Dell may be one of the top PC brands in the market today, but ask anyone about Dell notebooks and some of the most common replies you'll get will probably be "dull", "bland", "blocky" and "uninspiring". This has nothing to do with specifications or performance, but Dell has been using the same designs generation after generation and with the rise of lifestyle computing products from the likes of Apple, HP, Samsung and Sony, Dell's notebooks really do look archaic in comparison. Even Dell's acquisition of Alienware, a boutique PC brand, early last year did not seem to add any zest into their product line up. Instead, Dell has been experiencing a sluggish year, resulting in HP overtaking them in worldwide PC shipment numbers for the last quarter of 2006. Perhaps this has been a rude awakening for Dell, which has been languishing off their OEM-like approach to the consumer market for too long, but they've finally taken themselves to task with an overhaul of their Inspiron series into a younger, hipper and more attractive range.
However, if there is one notebook that will put a stop to critics, it will be the focus of this review - Dell's new XPS M1330 ultraportable. Combining stellar design and the performance oriented approach of the XPS line, the M1330 may very well be singularly responsible for lifting Dell out of their slump in the notebook market.
Among Dell's notebook products, their XPS lineup represents the performance segment and one of the most noteworthy to date has been the XPS M1210, a 12.1-inch ultraportable that boasted features you would not usually find in such a small notebook such as discreet graphics and integrated optical drive. The M1210 raised and set the bar on the performance that ultraportables are capable of and achieved a sort of cult status among its users. As the successor to the M1210, the new M1330 is the ultraportable re-envisioned - performance, style and form factor combined.