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* Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dell XPS M1210 Rocks!

A couple of months ago I bought a new laptop, and I love it so much that I want to post a review for anyone searching for information about it. The Dell XPS M1210 has been amazing, and so far I haven't experienced any problems with it. Some of the reasons I bought it:

  • Dell XPS M1210 It's a lightweight laptop, although not an ultralight. My eyes are straining a little on the 12.1" screen, but that's partially due to the fact I'm getting older and the decrease in weight has been heavenly. Even with the added weight of the extended battery I purchased, it is still light enough to carry on the train to work.

  • Despite the small size, it's a powerhouse. A brickhouse. It has a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, along with a screaming 2GB of RAM. This puppy is so powerful that I could run Second Life on it and listen to music in Rhapsody, surf the web, watch Joost, and read email, all at the same time if I wanted to. As someone recently said to me, "It moves as fast as you do!"

  • I tricked out the laptop overall, which might make this an unfair comparison for others, but I highly recommend it. This is the first time I've ever splurged and gotten pretty much everything I wanted. Well, I did give in on the 4GB RAM, but I'm still thrilled. So the hard drive is a very comfortable 160GB big, and I got the 256MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 Turbocache video card. All of this stuff combined makes for a very sweet machine in a very small package.

  • I can watch movies or listen to music without booting up, although the boot up time on this laptop is so much faster than on my old one that I don't even mind doing that. Dell XPS M1210

  • It has an integrated SD card/Memory Stick reader, so I don't have to carry around an adapter for my camera or Treo cards. Very much appreciated.

  • Not that I'll ever need them all, but four USB ports! Plus S-Video out.

  • The full A/V package gave me a DVD burner, not just a reader, so I can burn DVDs on the road now.

  • That extended battery I mentioned gives me 5+ hours of battery life, a whole four more than I was getting with my 3-year old laptop. I'm still getting used to not having to carry my power cord everywhere.

  • Dell XPS M1210 The keyboard has all of the keys in the right places. For example, I hate it when the upper-most right key is not the delete key, or when the control key is not the lower-most left key. It throws off all of my keyboard routines, which makes me less efficient. No such problems with this the M1210, and the keys (and wrist rest area) are a good size.

  • The speakers are decent, and they're at the bottom of the screen, not the bottom of the laptop, which makes it easier to hear the audio. They do pretty well, all things considered.

  • There's a little switch I can toggle on the left side of the laptop to see if there is wireless without having to boot up - another nice touch.

  • Like the new Macs, it has a built-in camera for taking pictures and videoconferencing. The Mac camera offers a higher resolution and the images are larger, but my camera rotates so that I can sneakily take pictures of others. I love that, although so far I've been fairly judicious in my use of this feature. So far. :) Dell XPS M1210

  • It doesn't get overly hot, something I was worried about given the performance packed into something this size. It does get warm, just like any laptop, but it doesn't fry eggs like some of the others I've tried.

I'm sure I'm missing things, but those are the pieces that have impressed me so far. I highly recommend this little gem. When I was at the Massachusetts Library Association conference earlier this month, I was holding it out in the hallway when a woman walked by and said, "M1210, right? I love mine!"

I'll also note that it is running Windows Vista, the thought of which really scared me at first. I was sorry I hadn't ordered the laptop sooner when I realized I could no longer order it with XP, but I've been pleasantly surprised. It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, although I don't think I'd be ready to support it in an organizational context yet.

Dell XPS M1210 It's a lot more-Mac like, with widgets built into the desktop and Mac-like windows. I was grinning from ear to ear when I first booted up and saw the RSS icon on the desktop by default. For four years now I've been doing presentations about RSS, describing how it will be built into everything in the future, including operating systems. Now I have my visual proof! I know Macs have done more with RSS in the past, but I believe this is the first time it's been on the desktop by default. Further vindication! :)

The only problem I've really had with Vista is that "quick install" doesn't work for my Treo. Regular install does, though, so this isn't a big deal. Otherwise, it's been pretty smooth sailing, even with Office 2007. I haven't used Word or Excel much, but once I got used to the new Powerpoint, I fell hard. There are some nice, new features in there, as well as better organization of the existing ones. It takes a while to adjust to it, but it's worth it.

So to summarize, in case you can't tell, count me in the "I love mine" camp for the Dell XPS M1210. I hope I'm not jinxing myself by posting all of this (given my past history with digital devices), but if you can afford a tricked out M1210, I can't recommend it enough!

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