Sunday, August 19th, 2007

XPS 1330 Review

I’m not a huge laptop fan, I prefer the power of workstations for getting stuff done. But I needed a nice laptop for an onsite last week in California, so I decided to try out the new 13.3 inch Dell XPS 1330 ultraportable. They were backordered on Dells site, so I picked up a black one on eBay right before my trip. All-in-all the 1330 is a really nice laptop, and served me well both on the flights out and back, and for getting work done in between talks and sessions. Some data points:

On the XPS 1330:

- Slick, nice looking laptop. A lot of positive comments from people who came over to look at it or stopped to take a peak on the plane or in the airport. Everyone seemed to have heard of the 1330 and wanted to take a look. Overall people seemed impressed, and everyone was happy to see Dell rolling out laptops with slicker design. (I’m happy I didn’t have to pay through the nose for it.) The external matt black finish with the chrome emblem and silvery sides were just plain cool to look at. The overall fit and finish was excellent. A number of folks at the onsite had comperable MacBooks which to me looked like cheap plastic toys, while my Dell just oozed class.

- Keyboard and keys have a really nice feel to them and the layout was well thought out. The laptop works well sitting in your lap or on a table or on the floor in front of you.

- The little digital scrollbars built into the edges of the touch pad were a very welcome feature. They provide simple, easy to use smooth scrolling of web pages and documents and worked in every application. I never touched the up/down arrow keys, or the page-up/page-down keys. A really nice feature.

- The screen was bright and easy to see with no noticeable pixilation. I didn’t buy a 1330 with the thinner LED backlit display, and I don’t see why I would need it.

- The hidden slide in DVD player was nice, no slide out trays. The mini IR remote control that fits into the extra expansion slot on the side was a nice touch as well. It’s harder to loose a peripheral like this when it’s stored inside the laptop itself.

- HDMI out instead of DVI out was a smart decision on Dell’s part. DVI plugs are big, ornery, and ugly to look at. HDMI on the other hand is small, simple and easy to hook up.

- No latch on the lid was nice – that’s something I’ve alwayed hated about PC laptops in the past. The hinge just sort of snaps closed like a magnet. A very nice design.

- The simple, lightweight carry case that came with the laptop was nice. No more bulky carry-ons, just a nice looking slip cover you store it in before packing it into a backpack or briefcase is the way to go.

- Overall software and hardware performance was excellent, and exceeded my expectations for a 1.5 GHz dual-core.

On Vista:

- The desktop is, without a doubt, the first operating system Microsoft has ever produced that can be described as elegant. The icons are beautiful, Vista Glass is really cool (you can even customize the tint of the glass if you want), the screen savers are nice, and the desktop wallpapers are nice. Microsoft also finally figured out how to do desktop transitions – the dekstop and login screens don’t jar into place, they fade in and fade out. All-in-all, Vista is just beautiful, and it’s about time. :) As far as apps go, the new Explorer window is well designed, especially the new navigation up top for browsing folders, and the icon previews and sorting. Built-in apps finally all sport a similar theme and the UIs have been revamped. Photo Gallery is particularly exceptional, I’ve been using that a lot, as is Media Player 11.

- Vista’s new wireless connection management is impressive. I’ve complimented Apple in the past on their simplistic handling of wireless connections. Microsoft finally nailed this perfectly in Vista, providing what I’d consider an even better user experience than OSX, with nice visuals to represent public and private networks, instant-on connectivity without user intervention or funny little tray popups, and reliable networking in general. When you flip the lid up, the network is connected and ready to go. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.

- Vista’s memory management is exceptional. On my main workstation, the static link of firefox.exe can use up around 3 GB of RAM. I was really worried that a dual-core 1.5 GHz laptop with 2GB RAM would bog down completely during work like this. This totally did not happen, surfing the net, scrolling pages, even opening up memory heavy apps happened smoothly and everything remained very responsive during builds and links. I’m not sure what Vista is doing under the hood but whatever it is Microsoft nailed it.

- Wake and Sleep functionality when opening and closing the lid was quick and worked perfectly. (once I configured it correctly, see below.) Vista’s hibernate mode is also quick to launch, about 30 seconds once you hit the power button. You rarely have to shutdown the computer – the power button will hibernate the laptop when you want to store it, and coming back out of hibernate puts you right back where you left off. I was able to close the lid during Firefox compiles and on resume, the compile continued from where it left off – one of those wonderful surprise moments where you expect it not to work, but it does. So far the only time I’ve had to reboot the pc was for updates, and honestly I’ve never done it, Windows takes care of that at 3 am.

Nits:

- For some incredibly stupid reason, somebody decided to pre-configured the laptop with something called “Hybrid Sleep” enabled instead of just Sleep. I was really hoping for “instant-on” when opening the laptop cover, but found it took almost a full 30 seconds for the 1330 to startup or shutdown when opening and closing the lid. That really made me mad. I tracked down the cause – the enabled “Hybrid Sleep” option which is basically a worthless combination of Hibernate and Sleep modes. Hibernate writes the entire state out to disk then shuts down completely, and should only be used when the battery is dieing. Sleep on the other hand caches state in RAM and keeps the RAM powered, which should always be used when ample battery juice is available. Hybrid Sleep does both for some reason, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why this would be needed, or why Dell would choose this as the default. You can however disable this through the advanced power options, so that the laptop will act correctly, sleeping and waking in just a few seconds and automatically hibernating from sleep mode when the batteries start to run down. Most users though will probably never figure this out. Dell should fix this ASAP. Other than this odd choice of settings, the system was setup correctly – and I found the overall default power management settings to be perfect.

- I’m not a huge fan of brushed metal, I think it looks “scratchy” and impersonal. Dell used brushed metal on the hand rest area and around the keyboard. I would have preferred the shinny silver surface they used on the edging and hinges, but from the look of it it’s probably more expensive to produce. If the brushed aluminum saved me $100 or so I can live with it, but if it only saved me $20, I’d gladly pay the difference for a nicer material. The seams between the brushed metal surface and the mouse pad aren’t well done either. The metal cover just ends in a ridge. Overall the worst area of the design on this laptop is the mouse pad. They could have made it look “nicer”, more integrated, less punched through. This area was the biggest let down. The graphics for the virtual scroll wheels could also be more elegant.

- Once in a while when waking the laptop from Sleep mode, Vista will reset the resolution of the desktop from a widescreen resolution to something slightly less. I’ve not tracked down the cause but I’m guessing it’s something in Vista, not Dell’s laptop. I’ll bet this will be fixed in time through an update.

- After uninstalling all the the pre-installed Google freeware, Google kept throwing up this annoying “install me!” popup for the Google toolbar which didn’t have a “No Thanks” option, just a Next button. The window was also too big for the laptops screen so I had to drag it around to get at the controls. I finally figured out if you click through using Next, then refuse the EULA, it’ll go away forever. Overall, there wasn’t that much bloatware, Dell kept it to a minimum, just Google junk, and the uninstalls went smoothly.

- In a few places within the control panel Dell tried to make changing options simpler with some built-in management software. The user interface on these applets is incredibly ugly, and clashes horribly with the very clean and easy to navigate Vista control panels. The Dell updates alert software is also not well designed from a grphical design perspective. Dell should consider hiring somebody to do a design makeover, or better yet, just don’t include some of this software, it’s not needed. Vista has the configuration stuff nailed down just fine, and updates should come through Windows Update.

- The built-in webcam was fun to play with for like, 10 seconds. But honestly I’ll probably never use it for anything. If Dell provided the option of not including it and saving me a few bucks in the process, I’d welcome it. (update below)

Updates

Someone emailed me about the Vista Sidebar. Note Google Desktop will be installed by default, and Vista’s Sidebar will be disabled. If you uninstall Google Desktop, you’ll need to turn on Sidebar. Just type ‘sidebar’ in the start menu and you’ll find it. I can give you two reasons for uninstalling Google Desktop – 1) You don’t need it, Vista’s built-in search is outstanding. It’s literally everywhere within the OS, no matter where you look. Even the add/remove programs window has inline search! 2) With Vista Search, there’s no need for Google Search, so keeping Google Desktop around will just use up memory and slow down your new laptop.

Battery life – I really haven’t run into any trouble. I’d say without heavy disk use you’re looking at around 3-4 hours before needing a charge. Charging seems pretty quick.

Webcam – Ok, I’ve been using it. :) It’s actually pretty neat.

Weight – It’s light, you can pick it up with two fingers without any problems. Dell’s site says it’s around 4 pounds / 1.8 kg, that’s a pound less than the comparable Macbook.

Dell Media Direct – I didn’t realize at first this was installed on the 1330, but I’m glad I found it. Media Direct is basically an embedded app that run independent of the operating system, and taps into all the media you have on your system, including whatever you might insert into the slide-in DVD player. The software uses up about 3 GIGs of disk space, and is based, ironically, on an embedded version of Windows XP. Thankfully launching the software doesn’t put you through any of the ugliness of XP’s boot, and boot times are pretty impressive – about 15 seconds once you hit the media button above the keyboard. (There are touch sensitive media player controls in the same area as well.) Once you have Media Direct setup (it has to scan your system for pictures, video, PowerPoint presentations, and the like) you can use it to access all of this without bringing Vista out of hibernate. The software is designed to act more like an appliance rather than a computer, so there are no windows or anything like that, just a simple seamless revolving interface that allows you select the content you want to view. Surprisingly, the aesthetics of the UI are actually quite nice. From what I’ve read, the software is also designed to run at a low power mode, increasing battery life. Parents will probably find this most useful, on trips and the like, when their kids want to watch DVDs or play music and listen to it on headphones. (Which the 1330 comes with.) Overall a pretty slick little piece of software. In the future, I’d like to see Dell migrate this to Vista Sideshow, which I think would work equally well in this space.

Matt black finish – You’ll need wet wipes, and lots of them, to keep the surface clean. It attracts greasy finger prints.

Speaker quality – I think there’s a reason why Dell included a set of headphones (and dual headphone jacks in the front of the base) the built-in speakers are not very good. Very tinny sounding. If you’re going to use this for DVDs or listening to music at home, pick up a pair of external speakers.

Posted by Jim Mathies on August 19th, 2007 | Filed in Technology | 69 Comments »


69 Responses to “XPS 1330 Review”

  1. August 22nd, 2007 at 10:24 am

    Bryce said:

    Thanks for this review! Any feedback on battery life?

    Thanks again!

  2. October 4th, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    frogman said:

    This unit sucks! It is not built very well. It took a month to get it. After using it for a week, it developed multi-colored lines vertically covering a quarter of the screen just left of the center. It made the unit totally unusable. It took two weeks to get a replacement but that had the access screw, on the WWAN card compartment, totally stripped. I couldn’t transfer my card to the new unit. Now after two months without a laptop, I am faced with finding a new one. I think I should just cut my losses and give this one back.

  3. November 1st, 2007 at 12:35 am

    aDak said:

    Superb review! Can you give us the specs of the laptop that you reviewed?

  4. November 29th, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    JB said:

    Good write up. I just received my 1330 and had the issue of the screen resetting to a lower size whenever it came out of sleep mode from opening the lid. Talked to tech and he had me change in the power management options from balance to maximum performance. This has seemed to resolve the issue. Time will tell..

  5. January 6th, 2008 at 10:36 am

    GM said:

    Hi, thanks for the review….

    do you think it is worth the buy or not… i want either this or a black macbook…

  6. January 18th, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Arun said:

    Frogman above has left the same comments about this laptop on at least 4 different websites. Almost exactly the same wording. Real experience or working for competitor?

  7. January 20th, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Jim Mathies said:

    > do you think it is worth the buy or not… i want either this or a black macbook…

    The black macbooks are chinsy, plastic laptops for kids in college. IMHO this is more solid solution for people who have real work to do.

  8. January 20th, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Jim Mathies said:

    “my 1330 and had the issue of the screen resetting to a lower size whenever it came out of sleep mode from opening the lid.”

    FYI – This has stopped happening for me completely. I’m not sure what update or hotfix addressed it, but it seems to have been fixed at some point.

  9. February 4th, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Karen TOmpkins said:

    I bought the 1330 for my son in college. It has had problems since October and is still not working despite coubtless hours on the phone with Dell, Dell sending a tech to replace the mother board and mailing it back to Dell. we received it today with a note from Dell that it had undergone extensive testing! Ha it wouldn’t even boot up. My son has been at school without a required laptop. I just bought him a mac book and am writing Mr. Michael Dell to request a refund of my $2200.00 for this worthless piece o crap.
    NEVER BUY A DELL

  10. February 5th, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Zafer said:

    I own a XPS 1330 (black finish). I have 4gb of ram and 320gb of hard disk. Using it with Oracle database/tools/iAS testing with lots of virtual machines (VMWare). Installed the extras of Ultimate edition of Vista (running a ftp server and SFU – unit utilities) and Xming and VNCviewer/server professional edition. Using the Avast virus protection. The machine is perfect for a software engineer for testing purposes. Ubuntu, RH 4, Oracle Linux 5, OpenSuse103, Solaris10x86, CentOS 4.5 (64bit) are all running fine under VMs. I love the wireless sniffing that comes with XPS 1330. The bluetooth 2.0 works perfect with my Sony K550i pairing for accessing the internet from where ever there is a Cingular reception. My next purchase will be Sony UX-92 for travel and I will continue using XPS 1330 for software development and testing. Those who complains about the speakers, try installing Winamp and see the difference a software makes ;)
    Best
    Zafer

  11. February 5th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Zafer said:

    misspelled couple of things (unix utilities, etc) – sorry about that. I also want to emphasize that I have been using XPS 1330 for almost 4 months and had no problems so far :) When I received the original shipment they included a users manual in Hungarian, that was the only complaint I had, then they replaced it with an English manual (2 months later). I have purchased 3 years support when I ordered it, but because I have not had any problems, can not judge the quality of the tech support. Had 2 online chat with Dell support (driver related questions – not problems) and those chat sessions were quick and informative. I hope this proves useful.

  12. February 6th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    YK said:

    I ordered this model in midnight blue color on Jan 29, and got it on feb 4. It actually arrived within less than a week! the product is very satisfactory.. blue color is very classic(it’s very dark blue), keyboard and display are well-assembled, no dead pixels, noise is totally bearable.. everything only except dvd drive’s odd noise is good enough to apprecate! the dvd rom, it really sounds like a cat’s miow sound when you put dvd and eject it. but it’s for only moment. while running, it’s very quiet. I customized it with 2.2ghz processor, 3mb ram, 160gb at 7200rpm memory(there was huge discount for this spec). vista runs quite fast with it.

  13. February 7th, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Tone Smith said:

    Ordered my 1330 on 1/30/08 received it 2/5/08.

    Dell had an amazing deal for $1500 (tax and all) I got
    2.2ghz Core 2 Duo/4mb/800mhz
    8400 vid card
    3 gb ram
    LED screen
    160 7200rpm drive
    3 year warranty
    same thing as YK I am sure.

    My only complaints are the touchpad and its raised rigid, sharp edges. It should be flush with the aluminum! It is also small, could be bigger. When in the dell settings application for the toughpad, everytime I set the sensitivity and track speed and apply settings, it gets reset to default after a restart, andyone else have this problem?

    Also, the heat issue under the left wrist, I think the processor sits under there because the right side does not get hot. Kind of annoying, same think on my 600M.

    The machine looks great, is lightweight, and was the best value at the time for someone wanting a top of the line lightweight and ultraportable.

    Minimal bloatware (unlike my old Inspiron 600M)
    Battery life on 4 cell with .5 LCD brightness is “good enough”
    The optical drive is a BEAST when loading, Why cant it load quietly????
    Media Direct feature as said by blogger is very nice if you have kids..
    Fingerprint scanner is a nice feature, just cant figure out how to make it my sole means of logging into the notebook.
    Nice “WiFi Catcher” switch on the right side next to wifi on off switch. Cool feature.
    I wanted a Macbook Pro, but am very happy with this notebook thus far..

  14. February 12th, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Jim Mathies said:

    “My only complaints are the touchpad and its raised rigid, sharp edges. It should be flush with the aluminum! It is also small, could be bigger.”

    I totally agree, that was a shortcut they should not have taken, especially in an area that is so “front and center”.

    “everytime I set the sensitivity and track speed and apply settings, it gets reset to default after a restart, andyone else have this problem?”

    Haven’t seen that here. You might search dell support for something.

  15. February 14th, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Jimc said:

    I needed a small lightweight laptop for traveling and photography and the Dell XPS 1330 seemed perfect. However, I’ve had mine for 4 months now and I’ve had a number of problems. The first problem was the keyboard – the ‘C’ key began to come off and Dell had to fix it. A couple of weeks ago,t he system crashed and then began having strange display problems. After a week of Dell trying to change drivers, it stopped working and would only display a series of colored vertical lines. It turns out the display card (GeForce) on the motherboard went bad requiring a new motherboard.

    When it works, it works great and has a fantastic picture. I’m very concerned about how long it is going to last, though. I highly recommend getting extended warranty protection!

  16. February 16th, 2008 at 2:23 am

    Tone Smith said:

    An extended warranty should be purchased with ANY manufacturer, not just DELL. So many components are built in to the MoBo, its just common sense to get it. I am overclocking my 8400M GS with no problems, using drivers from laptopvideo2go.com.

    Its unfortunate that you had problems with the Vid card, but such is life. I had to deal with XPS tech support, and as a pretty knowledgeable person, it was nice to talk to an American who knew a little more than me (just a little) about computers. The tech issue was unrelated to any faults of the machine (incompatible Vista HDD enclosure). This trackpad still bugs the hell out of me, but I use the bluetooth mouse most of the time anyway. Keyboard is fine btw….

  17. February 18th, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Tim Doyle said:

    Tone Smith said:

    “My only complaints are the touchpad and its raised rigid, sharp edges. It should be flush with the aluminum! It is also small, could be bigger. When in the dell settings application for the toughpad, everytime I set the sensitivity and track speed and apply settings, it gets reset to default after a restart, andyone else have this problem?”

    Oh yeah I had this problem. If I remember correctly it was a driver conflict problem, two drivers controlling the mouse pad. I think I uninstalled Dell Quick Set driver and it is fine now.

    On a side note. I am moderately happy with this laptop. Vista really let’s it down though. I have dual booted this with Ubuntu and Vista but now just running Vista. Vista Windows Explorer constantly crashes and I have to end the process and restart explorer.exe.

    Great Laptop, Really Bad OS!

    Tim.

  18. February 21st, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Jim Mathies said:

    “On a side note. I am moderately happy with this laptop. Vista really let’s it down though. I have dual booted this with Ubuntu and Vista but now just running Vista. Vista Windows Explorer constantly crashes and I have to end the process and restart explorer.exe.”

    Have you installed any free hex editors lately? That might be your problem with explorer.

  19. February 21st, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Frank said:

    Thank you for the incredible detail in the review. It is truly appropriated!

    Regards!

  20. February 27th, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Brooke said:

    I have a dell XPS 1330 and I love it. I did have trouble with it in the beginning (the motherboard went bad) but I expected that with a new system. The first xbox360 had issues, that didn’t make it a bad system. My XPS is awesome now – I opted for the 9 cell battery so I get five to six hours worth of battery, my LCD screen is beautiful, and the layout is perfect for me.

    XPS 1330 is a great machine.

  21. April 7th, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Slavko said:

    I work at Dell, and this is my second Dell product, first one I bought was a desktop back in 1999. After working at Dell for about 4 months and seeing that XPS 1330 every day I decided I finally wanted one.

    Purchased it and have had it for about 7 days now.. its been fantastic. First thing I did was re-install Vista and remove all the Dell and Google junk that I didn’t want on there. Overall its a solid laptop, only complaint I have about it is sometimes when I put it in sleep mode for 20-30 minutes.. and I go to wake it up by pressing the power button.. it just doesn’t do anything. Lights up blue for a second and then it goes off, I checked the power settings and made sure to disable hybernate + sleep at the same time and all that non sense, still no go. If i wake it up early it seems to work great, loads very fast.

    Slim And Light LED was fantastic, I actually get about 5 hours and 30 minutes of battery with the second highest brightness setting. I didn’t put a nvidia card in because I heard of many problems with it over heating.. as well as it eats up a good hour of juice, intel graphics, intel wireless n and a 45nm chip (2.6ghz, 6mb cache) have been amazing on battery.

    Hopefully you don’t take this as a biased opinion cause’ I work for em ;)

    Slavko
    Dell Canada

  22. April 8th, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    Dingo Jones said:

    Slavko,
    I’ve had the 1330 for about 3 weeks, running into the same problem with the sleep and hibernate functions taking a long time to process. Usually works fine after a clean boot, but any subsequent sleep or hibernate sessions either take 20-30 minutes to fully hibernate/sleep, and I often find that the the computer has recovered from a blue screen when I start it back up.
    Anyone else experiencing this?

    -Dingo

  23. April 11th, 2008 at 1:27 am

    George said:

    I’ve had the XPS for about 8 months now and I think the video card fried on me. I keep getting rebooted or a screen full of nonsense. I thought it was a driver issue or a virus so I rebooted back to factory condition but still coming up with the same old problems.

  24. April 16th, 2008 at 1:37 am

    Tone Smith said:

    I am constantly going into sleep mode by closing lid, or hibernating using the function keys. I have rarely had a problem with it not booting back properly from either. This was a problem on my inspiron 600m.

    I do have the known issue of any music file (mp3, aac, whatever…) not playing without skips or hisses every 5.5 seconds or so. I have tried all the fixes on the Dell website, but still have the problem with ANY music software (iTunes, Winamp, WMP…). This is very very frustrating, I have to stream music to hear it. Anyone else have this problem or know of a fix?

    To date, I have had good experiences with my XPS 1330. My 2 major gripes are
    1. Trackpad (miniscule size and SHARP edges!!!)
    2. Heating up on wrists

    After seeing the MacBook Air in person, I wasnt 100% sure I made the right choice.

    Also, the left “Shift” key is sticking and messing up on me already…not a good sign.

  25. April 16th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Isaac said:

    I have a XPS 1330 for almost 7 mobths now, it has been replaces 3 motherboards, 4 LCD displays, 2 sets of bank memories, 2 covers, 1 palm rest, ok, it is more easy to say what HAS NOT BEEN replaced: CPU, DVD drive and keyboard. THis is a piece of crap, at least mine it is for sure. Isaac, Mexico City

  26. May 5th, 2008 at 4:29 am

    Kolton said:

    I have had a 1330 for over 6 month now and have no real complaints. The only issue i had was the finish on the inside top cover of the LED screen was wearing off and becoming reflective. Dell sent out someone to my house and replaced the parts on a saturday night through my warrenty. I read alot about people who trash the 1330 due to falures but as a network manager I can state that the only problems i have seen is user error, or problems with systems bought at Best Buy. Dell XPS support has been nothing but nice to me and I enjoy talking to someone who is in the US or Canada. Because of my trouble Dell gave me free 3 year coverage, $150, and a color laser printer. It is all you ask and who you talk to.

  27. May 8th, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    OQ said:

    hey guys, the vertical lines crash as frogman mentioned is a real problem with the 1330. there is a forum to back it up: http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=204772
    hopefully for those with the 1330, when the crash occurs on your laptop, this forum will let know that this is not unexpected and that you are not alone. Also, it should help when you are talking to the dell tech to get them to sort your machine out.
    for those who haven’t bought the 1330, this forum will inform you of the issue that might happen with said laptop to make ur decision making process a more complete one.

  28. May 22nd, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Sleepysan said:

    Blue Screen of death for laptop. I found that the trend micro internet security that came pre-installed was causing the issue. I uninstalled and installed mcaffee instead. Seems to work so far. Week 4 for me.

  29. June 7th, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Tom in NY said:

    I got my xps 1330 a few months ago and am very happy with it. I originally bought a new macbook, but returned it in order to buy the dell, which has a stronger build and not as limited online as a mac can be. The xps is quiet, built well with strong hinges, and does not heat too bad. It’s a nice laptop.

  30. June 10th, 2008 at 1:07 am

    Tone Smith said:

    The short of it is I sold my XPS 1330 for a reasonable loss and bought a MacBook Pro today.

    Along with all the gripes I had above, I started getting Blue screens. I updated to SP1 (VIsta) and it lowered the number of BSODs but not completely. XPS tech support tried to help me through my crash logs and ofcourse insisted that I ultimately reformat etc…I did and still it was no solution and the last straw fell when I was working on a lab report in MathCAD and I got a Blue screen, and all my calculations etc were gone. No one should have to deal with this especially with a higher end computer, so I called it quits, I dont have time to mickey mouse with dells anymore, I am through. Sure I spent $400 more, but I wont have these problems (statistically/probably/hopefully) with the mac.

    Other factors: CHEAP keys! my “=” and “shifts” along with the “space bar” stick

    I cannot play any audio files with any media player without hearing skipsf and pops! so freaking annoying I resorted to streaming music only. This is a well documented problem with dells and is not unique to me. Tech support again had no answers after hours of time.

    Like someone said above, paint peeling near camera on screen.

    Never resolved the issue with the slow pointer on the trackpad

    Damn this wrist pad gets hot

    These notebooks are EXCELLENT on paper, but in practice they are lacking, very disappointing for me, would not recommend.

    On a side note, I really liked Vista when it worked, great OS minus the bugs.

    Anthony, Ca

  31. June 11th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Jim Mathies said:

    Addendum – if anyone is curious how Dell is doing at support these days, please check out my “Dell Support Rocks” post regarding some bad memory in my XPS 210.

  32. July 8th, 2008 at 5:31 am

    head honcho said:

    I just ordered an XPS 1330. Most of the comments by owners sounds like people that don’t have that much expereince with computers. Start putting random software off the internet on your computer and you will eventually have problems. Not everything is compatible. Just the way it is. The blue screen is almost always just something not compatible. If you wipe everything off and then put it back it is likely the problem will still be there. Sort things out.

    Any brand laptop will have problems. They get hauled all over the place and are exposed to way more than a desktop ever will be. I never make it more than 2 years with the same notebook. I don’t expect the Dell to be any different. I have been through 6 notebooks in the past 6 years. None have ever been damaged from dropping but get used all day. Out of the 6 I have had Toshiba, Compaq, HP, Dell, LG and now dell again. The worst was the compaq. In for warranty work 6 times in the first year. HP was next with keys that would jump off the keyboard when you closed it. The Dell 610D had the worst screen I have ever seen and went back the day it arrived. The toshiba almost made it 2 years before the screen went out. The LG was perfect but got stolen at 10 months. Never had a single issue with it. Would have gone for another LG except it looks like they are scaling back on high end lap tops.

  33. July 18th, 2008 at 7:35 am

    C. Soerensen said:

    Opinions as “never buy Dell” and “…piece of crap” is rediculous articulations – a sort of flaming opinion. Probably not based of any knowledge but only -as I read it in this forum – as a naive reaktion.

    It’s fair enough to dilike a product or a producer but lot of experience from lot of people tell that someboyd really like most of the products.

  34. August 1st, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Saul said:

    It looked more like a “I love vista” review than a XPS 1330 review.

    I hate vista.

  35. August 4th, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Jim Mathies said:

    “I hate vista”

    - why?

  36. August 7th, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    I hate dell said:

    For all the people out there with the XPS 1330 if you purchased your system before june 2008. call dell and tell them to replace your mobo before your warranty expires.

    One of my friends works for Dell and he is the one who told me that he replaced at least 2 or 3 a day since last month, according to him all of these units are faulty and will eventually fail, the problem is related to a faulty nvidia video card, you will experience vertical lines, white screens, no post, green lines, black screens, once the problem presents it will come back again this is not an intermittent problem.

    I believe other computer manufacturers have the same problem, but not sure on that. If you need proof call dell and ask tech support to replace it for you, 9 out of 10 times they will say yes as this is a known issue, dell needs to come clean to their customers and send a letter like they did with the battery recall, I was lucky because I went for the 1530 instead but we have to call 3 or 4 times before they replaced the motherboard on my sister’s 1330, no complaints ever since

  37. August 10th, 2008 at 10:56 am

    AP said:

    Do not buy this product. I’ve had this computer for one year now, and the longest period of time it’s been working correctly has been around 3 months. I’ve had 1 system exchange and 2 system board replacements. I’m currently 10 days away from going down to school and I’ve got an open issue with my sound that can’t be resolved.

  38. August 13th, 2008 at 6:46 am

    brian said:

    I bought this in jan this year and it was a great laptop… and the last 2 months it has developed coloured lines up the middle which spread across..screen stopped working today and i attached a diff monitor to view the screen..and now its unreadable its all broken lines and colours..not sure what it is maybe graphics card..
    can anyone comment on this problem???

  39. August 26th, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Tamit said:

    I have had my xps 1330 for around 6 weeks now and it is THE BEST laptop I have ever used – yes there are some design issues, but none worse than any other laptop out there. Windows Vista Ultimate works like a dream, the keyboard is lovely and the machine is quick – i have the SIM card enabled to and sleep/un sleep works like a dream

  40. August 28th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Collin said:

    I have had the M1330 for over a year and have also had the Motherboard replaced twice and I still have Hybernate resume issues and Also “Bad Pool Caller” Blue Screens. A few times I have had the laptop appear to go into sleep mode and I put it in the bag to take to work and when I get there and pull my laptop out it is cooking. Nice laptop when it is working but it has design flaws that make this a unreliable choice. I think my next laptop is going to be a MacBook Pro when the Non-Nvidia versions come out. If I need XP or Vista I will just use VMware or something.

  41. September 17th, 2008 at 10:24 am

    luke said:

    i have this piece of sh*t laptop! bought it in aug 07, replaced motherboard in jan 08, my brother had his motherboard and harddrive replaced twice and then eventually got a new one. my laptop has just gone again but now dell say it is out of warranty so i must pay to fix what they know is a fault in the laptop ? wtf???? any suggestions on what i can do from here would be great. if i pay to fix it now, it will prob just crash again in 6 months!

  42. October 10th, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Gerardo Bonilla said:

    Hi! Thanks for the review, although i am impressed that you or anyobdy posted something about the computer overheating a lot and running REALLY slow. Reading some forums i have found a lot of people with this problem and no one seems to know how to fix this. Normally it happens when I put on some videos or have 2 or 3 programs running or playing and when i close them it´s still very hot and running slow. If you know how to fix this I will gladly hear the solution.

  43. October 19th, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    John said:

    Are you kidding?
    This product should be banned! They should pull this product! WORST LAPTOP EVER!
    At first when everything is going smoothly then you think it’s a great product.
    Wait until the problems starts cropping up. Nvidia graphic issues, Vista driver issues, hibernate/standby issue, LCD bakclighting issue, noisy hum, overheating issues. If you are undecided, look up this product for those issues. The forums are literally flooded.

    Imagine you are going to a meeting or presentation or have a deadline and one of those issues came up. Good luck! You would expect you would get something decent for the money spent, but no. So unless you are a true masochist – stay FAR FAR FAR away from this laptop.

  44. October 22nd, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    caroli said:

    Hi, I am a freshman majoring in actuarial science (math and statistics), so i’ll be needing to do some programming and use some calculation apps. Do you think this is a good laptop for me? Is the 3gb ram, 2.4ghz and 160 drive the right configuration? Don’t think I want the LED screen, runs to high up my budget. Anyone has it in red, does it look too flashy? thanks for the help

  45. October 29th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Fred Miller said:

    I purchased an XPS 1330 for my daughter in Chemical Engineering in the summer of
    ’07. From a performance perspective the unit is very nice but from a reliability
    perspective it is a horror. In little more that a year the unit has required three major
    hardware repairs and three severe operating system problems resulting in lost data.
    I am an engineer for IBM an I can tell you this thing never should have made it out of
    product test. From looking at several forums it is pretty clear this thing runs hot and
    fries motherboards and displays on a regular basis. Either the unit should be slowed
    down to run cooler or the package should have been designed larger to allow for
    better ventilation. My son has and Apple and my daughter’s roommate has an HP and
    neither one of those have had a bit of trouble. This is not what I expected for $2200.
    For a student who needs reliability this is not the unit you want.

  46. November 1st, 2008 at 10:30 am

    brian said:

    I agree its an awful laptop..at first it seems fine then the colour lines appear then the motherboard packs in…i had new screen and motherboard replaced…now i have vista driver issues it wont recognise external usb devices at all..heats up like the sun and it shuts down maybe 4 times a week now with visual problems on the screen..im going back to dell and asking for new laptop but not this one or the bigger xps..or maybe ill just get refund and get something else…

  47. December 1st, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    steve said:

    i’ve owned this pc for less than a year and have experienced hardware failure that’s rendered the unit inoperable for months:

    1) on-site technician was dispatched 3 times to repair hardware problems including motherboard (video card), lcd screen, keyboard and ram. this process took about a month.

    2) i eventually had to send the pc to dell to replace motherboard (continuing problems with video card). this involved about 2 weeks.

    3) dell finally decided to replace my pc. the replacement unit came with a downgraded lcd screen, downgraded hard drive, downgraded wireless card and was the wrong color. another couple of weeks passed to get the refurbished unit.
    dell has agreed to send me a replacement pc with my original upgrades.

    i hope to get a working, properly configured pc within the next 2 weeks. in all i will have been without a pc for over two months. dell has lost me as a customer as i do not believe the company is able to deliver the quality they promise nor the customer service onwhich they pride themselves.

  48. December 13th, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Wilson said:

    Don’t buy this laptop. Buy a MacBook or the new MacBook Pro.

    I have owned and still use on a regular basis the Dell XPS 1330 for over a year. This is far from the worst laptop ever built. It has an attractive design (finally) the LED screen is very bright, the system is performant (CPU) and it is nice and light.

    The problems:
    I have had my motherboard replaced twice, the system still has a significant amount of flex, there are funky weird drivers needed to get the system to work. Some the driver problems may be Vista, but when I ripped it out and put in XP I still had search for the drivers on Dell’s site. Dell support was pleasant but I had to convince I had a motherboard problem which took 2 visits for each motherboard swap… very unecesary. The keyboard has ruined part of my screen (most laptops have this issue). The system has behaved itself for about a year so I still use it, but I would not recommend it to anyone.

    My suggestion
    The new MacBook Pros are just better made laptops, and they run windows really well. If you can afford it there is no reason not to go with one.

  49. December 24th, 2008 at 3:12 am

    Vojin said:

    It was working just fine for about six months and that’s it.
    GPU and/or motherboard problem.
    I’m currently waiting for MB replacement for almost a month.

    The worst technical support and customer can you can imagine.

  50. December 28th, 2008 at 6:05 am

    Sheila said:

    I have had my XPS M1330 for a few months now and absolutely love it. The only problem I have had so far is trying to get the fingerprint scanner thing to work. I cannot get it to scan my fingerprint. It keeps telling me that it is a bad scan or that the finger swipe was too short. I have tried various ways of scanning and have never gotten a good scan. What am I doing wrong? I follow the video instructions exactly. Please help, if you can.

  51. January 10th, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Arun.R said:

    Pros:
    Ideal for Everyone
    Brilliant Resolution
    Very Good Speed(Faster than a 2.4 Ghz from a different brand)
    Good Quality Camera
    Very prompt Support(Once u find the XPS number)
    Unbeatable looks
    Touch media keys give it the upper edge over other laptops
    Dell Bundled softwares(Mediadirect, PC restore etc.) very useful
    Amazing Price
    Asia-Pacific Warranty
    Cons:
    Media keys touch panel was defective(but replaced within 48 hrs by dell)
    Power Adapter Chord is too Short
    Media Keys don’t work with Itunes

    linuxinlaptop.blogspot.com

  52. January 12th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Foffe said:

    You totally said it! I have one of my own, and it – simply – rocks my world. We have to have a laptop for school and I see many of my friends carrying laptops up to 5 kg – I am so lucky to have mine at 1,8 kg. It is also alot faster and the design is much cooler. Many has laptops with those touch pads that your finger just won’t move, like that they have covered it with something stick. And I must add though, that I quite like the brushed metal and think that laptops complitely out of plastic look cheap and easy to break.

    The screen is as clear as fresh, clean water – and whenever I am at some other computer or laptop – I get diss’pointed. It is like everything gets blured and I get a massive headake.

    I have actually been envied by a mac user. He said that whenever he saw mine, he really wanted to see which was better. Bot because they are the same size and.. yeah, you know! He was surprised about where the battery was though, I don’t know why, he didn’t tell me.

    I think your overall opinion was – indeed – correct!

  53. February 27th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    hengky said:

    this unit so SUCK .
    Dell trick U guys ……
    My spec
    intel 7300
    RAM 4 GB
    NVIDIA 8400 128 MB
    N run nothing

    XPShit is a totally failed product .
    I CHANGE MY BOARD 3 TIMES AND STILL SPOILED UNTIL NOW>>
    DELL HIDE AND COWARD…
    DELL IS HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
    DELL IS TYPICAL FAILED COMPANY …
    SELL, SCREW UP AND RUN.. RUN….RUN………….

  54. March 5th, 2009 at 8:57 am

    1330crap said:

    Dell just admitted the original vid card has a problem eventually with the motheroard.
    Pretty much every unit before they upgraded MB has to be retrofitted.
    This is my second 1330, last one had failed vid card and MB.
    Tech recomended shutting off Windows auto update, service pack is correct update but what the hell does that mean (Microsoft does not want your computer to receive the updates?).
    Both companies are battling this, stay away if considering either is my next step.

  55. March 6th, 2009 at 5:50 am

    Observer said:

    Clearly this “review” is an ordered piece of crap. Parts of the review are decent, however it is clearly biased for some ($$$-based ?) reason. The writer is probably one of the usual zombified M$-users with no computing skills. Sucking up to Vista and Dell is a beatiful combo. So please let us know, whichpart of the system did you get for free in return for writing an overly positive review, the OS, the machine or both ?

  56. April 18th, 2009 at 5:43 am

    ottopilot said:

    I had many problems with my first Dell 1330, mainly overheating. Replaced motherboard, screen, hard drive.

    Dell set me a replacement, with a newer more powerful CPU, with a 90W power

    adapter. I undated BIOS to A15 version.

    Dell 1330 has been running great for 14months and hasn’t missed a beat.

  57. May 7th, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Sanyakhu Amare' said:

    The machine is great looking.. but.

    I ordered it and it took almost 89 days to get
    2. whenI got it.. the wireless internet did not work..
    3. I am still waiting for my replacement machine.. since the 3rd of May–not shipped yet
    4. Direct Media .. man that was a badd idea to initiate that.. I could get out of it.. even when I rebooted!! I had to call in for help on that. I never want to see that feature again.

    5. Support—the best I have every seen.. I’m 57!

    6 product delivery…. just tooo damn slow.. I mean slightly over the boarder of ridiculous

    But the machine is fast and 9 cells and 4gis of ram make a difference for sure..

    I really just want to know — how do you keep my crimson-red cover Clean!!!!!!

    amare’
    sansheps@gmail.com

  58. June 23rd, 2009 at 1:49 am

    A.H. said:

    I tried out my XPS 1330 for the first time over a month ago. While it had only been on for an hour or so, the computer randomly turned off and would not restart–the battery had been fully charged and the AC adapter was plugged in. When you pressed the power button, random buttons would light up blue and then stop. After hours of IMing an outsourced dell support man and eventually having a technician replace the motherboard/hard drive, the computer still would not restart. We sent it to dell and within two weeks I had my laptop back. At the very least, Dell’s customer support is outstanding.

    It works perfectly now–I love how sleek and thin it is. After my first year of college lugging around a fat and outdated 15″ Inspiron to classes, this is a welcome relief. The only downside is that it attracts fingerprints easily–I’m going to try to put some contact paper on the lid to prevent that. The media panel is a pain in the butt. If I’m watching a movie at night and want to turn down the volume, I have to spend half a minute searching for it. It might look outdated but I would much prefer a volume wheel.

    Vista is just as sleek as the laptop’s design–with a dock that can hide/expand (I love being able to organize my programs), the only thing on my desktop is the sidebar (being new to Vista, I love the gadgets–especially Notes).

    One thing I just noticed while reading this review was that, after sending it in, my dell remote is nowhere to be found. Either the technician accidentally kept it or they forgot to put it back in.

    Dell’s customer support is great, but–after reading all the reviews–I’m afraid my laptop won’t survive long enough to be worth it. I can only imagine the the malfunctions I’ll face in a year–and with a 1-yr warranty Dell’s amazing support won’t mean anything

  59. September 22nd, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Annie said:

    Stay AWAY from this laptop. The life span is extremely short. Shortly after 1 year of purchase, my LCD showed signs of damage, my battery died, and the laptop became extremely slow, hot, and loud. I have replaced a battery and upgraded my memory chips in an attempt to make it last at least through my nursing program. Shortly after I purchased my brand new battery, my AC adapter died. This laptop has so many problems. Use your money on a better computer. Dell definitely does not own up to its reputations. Don’t waste your money, don’t waste your time.

  60. October 13th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Kenan said:

    I hate Vista……:::(((((

  61. November 14th, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Tonda said:

    I hate dell M1330 laptops. They are a piece of JUNK with a smile. I have 2 of them and paid close to $4000.00 for both of them. We had several issues a few weeks after purchasing the thing. They have been sent in to dell for repair more than 5 times. I have had 3 motherboards changed out, on the forth motherboard the tech came to my home and advised it didn’t need a motherborad and he gave me a new battery and said that was the problem that time. 1 week later to be exact, the computer blacked out and wouldn’t come back on. I called dell and they said your warrenty expired 2 days ago. I explained to them over and over that the tech was suppose to change the motherboard when he cam out 1 week ago but didn’t because he said it was the battery. Those nuts wanted to charge me to get another mother board after that being the 5 one. A month later the second M1330 laptop went out. It would not charge, we had it looked at and they again said “it needs a new motherboard”. DELL SUCKS and I would never buy another computer from them even if they gave me one for free. They put this junk out and then refuse to give your money back and make sure your warrenty is expired, that way they aren’t responsible for anything any more. I reported this to the BBB because these computer are no good.
    NONE EVER BUY ONE. I called them about 2 months ago to see if they are still selling this computer and guess what!!!! They no longer make them but are trying to get rid of the remainding ragidy ones they have at regular price. DON”T BUY IT>>>THE M1330 IS A PIECE OF JUNKKKKKKKK BIG TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  62. November 14th, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Tonda said:

    I forgot to advise how great support was. I spent more time on the phone with then than I was spending with my kids!!!!! thats how bad they are, and I needed a translator to even understand what they were saying half the time… Their whole operation is a MAD HOUSE!!!! THANK GOD FOR OTHER COMPUTER COMPANIES….

  63. November 27th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    RKB said:

    I just had my 2nd replacement motherboard (MB) installed today. In July I had a new hard drive installed. Have owned the M1330 for 2-1/4 years. Finally got an honest tech (outsourced) who said he has replaced thousands of MB’s on the M1130′s. Problem is heat. No fix.

    To add insult to injury, the Dell Tech Support guy tried to sell me a RAM upgrade; said that would reduce the heat problem. Not true. A friend who is a techie told me the more RAM you have the more heat you have. Seems like common sense.

    Won’t buy another Dell when this one finally craps out and the extended warranty runs out.

  64. December 16th, 2009 at 3:28 am

    Yaga Tanzania said:

    My XPS let me down big time! I’ve got blue lines on the screen. What’s worse, since I live in Tanzania and purchased the machine in Dubai, I can’t seem to find anyone from Dell to help me!! The Dell website help is of no use!!!

    My HD has been spinning loud as ever from teh first day I switched it on. That was June 08. It never stops spinning for as long as it is on…. it will spint for 3 seconds and stop for a second and then start spinning again for 3 seconds and on and on……..!

    Now the blue screen! I make sure that I keep my computer up-to-date with all the recommended updates from Dell and Microsoft. However, when the blue screen started to appear about 3 months ago, I checked and re-checked but the Diagnostic tool didn’t identify anything and it kept working once I switched on and off a few times. I tried updating the drivers as the Dell website suggested and still nothing.

    Then I kept getting messages that the display driver is not working properly….. and a few times i heard some very unhealthy beeps…..!!! Now it doesn’t come out of the blue screen at all!!!

    In addition the mouse area does heat up a lot!!!!

    I’ve paid nerely USD2000 for it last year in DUbai and now there is no one from Dell to help me!

  65. December 24th, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    red laser pointers said:

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  66. December 24th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    cheap laser pointers said:

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  67. December 24th, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    powerful laser pointer said:

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  68. May 10th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Ashif Imtiaz Khan said:

    Hi,

    i had purchased the Dell M1330 1 year ago. It really works nice and easy. Not make much sound while playing a dvd or in the time of burning DVDs. Its great and excellent. Body is so much thin and you know when i work in MS office it stays for more than 5 hours runs smoothly on battery power.

    It have found out that it might have some design flaws like the laptop has no latch so its
    display panel, i mean the upper portion is slowly getting discolored. the the only problem i have noticed. But over all its a piece of art.

  69. June 29th, 2010 at 9:11 am

    OGB said:

    Hi,
    I have owned a dell XPS 1330 for over a year now. Fantastic machine. How could any one query the efficiency of this unique small but mighty machine? I appreciate that we write up critiques also that there could be batch and individual flaws in production.

    I have MS SQL 2008 as well as Oracle 10g running with databases and others being developed. I have a virtual drive with an ERP application on it. I have high praise for a laptop made so portable but yet so efficient.

    My question is that how many slots does the machine have for RAM? My great wish is to upgrade and retain my laptgop for which I have grown an affinity to.



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