I’ve choosen the Dell XPS 1210

Dell XPS 1210

I've made my mind up, I'm going to go with the Dell XPS 1210. It really came down to the MacBook vs the Dell XPS but ultimately the Dell won because its simply very powerful and the 9 cell battery can give up to 4.5 hours worth of normal use (wifi on). This is insane, and although its thicker and heavier that most 12 inch laptops, its got all the features you would normally see on a 15 inch laptop. The Thinkpad X60 lost out because its hard to get it very configured in the UK and the price made it a non-starter
when you added the 2.0ghz Core Duo 2 processor. Dell also just added a discount of 50 pounds on the XPS and a free USB TV tuner if you order before 2007.

What tipped me over was the reviews by a few bloggers and notebook reviewers (notebookreview, cnet, ). Don't get me wrong the Macbook did well in these reviews (notebookreview and cnet)
but I got the general feeling that its lack of extras really let it down and although I can get a good deal out of it. I would always feel like I was missing out on things like card readers and usb's ports. These might sound stupid to most, but everything I own supports SD cards and even my new batteries for my camera support USB. So realistically I can take a XPS and Canon S3 on holiday and nothing else. (no card readers, no usb cables and no charge cable for the camera).
Once Moixa bring out device driven batteries I'll be able to add my Sanyo Camera to that list too.

Dell also offer a 2 year warranty and support as standard with the XPS which suits me perfectly. I can extend it later if I like and I know the Apple Care is good but I was really put off by some of the things I heard about long delays, etc. Dell tend to be quite good about replacing machines.

So what about the 2gig of ram I loaded into the MacBook? Well I've selected the 1 stick 1gig option for the XPS and decided I might put in a 512meg or another 1gig myself using Crucial's memory wizard (41 pounds for 512meg and 82 pounds for 1gig). Also please note, once you add a 120gig hard drive to the Mac Book it hits £1000 with only 1gig of ram, so the Dell isn't that badly priced (although you do get the faster 667mhz memory
with the Mac).

Some people will also turn their nose up at my choice not to include a Nvidia Graphics card but its an extra £230 and I'm not planning to do anything more complex that second life or some X3D stuff. The intel card can support OpenGL and DirectX 9.0 and runs cooler – so I'll be happy enough. This means I can spend the extra money on the 9 Cell battery and Bluetooth card. I was also tempted to get the 802.11(pre) N card but I'm worried about it using more power because its dell not Intel, plus I really don't
need it. You may also notice I didn't add the free Vista upgrade to my list, I might add it because its free (11 pounds p&p) but just not use it. I looked into installing Linux on the XPS 1210 and it seems not too difficult.

The Dell XPS 1210 isn't as beautiful as the Mac Book but nor is my current Toshiba Portege 3500. But Funny enough the XPS 1210 is built from the material which kept my Toshiba safe all these years and it looks like the same machine from the lid. Its certainly road ready. The last thing which I think convinced me was Dell Media direct. This is buttons for DVD and CD playback without having to boot into Windows. The latest version goes one step further by being able to play mpeg3's from the HD and Storage cards,
do file transfers, play office files, etc. It seems to be a cut down version of Windows Media Centre 2005, so I'll be very happy being able to do quick and dirty things like watch files on the train without booting up windows.

Anyway, here's my current setup in the Dell basket,

  • Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T7200 (2.0 GHz, 4 MB L2 cache, 667 MHz FSB)
  • Genuine Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005
  • Premium XPS Service, 2 Year (incl. Gaming and On-Site Support)
  • 12.1″ WXGA (1280×800) TFT Display with TrueLife™ and integrated 1.3 mega pixel web cam
  • 1024MB 533MHz Single Channel DDR2 SDRAM (1×1024)
  • 120GB (5,400rpm) Hard Drive
  • Fixed Internal 8X DVD+/-RW with Software
  • 5-in-1 Multi Card Reader (MS, MS Pro, SD, MMC, xD)
  • Intel® Media Accelerator 950 Graphics Up to 256MB shared graphics memory
  • 9 Cell, 80Whr Lithium Ion Primary Battery
  • Intel® Pro WLAN 3945 Internal Wireless (802.11a/b/g 54 Mbps) for Core 2 Duo Processors
  • Dell™ Wireless 350 Bluetooth 2.0 Module (up to 3Mbps) with Enhanced Data Rate
  • Money Off Savings: Save £50 inc VAT
  • £1,041.35 (includes VAT & Shipping, nothing to Pay Until December 2007)

Thanks to everyone who helped me decide what to get. I almost got a macbook but its lack of features is perfect for someone who just wants a great laptop. I'm more a tweaker and the extra features on the dell will be used by me. Now does anyone want to buy a Toshiba Protege 3500 Tablet PC with a noisy fan?

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.