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Review Dell XPS M1210 Notebook

GAMER'S DARLING. Dell XPS is quasi a synonym for high-performance multimedia notebooks. It is very interesting, that there is also a 12 inch notebook available, that is Dell's XPS M1210 with Core 2 Duo CPU and a Geforce 7400 video card, which is suitable for games.

Dell XPS M1210 Logo

Case

All those you are familiar with Dell's XPS series, will quickly find similarities of this notebook's design to its bigger counterparts. In the contrary to the rather traditional design of the Inspiron series, XPS tries to cause a sensation through its technical looking forms and colors and also through fantastical light games.

Dell XPS M1210's coloring turned out well. The trough is matt black and the support of the hand balls and the bezel of the keyboard are silver. The display is silver at its inner side and has a black metal cover.

The material: XPS M1210's main material is magnesium. The base unit is, besides the cover on the front side, completely out of metal. Furthermore, the display is stiffened by a magnesium cover.

No wonder that the robustness of the notebook profits from the first-class material and the excellent workmanship. One can pick up the M1210 at every edge and corner without problems. Not in the slightest can be observed instability of the case.

Furthermore, the huge height of the notebook contributes on the stability of the notebook. Its net height is 27mm, without display cover and nipples. On the one side this is good for the notebook, but not so nice to look at.

The hinges look rather small compared to the big case. Still, they are sufficient for the thin 12 inch display. The display can be adjusted easily, but is basically still able to keep its position.

Unfortunately, the transport lock was omitted. Additionally, the display is easy to open. Therefore, it is recommended to put the notebook into a separate bag, if it is transported, in order to prevent penetration of foreign bodies.

At the top edge of the display there is a 1.3 Mega pixel web cam, which can be panned to the outside around its longitudinal axis.

Another plus of the Dell XPS M1210 is the - for a notebook of its class - above-average number of available ports and there useful order. The notebook e.g. comes with a total of 4 USB 2.0 ports, even some 15.4 inch notebooks of the multimedia class have less.

Besides the audio ports, which are in the center of the front edge, all ports are at the left and right side near the back or at the backside left and right of the battery pack.

On the left side there are the modem interface, 2 USB 2.0 ports, S-Video out and an Expresscard slot. In the center there is the vent hole of the fan and below it a switch for activation of the WLAN.

At the back side there is the battery pack in the center. The 9 cell version protrudes 2 cm. Left and right of it, there are the power connector, the Kensington lock and on the other side the LAN port.

The DVD drive is on the right side near the front, in front of it there is a 5in1 Cardreader. Next to the optical drive there are a Firewire port, 2 further USB 2.0 ports and a VGA port for connection of an external display.

In total, it comes with a rich equipment, which is placed sensible and user friendly.

 

Interfaces of the left side
Dell XPS M1210 Interfaces
Interfaces of the right side
Dell XPS M1210 Interfaces
Interfaces of the front side
Dell XPS M1210 Interfaces
Interfaces of the back side
Dell XPS M1210 Interfaces

Input Devices

The keyboard looks ordered and clear. The size of the keys is relatively big. Only the F-keys, the Del and the Insert key are only half of their usual size.

The subjective typing feeling is jerky and possibly a little too hard. We had some problems with the space bar, because the bezel of the keyboard is a little too high and so the space bar is difficult to press with flat lying thumbs.

At the front side, there are the keys which control the multimedia functions and the loudness. These are lighted through blue LEDS, which are typical for XPS notebooks. Compared to the XPS M1710, the brightness of the LEDs is rather decent.

Furthermore, there are two further keys above the keyboard besides the On/Off switch. The first is for starting the Media Center Assistant, the second for activation of the web cam. An optimal placement for quick takes.

The M1210's touch pad impressed us positively. It reacts well and allows a precise control of the mouse pointer. Both buttons are especially comfortable in their use, they have a soft and well sensible travel. The noise emissions of the touch pad buttons as well as of the keyboard do not disturb at all.

Touchpad
Dell XPS M1210 Touchpad
Tastatur
Dell XPS M1210 Tastatur

Display

color diagram
Dell XPS M1210 display measurement

Dell's XPS M1210 is equipped with an 12 inch "TrueLife" display, which has a reflecting surface. The maximum resolution is 1280x800 pixels. The measured maximum brightness is good: 162.2 cd/m² in the center of the display. Also very good, the distribution of the brightness is: 88.7%.

The color diagram shows a slight deviation of the red and green curve and a relatively heavy deviation of the blue curve. This leads to warm colors.

149.2
cd/m²
161.7
cd/m²
149.2
cd/m²
148.3
cd/m²
165.2
cd/m²
151.1
cd/m²
146.5
cd/m²
159.0
cd/m²
157.5
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Maximum: 165.2 cd/m²
Average: 154.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Black: 1.4 cd/m²
Contrast: 118:1

The maximum contrast ratio is rather moderate at 118:1. The reason is the high black value of 1.4 cd/m².  The Pixperan test of legibility is of grade 7, this means that the display is, regarding its speed of reaction, slightly above-average.

Operation outdoors
Dell XPS M1210 Outdoors

The reflecting display reflects heavily outdoors, which impairs its usability especially in bright environments. As one can see from the picture, the content of the display stays legible, because of the display's good brightness.

The stability to the vantage point is not more than sufficient. Horizontally as well as vertically, it has only a small area of operation without changes. Horizontally, the contrast diminishes at acuter angles. Vertically,one can observe heavy dimouts or a heavy brightening. Vertically, the display changes nearly to unrecognizable at extreme angles.

Dell XPS M1210 stability to the vantage point
Dell XPS M1210 stability to the vantage point
Dell XPS M1210 stability to the vantage point
Dell XPS M1210 stability to the vantage point
Dell XPS M1210 stability to the vantage point
Dell XPS M1210 stability to the vantage point
Dell XPS M1210 stability to the vantage point
Dell XPS M1210 stability to the vantage point

Performance

Because of the Core 2 Duo CPU and the NVIDIA Geforce 7400 video card, Dell's XPS M1210 wins against nearly all notebooks of the 12 inch subnotebook class.

The PCMark application benchmarks as well as the 3DMark results are excellent. At the time of writing there is nearly no subnotebook with hardware of higher performance available. 

Gamers are especially pleased by the good 3D performance. The XPS M1210 makes it possible to play under way. It is even possible to play current ego-shooter, even if the number of details and the resolution have to be slightly turned down.

According to an American magazine, it is even possible to play Half Life 2 in good quality (notebookreview.com).

 

Furthermore, the low access time of the 120 GB Toshiba hard disk attracted our attention, because it is a standard 5400 revs model.

Further information about the video card can be found here or in our comparison of mobile video cards. Detailed information about the Core 2 Duo T7200 CPU can be found here.

Please also look at our benchmark list of mobile processors or at our benchmark list of mobile video cards, in order to compare this notebook to other configurations.

Benchmarkvergleich 3DMark
Dell XPS M1210 Benchmarkvergleich
Benchmarkvergleich PCMark
3D Mark
3DMark 2001SE14979 points
3DMark 034577 points
3DMark 052096 points
3DMark 06
 
834 points
Help
3DMark 06 in comparison
Sony Vaio VGN-FS485B (min)
 740, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 900
54
   ...
Asus A8JR
 T5500, Mobility Radeon X2300
808
HP Pavilion 11-h000sg
 N3510, HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
814
Dell XPS M1210
 T7200, GeForce Go 7400
834
Dell Inspiron 1545
 T4200, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
841
HP Compaq 2230s
 P7370, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
873
   ...
Clevo Clevo P157SM (max)
 4930MX, GeForce GTX 880M
29955
PC Mark
PCMark 046344 points
PCMark 053973 points
Help
PCMark 05 in comparison
Acer Aspire One 751 (min)
 Z520, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 500
692
   ...
Dell XPS M1330
 T7300, GeForce 8400M GS
3941
Apple MacBook Pro 17"
 T2600, Mobility Radeon X1600
3971
Dell XPS M1210
 T7200, GeForce Go 7400
3973
Toshiba A7
 T2400, Mobility Radeon X1600
3978
HP 620 WT092EA
 T4500, Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
3983
   ...
Fujitsu Celsius H710 WXP11DE (max)
 2820QM, Quadro 1000M
13842
120 GB - 5400 rpm
Transfer Rate Minimum: 18.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 34.5 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 29.6 MB/s
Access Time: 16.2 ms
Burst Rate: 53.2 MB/s
CPU Usage: 4.5 %

Emissions

Noise Emisssions
Dell XPS M1210 Noise Emisssions

Loudness

Despite of its option for good performance the Dell XPS M1210 is of pleasant loudness in idle mode. During office or WLAN operation we measured most of the time 35.2 dB. The fans run all the time, but they do not necessarily disturb. If under full load for a longer duration, a maximum loudness of 41.3 dB is reached in game mode. This is still acceptable. 

The vent hole at the bottom of the notebook is likely to cause problems during mobile operation, because it is easily blocked by soft undergrounds and the notebook might run low on fresh air under these circumstances.

 

Noise Level

Idle 30.7 / 38.5 / 35.2 dB(A)
HDD 31.6 dB(A)
DVD 39.5 / dB(A)
Load / 41.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:     (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The measure maximum surface temperatures are a little higher especially at the bottom side of the notebook, but the are still within an acceptable range. The maximum measured temperature at the bottom side was 41.2°C and the maximum measured temperature at the upper side was 33.7°C.

Upper side

palmwrist: 29.3°C max: 33.7°C avg: 31.6°C

Bottom side

max: 41.2°C avg: 37.1°C

Lautsprecher

Die beiden Lautsprecher befinden sich Links und Rechts unterhalb des Displays und versorgen den Benutzer mit durchaus akzeptablem Sound. Wie bei vielen anderen Geräten trübt aber das Fehlen von Basstönen das Klangerlebnis.

Battery Runtime

The reviewed notebook was equipped with a 9 cell 85 Wh (7600 mAh) lithium ions battery and an integrated charge display. The battery runtime are very good and promises a long mobile operation. We measured a minimum of about 2.5 hours and a maximum of about 5 hours. During WLan operation we measured a battery runtime of 3.5 hours.

Nevertheless, we observed a slight problem with the battery: The release button stuck, and we were unable to remove the battery from the case. Certainly a problem, which needs to be fixed by the Dell service.

Energy demand

Without Load (Idle), min. brightness, without WLAN: 20.3 Watt
+ max. brightness: 25.5 Watt
+ WLAN: 26.3 Watt
Full load (+WLAN, max. brightness): max. 54.8 Watt

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 13min
WiFi Surfing
3h 40min
DVD
3h 25min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 30min

Verdict

Dell XPS M1210
Dell XPS M1210

The review approved, what is to be supposed by the technical data of the notebook. Dell XPS M1210 is a small high-performance notebook, one can even play more demanding games. Nevertheless we want to mention, that there is still a big performance difference between a  GeForce 7400 and a GeForce 7600, which cannot be compensated by small cool XPS details.

 

Still, the notebook could fully convince through its design and workmanship and high-quality materials.

On the one hand the display is bright enough and has an excellent distribution of brightness, but its weak points are the contrast ratio and the very limited vantage points

The noise emissions as well as the surface temperature are acceptable.

 

We were very pleased by the battery runtime of Dell's XPS M1210. With a battery runtime of up to 5 hours, one can easily work without power supply.

Reviewed: Dell XPS M1210
Reviewed: Dell XPS M1210

Specifications

Dell XPS M1210

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel 945PM
:: Memory
1024 MB, DDR2 PC5300 SDRAM, max. 4096MB, 2x512MB
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
12.1 inch 16:10, 1280x800 pixel, WXGA TrueLife TFT Display, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
120 GB - 5400 rpm, 120 GB 5400 rpm Toshiba MK1234GSX: 120GB, 5400rpm
:: Connections
ExpressCard, IEEE1394 Firewire, Mikrofon, Kopfhörer, 4x USB 2.0, S-Video out, VGA-out, Kensington Lock, LAN, Modem
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 32 x 298 x 221
:: Weight
2.3 kg
:: Battery
, 7600 mAh Lithium Ionen Akku (9 Zellen, 85 Wh)
:: Price
1975 Euro
:: Additional features
HDD: 120GB, 5400rpm, Toshiba MK1234GSX, SigmaTel Audio, DVD +/-R (DL) NEC ND-6650A,

 

[+] compare
Dell's XPS M1210...
Dell XPS M1210 view
The temperature emissions are within an acceptable range.
Dell XPS M1210 view
The speakers are alright, but the sound could be richer.
Dell XPS M1210 view
Nevertheless, low noise emissions of the fan.
Dell XPS M1210 view
Excellent Performance: Core 2 Duo CPU with 2.0 GHz and Geforce 7400 video card.
Dell XPS M1210 view
Display: good brightness and distribution of brightness, but weak contrast ratio and stability to the vantage point.
Dell XPS M1210 view
The keyboard is passable.
Dell XPS M1210 view
A nice tool: the integrated 1.3 mega pixel web cam, which can be moved around.
Dell XPS M1210 view
A big plus: M1210's interfaces (4 USB 2.0!)
Dell XPS M1210 view
The hinges are alright for the small display.
Dell XPS M1210 view
...and leads to excellent stability and robustness.
Dell XPS M1210 view
The base-unit is out of magnesium...
Dell XPS M1210 view
...did not leave anything to complain.
Dell XPS M1210 view
Its workmanship...
Dell XPS M1210 view
...is a high-performance 12" subnotebook.
Dell XPS M1210 view
Because of the 7600 mAh 9-cells battery the M1210 has a long battery runtime.
Dell XPS M1210 view

Pro

  • pleasing design
  • robust and compact magnesium case
  • good workmanship
  • number of interfaces and their order
  • bright display with good illumination
  • excellent performance, playable subnotebook
  • acceptable noise emissions
  • excellent battery runtime
  • Contra

  • no transport lock for the display
  • below-average contrast ratio
  • stability to the vantage point of the display
  • Similar notebooks

    • Asus R1F: 13.3" Tablet PC with Core Duo CPU
    • Sony Vaio VGN-C1: Color-full 12" Sub, also available with  7400
    • Toshiba Portege M400: Core Duo Tablet PC
    • Samsung Q30: Small, light, cool design, but expensive
    • Asus U5F: 12" Subnotebook, matt 1400x1050 pixels display
    • Toshiba Liretto U100: Pentium M ULV 1.2Ghz, 7,2" TFT
    • Toshiba Portege R200: Pentium M ULV, Intel GMA 900, 1.3 kg
    • Twinhead Stylebook F10D: 10" TFT, Pentium M ULV 1.1Ghz
    • Apple IBook 12": 12" TFT, G4 processor with 1.0 Ghz
    • Apple Powerbook 12": 12" TFT, G4 processor with 1.5 Ghz
    • DTK Book 12W-223: 12,1" TFT, Pentium M 1.7 Ghz
    • MSI Megabook S270: AMD Turion 64 1.8Ghz, 12,1" TFT
    • MSI Megabook S260: Pentium M 1.6Ghz, 12,1" TFT
    • MSI Megabook S262: S260 successor with Core Duo CPU and GMA 950
    • Apple MacBook 13": 13 Zoll variant of the classic design.
    • Dialogue Flybook A33i: Styled Mini Tablet PC

    Price Comparison

    Ciao Dell XPS M1210

    Bewertung

    Dell XPS M1210
    08/31/2007
    J. Simon Leitner

    Chassis
    92%
    Keyboard
    86%
    Pointing Device
    88%
    Connectivity
    82%
    Weight
    84%
    Battery
    96%
    Display
    84%
    Games Performance
    72%
    Application Performance
    95%
    Temperature
    79%
    Noise
    80%
    Add Points
    95%
    Average
    86%
    87%
    Subnotebook *
    Weighted Average

    > Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Dell XPS M1210
    Author: J. Simon Leitner, 2006-12- 8 (Update: 2013-05- 8)