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. steberg on: 13 September 2007 at 11:17 am

      Sure you can run XP on XPSM1330!!! http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=153941 this will guide you!

    2. D Reese on: 24 September 2007 at 10:26 pm

      We got this computer for our daughter. She’s had it a month. She just called. A few days ago the screen started going funky in size of display, and now, the hinge and top got so hot they started smoking. She shut it off.

      Anyone else having this problem?

    3. radie on: 29 September 2007 at 10:27 am

      Does this laptop have heating issues? like over heating? and how loud is the fan exactly?

    4. radie on: 30 September 2007 at 2:28 am

      And is the M1330 actually “thin” or is that a lie?

    5. keypad on: 4 October 2007 at 10:15 am

      I ordered my M1330 a few days ago and I am stressing I made a mistake. I already have the M1210 and went for the M1330 to improve game performance but some sites don’t rate it highly for games. I’m not expecting a gaming powerhouse like the 1730 but I want to play BioShock and Half-life 2 Episode 2 on it. Have I got the wrong system?

      I can answer a few questions about it as we have one in the office (cnet.co.uk) and I have done some research unfortunately after I already ordered.
      To the person debating on whether to get the White-Led display or the CCFL with the better camera. Get the White-Led. 1) It’s much brighter and therefore less glare. 2) It uses less power so extends your battery life. 3) It’s thinner and also the reason you get a lower res camera because the 2mp one won’t fit.

      Dell quote Batt life on the 9cell at 7hours – which rocks so I got that even though it sticks out a bit.

      There is no modem built-in to the m1330 but Dell will give you an external one for free if you select the option when ordering.

      There is strangely no gigaport just a 10/100 which means it will be faster via wireless N at 300mbpz than cabled 100mbps.

      I’ve seen really mixed Vista scores and 3DMark scores for this system even with similar specs and setups so I think drivers may have a major effect on the performance. When I got my Dell m1210 it hat a vista score of 2.0. Updated the graphics drivers and it went up to 3.4. Since then windows forced a graphics card driver on me which reduced it to 3.3 (uninstalling the update and rolling back drivers didn’t restore it to 3.4 and led to constant reminders to update so I kept the windows updated drivers).

      Anyone else got m1330 vista scores to compare.

    6. ceji on: 8 November 2007 at 9:33 am

      Install Driver and utilities, selext intel matrix storage manager extract to floppy

      F6 then install XP-pro hope you have a supported USB-floppy and then load drivers and then install XP


    7. mtbk on: 21 November 2007 at 12:35 am

      hey so is this laptop worth buying or not because i need a laptop that i can travel with and play games with because right now i have the alienware m9700 and i hate how big it is its to annoying.

    8. William Dowell on: 2 December 2007 at 4:01 pm

      1. I’m in the UK. Ordered on a Wednesday (28th December); Left the factory in Ireland on the Friday (30th)!!. Astonishing suprise given all the hell you guys went through to get your systems.
      2. I almost went for the bigger sister, but the lack of LED screen and 1 month (probably more!) delivery estimate crashed that idea. You’re review was helpful. I will look out for the whine’s I’ve seen discussed too.
      3. One thing that is purplexiing me is on my DELL order form it says “no laptop case”. Now, i dont know whether they mean i havent ORDERED one that yo upay for (and there will still be one), or whether the *free* one isnt coming to me! :-(. Surely they can throw them in (that 150$ “value” is a joke. Have any of you had this “No bag” on your order forms?
      4. I’d be interest to know of sleeve recommendations to buy that actaully fits it well. As it’s not “flat” i’m a bit worried!


    9. Li on: 8 December 2007 at 6:39 am

      my dell form also says there’s no laptop case. my friend din order one but she received one. my xps m1330 left the factory too after i ordered 4 days ago. hoping for the case. :)

    10. James Rintamaki on: 8 December 2007 at 8:10 am

      yah, please let us know if you still get the case anyway!

    11. Serhan Altug on: 10 December 2007 at 1:50 pm

      Hi all,

      I was wondering if we can use the mini CD or DVD’s with M1330’s DVD drive?

    12. Serhan Altug on: 14 December 2007 at 2:57 pm

      Still waiting for answer…

    13. Nov_2007 on: 17 December 2007 at 4:06 pm

      Got mine in 8 days (nov 2007). 2.0Ghz, 2Gig mem, no LED, Intel graphics (Not for gaming). Tolerated Vista for 3 Days (Cancel or allow? I thought was a joke), purchased a separate HD (bigger/faster) for XP (swap if Vista needed, it never is).
      Pro: Super light and small (I travel a lot), Silent, No need to start full OS to watch a movie (Vista only), long battery life (always leave PS at home now).
      Con: Vitsa only (no XP option), 2 USB ports (need 4 at all time, 6 often), No Gigaport Ethernet (that one really hurts), remote not working on XP.

      Note: Installing XP was easy once all drivers (from Dell support) was placed on a CD, and BIOS changed from AHCO to SATA (performance hit unnoticeable since Vista is so slow). I did have a feeling sound was not as good under XP (sounds like some special 3D sound drivers are for Vista only?). I listened to only 3 songs before I switched.

    14. James Rintamaki on: 17 December 2007 at 4:10 pm

      Serhan Altug — I’m not sure about that, I would think no just cause of the slot loading…. anyone else?

    15. Serhan Altug on: 22 December 2007 at 7:44 pm

      Hi again,

      I got M1330. Cool notebook.
      Can play Crysis but can NOT play Call of Duty4.

      The CPU is going crazy and after a few seconds the screen will black and system hangs.
      Only reset will start the notebook again.

      I have updated my graphic and sound drivers.
      I have updated nvidia drivers and software.
      I have updated directX.

      Nothing changed. Can’t play the game.

      Can anyone test it ? What can the problem be ?

    16. James Rintamaki on: 27 December 2007 at 8:33 am

      hmmm, I would think you’ve got hardware issues — have you ran the dell hardware diagnostic?

    17. Serhan Altug on: 28 December 2007 at 4:02 pm

      Yes, i have run the hw diag. But nothing found.
      I Think the error can fixed with the Windows6.0-KB940105 Hotfix.
      But after downloaded the hotfix, i get an error that i can not install it.
      Because only updates provided by Dell can be installed.

      Very stupid stuff !

    18. moira on: 3 January 2008 at 1:43 pm


      thank you for that wonderful review. anyways, i just want to seek for your advice regarding “what laptop to purhcase?” because i am in a rush to buy one. the specs and the price of the dell m1330 is just right for me, however, upon reading your review about it, i am thinking twice already. i hope to hear from you sooner than the time i will purchase the laptop already.

      thank you in anticipation of your response.

      happy 2008


    19. Poulie on: 3 January 2008 at 6:41 pm

      Hi everyone,I just got mine m1330 (intel7550 2.2 ghz 3 m ram and 250hd ) and and seems that bdell fix couple things like aluminum board which was loose (i saw it on youtube ) .I choose 9 cell battery and the only one thing i can point to dell is black matt cover of the display-you can see fingerprints but overall it is a great machine and i’m happy to owned it

    20. Jorge D on: 21 January 2008 at 7:40 pm

      Just ordered mine wont be shipped for a little over a week, but I cant wait ordered the blue one

    21. Hurol on: 22 January 2008 at 4:08 pm

      Hi all,
      ı have a question to all of you and especially Jorge.I am currently in Turkey and i will be in dallas between 1 and 5th of february.how can i buy this xps m1330? can i buy it with credit card and get it from a dell store or something like pickup point? Can there be any problem about shipping date of m1330? Can there be any latency?Did u talk with any sales agent Jorge??? Your opinions are very important.Thanks in advance to all of u

    22. sheryl on: 1 February 2008 at 12:33 pm

      hey…i have the xps m1220..i have tried using hdmi mode on my tv…i got the picture working but did not get the sound to work..and stupid me i accidently happened to delete the hdmi output sound on the playback tab…if anyone have any suggestion on this please help me resolve this problem..thank you everyone

    23. sherly on: 1 February 2008 at 12:34 pm

      sorry its m1330 not m1220

    24. lisa on: 1 February 2008 at 12:38 pm

      i bought the xps m1330, when i hit the power button when its on hibernate mode it does not go to the window, also which is the sleep button and where is it located on the keyboard

    25. Amit on: 2 February 2008 at 4:49 pm

      the F1 button acts as a sleep switch when pressed with the function i.e Fn key.

    26. lisa on: 5 February 2008 at 12:34 am

      my laptop does not wake from sleep or hibernation mode

    27. naveen nimmala on: 2 March 2008 at 1:29 am

      XPS m1330… dvd rom sucks… u cannot use mini dvds… horrible