 at 8:46 am

      Battery life?

    17. Paul S. on: 1 August 2007 at 10:09 am

      I have not read your entire review (as of 070801-10:11AM) yet, so maybe you’ve covered this already, but if not, please do: I am curious about the Vista “Sleep” function, particularly as it is applied on the m1330 (for which I’ve been waiting for over a month).

      I have been experimenting with a MacBook while waiting for my m1330. There are things I like about it an things I don’t like about it. But one of the things I do find to be a great improvement over my previous (Toshiba Tablet) laptop is that the “sleep” function in OSX works VERY well. I have not had to reboot or restart the machine all week.

      Can the m1330 do that?



    18. jrin on: 1 August 2007 at 10:13 am

      yes, the m1330 can sleep (suspend to ram) — by default, closing the lid or clicking on the power button from the start menu in vista puts the machine to sleep

    19. Suiram on: 1 August 2007 at 11:20 pm


      I want to buy and install a WWAN card aftermarket. It will be very nice if you can tell me if there is a SIM slot under the battery and the two cables attached to the WWAN. You can see them in the link below.



    20. Michiel on: 2 August 2007 at 1:13 pm

      Hi, nice review. Could you please post the video of you playing FEAR?

      I am one of the few which have or will recieve(d) the m1330 this week. Mine has been shipped yesterday.

    21. jrin on: 2 August 2007 at 1:32 pm

      yep, just posted it – enjoy (I will write more about it later, after work)

    22. xoail on: 2 August 2007 at 2:25 pm

      dude, could you tell me about the battery life? I ordered mine with 6 cells but not sure if that will be enough for me.

    23. jrin on: 2 August 2007 at 2:28 pm

      I didn’t have a chance to test the battery life before I had to ship it out — sorry ya’ll :-(

    24. C88 on: 3 August 2007 at 2:29 pm

      Hi everyone,
      I’m buying my first notebook for my first year in college next month and I’m trying to decide bt the M1330 and M1210. The 1330 is about 2000$ with a student discount more or less with advanced features, but the 1210 is dell refurbished 1050$ completely decked out. I suspect half the time my computer will be stationary, but the rest of the time I’ll haul it to class. Is the M1210 a good deal or should I wait for a better price and get the 1330 in a couple months? I’m not a ‘gamer’ but I would like to be able to play FEAR and have it look half-way decent… The 1210 is much cheaper but if you packed the damn thing up and sent to ebay then maybe it’s not worth 1000$ more. Anyway, appreciate any comments. Just trying to make a decision but nothing hastily :(

    25. Tom on: 3 August 2007 at 11:28 pm

      Hey could you possibly find out if the M1330 has gigabit ethernet or not? in the order details on my order it says “430-0493 Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem, for Inspiron 1”
      Its really hard to believe that such a new “high end” laptop wouldnt come with gigabit ethernet…
      Just curious if they messed up on the spec and they forgot to include it or what…

      o yea and i remember reading somewhere on a review that it dosent have a modem… so why would they say it has a modem… it dosent have a modem now or does it?

      Dell sold us a computer and they dont even know what they are putting in it…

    26. Vegard on: 5 August 2007 at 6:05 pm


      I’m wondering if the sleeve can be used if you have a 9-cell battery? Or does it only fit with the 6/4-cell ones?

    27. john on: 6 August 2007 at 1:51 am

      Getting the CD to work in linux is gunna be a bitch, i just know it!

    28. Ricky on: 6 August 2007 at 5:42 pm

      hey dude, my 1330 got delayed!!!! i’ve been waiting so long! i ordered it june 26th, and today is 8-6-07 and the stimated ship date is tomorrow, hopefuly i’ll get it 8-14-07 mas tardar, pero bueno, we’ll see, i think 1330 is a vey cool notebook, specialy because it is so sleek, i want mine!!!!!

    29. Suiram on: 7 August 2007 at 6:15 am

      Hello James!

      There is a chance to get an answer? I’ll be very graceful if you could help me with the problem above (no. 19).

      Thanks a lot!

    30. tjoff on: 7 August 2007 at 7:07 am

      Also wondering about the case and the 9-cell battery.

      But didn’t you order the case?
      If so do all M1330 come with that case, and if so why haven’t any review mentioned it?

    31. jrin on: 7 August 2007 at 8:25 am

      I’ve answered all the questions I could up in update 7

    32. mel on: 7 August 2007 at 9:28 am

      The hdmi port didn’t work? Anyone have more info on this?

    33. jrin on: 7 August 2007 at 9:32 am

      ah, the hdmi problem — forgot to post my video about that — yah, I have no idea why mine wasn’t working. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was my TV or cable, but would like to know if anyone else experienced this problem. (I’ll post more about it later)

    34. Shaun on: 12 August 2007 at 5:23 pm

      Just received my 1330 on Thursday and freaking love it. I also have the 1220 which is great. My 1330 is the “Crimson Red” with SSD, which btw rocks! Vista score gave that a 5.7, and with the SSD the unit is completely quiet. I have the evdo card built in, just like my 1220. Thanks for doing an awesome review I was hoping someone else had a 1220 and could do a comparison. As for XP Pro, I have a really “new” installation disk from Dell that has the SATA drivers installed. I don’t care too much for Vista, however just can’t move back to XP due to lack of drivers from Dell. However, I did install XP Pro just to give that a try. Only issue was with the video, I’ve seen many forums talking about modifying other nvidia drivers to work. However it wasn’t that important for me to mess with. Vista does the job for what I need. Other than those little issues this laptop I must say ROCKS! Way lighter than my 1220, however I have the bigger sized battery for the 1220 and the standard for the 1330. I do have the LED based screen and just went with the 1.5ghz cpu, which Dell no longer sells. This laptop is a great buy – yes a little pricey for some however that price makes it last down the road.

    35. Shaun on: 12 August 2007 at 5:30 pm

      Also, thanks for showing a picture of the bottom, I have a sight curve on the cover marked “M” right by the vents. From your picture it looks you don’t have that. I think my cover just was installed in a “hurry”.

    36. sim on: 13 August 2007 at 11:53 am

      Does LED LCD is really much thinner than CCFL LCD?

    37. William on: 15 August 2007 at 10:54 am

      Ordered my 1330 yesterday with these specs:

      PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T7100 (2MB cache/1.8GHz/800Mhz FSB),
      OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista™ Home Premium Edition,

      SYSTEM COLOUR Tuxedo Black Casing with Microsatin Finish XPS M1330

      LCD AND CAMERA Standard Display with 2.0 Megapixel Webcam edit

      MEMORY 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz

      HARD DRIVE 120GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM

      GRAPHICS CARD Intel® Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 3100

      OPTICAL DRIVE 8X CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW Drive)

      WIRELESS CARD Intel®3945 802.11a/g Mini-card edit

      BLUETOOTH Built-in Bluetooth capability (2.0 EDR) edit
      ONLINE DATA STORAGE Dell DataSafe 2.0 Online, 10GB for 1 Year (included with price

      HARDWARE SERVICES 1 Year Return to Depot Service and Technical Support edit

      BATTERY OPTIONS 56Whr Lithium Ion Battery (6 cell) edit
      SOUND OPTIONS Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy HD Software Edition

      FINGERPRINT READER Biometric Fingerprint Reader

    38. William on: 15 August 2007 at 10:55 am

      I ordered it yesterday and Dell said it will ship on 9/10 if there are no delays. 25 days for a LCD screen and Tuxedo black finish

    39. J03 on: 19 August 2007 at 11:01 pm

      Thanks for this review. Everything sounds great, except for the shipping probs. Sounds like its taking some time for dell to ship these babies out. I orderd mine on 8-17-08 estimated ship date 9-21-08 I went with the black due to backorder. Ive got my fingers crossed.

      (Excellent review. But I think some of you people should actually read the review, I mean dang too many 9cell ?s)

    40. Van on: 20 August 2007 at 10:57 am

      Hi all,
      I got the same “no hard drive…” error when tried to install XP Pro on my M1330 by using one of Dell XP re-install CD but after I set the SATA Operation in the BIOS settings to ATA mode instead of the AHCI default; XP was install fine. Here is my current trouble for XP install; I am not able to locate a proper Video driver for this system. I know that since Dell do not support XP so I went to nVidia and download the compatible driver 8400 GS but when install I got the error message of “The NVIDIA Setup could not locate any drivers that are compatible with your current hardware. Setup will now exit.” If someone got this Video issues resolved it would be to show us how to help me out with this issue.

    41. Sharon on: 20 August 2007 at 6:46 pm

      Is there any significant difference between Led screen and the regular one as i find it really difficult to choose . thanks !

    42. Distrex on: 21 August 2007 at 2:06 am

      I have the M1330 with the LCD and I find the view angels not so great. From different POVs it looks almost washed out. Does anyone have that problem or see it at least being better with a LED?

    43. William on: 27 August 2007 at 11:12 am

      I just got my Dell XPS M1330 a few days ago. With a 6cell battery on Intel GMA X3100 on LCD screen, the battery should last about 4 hours on High performance and 4 hr 45 min on balanced and 4hr 20 min on balanced, i believe with wifi turned on .

    44. j03 on: 29 August 2007 at 8:33 pm

      I just got my 1330 a few days ago. The shipment was ahead. By like a month. Crazy. But ive been using it and it all seems all good. It keeps up. Except on some games. it tends to lag. (And Heat up)
      other than that. I like it

    45. baerb8 on: 31 August 2007 at 11:57 pm

      wow, what a fantastic review. super helpful. any input on other xps models or laptops in gen. …just kidding (well actually i am not as i am in the market for one).
      all kidding aside no joke on the honest and extremely time consuming review (enjoyed the pictures and the comparisons btwn the 2 machines). if you ever get a chance to do more laptop reviewing let me know as this has most certainly helped me make my decision.
      thanks a bunch keep up the phenomenal work
      l8r g8r

    46. Hugo on: 6 September 2007 at 8:56 pm

      hey.. keep up the good job.. im getting one today! :D

    47. hep ! on: 6 September 2007 at 11:14 pm

      hi, i got the same problem, i repartitionated my hard drive with a utility disc, and now it has not os, neither media Direct, i can eject the cd, what can i do?

    48. jrin on: 6 September 2007 at 11:36 pm

      I assume you meant to say you can’t eject the cd? well I’ve heard from other users that they are able to eject the cd when ever the power is on… perhaps you can upgrade the firmware? (or does dell still require you to be in a windows environment to do so?)

    49. krp on: 7 September 2007 at 7:24 am

      Its getting delivered to me on tuesday, can anyone give me clear all steps that i can follow to install XP on it, as you know that most of us wants to work on only xp.

    50. M1330 on: 8 September 2007 at 11:06 am

      hey krp, the xps m1330 cannot run xp on it. this laptop is only compatible with vista….

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