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“That M1330 of yours is nice, how do you find it?”

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Cover me in marmalade and call me Susannah!

I was sat in the Dhoni (the boat) the other night with Marcus, the Director of Operations for The Conrad Rangali Island.

“It was you I saw in the bar this morning wasn’t it?” He asked.

“Errr,” was my initial response.

“With the M1330 and the Air?”

Wow. I didn’t think to expect to encounter any geeks in the Maldives.

Turns out Marcus is a big fan of Dell and Apple. In particular Dell. I was privately hugely impressed that he didn’t even bother naming the brand of Dell. He simply called it the M1330 — their ultralight range.

He asked me how I found it.

“Well,” I told him as we bounced up and down in the inter-island Dhoni heading from one island of the resort to the other, “It’s shit hot.” Or words to that effect.

The Dell M1330 is the workhorse of a global nomad. Your Apple Air is fancy. It’s really slim. It gets looks of admiration … but when it comes to processing power, it does its best.

But sometimes you just need a Windows machine, as I do, often. And the Dell XPS M1330 is a piece of genius.

Here are some pictures:

I won’t bore you with exact specifications — they’re entirely configurable on the Dell site — other than this overview: For 589 UK pounds you can have an ultra light M1330 with a gig of RAM, 120 gig hard disk, T5750 Dual Core Intel Processor, gorgeous 13.3″ screen (1280×800) and more. Just amazing. And it’s got an SD slot, 2 USBs, an HDMI port and a proper monitor-out port. If you need a bit more oomph, you can top up the processor to a 2.6Ghz 8,000 series Dual Core, knock up the hard disk to 320 gig, boost ram to 3 gig (an extra 35 quid, would you believe?), add an nVidia 128mb graphics card and a few other enhancements and you’re still only talking 1,170 UK pounds. Right on. That’s including VAT!

The Apple Air is wider — and a bit slimmer. But not by much. You’d struggle getting the M1130 in a fancy Steve-Jobs-style-envelope but it’s a workhorse. A real beast.

I’ve been putting the M1330 through a heck of a lot of use whilst here on the island. I’ve been using it for a lot of blogging — perhaps one of the most demanding uses of a machine in my care. That is OODLES of web browsing and image processing along with video and audio encoding. I used the machine to comfortably process and record my podcast submission for Podcast 10. I’ve filled up a substantial amount of the hard disk with bucketloads of videos and photos that I won’t use — I’ve been deliberately annoying it. And it’s still standing. Battery life is excellent — 3 to 4 hours depending on how horrid you are to the machine and the screen brightness.

And one more thing.

You know, I was about to write that it doesn’t have a CD drive. It does. I just looked. Seriously, I spent a few minutes the other day looking to see and couldn’t find it. It’s on the right. An 8x DVD writer. Genius. I never knew!

I’d seen the M1330 before. I’ve seen a few folk using it and my dad had one of the first but I’d never been hands on with it before.

It’s precisely the kind of machine you want when you’ve got work to do and you’re on a desert island. Or on the train, the bus, or you’re moving often and you don’t want to be messing around with large ‘desktop replacements’.

Thank you to Dell for loaning us the M1330 for the Desert Island Challenge. And thank you to Marcus, Director of Operations for the Conrad here, for validating my geek existence with his question.

If you’ve got any questions about the Dell, let me know – ewan@smstextnews.com.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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