If you're after a small laptop, but are willing to sacrifice slightly on portability to get better performance and a larger screen, then the Dell XPS M1330 is a great laptop.

If you want a laptop you can carry around with you everywhere you go, then an ultra-portable PC is the best choice. However, trying to cram everything into a super-small case usually means that compromises have to be made - most notably in terms of performance and screen size.

While not so tiny that it can be called a true ultra-portable laptop, the Dell XPS M1330 is still small enough to accompany you on most of your travels. At 1.8kg it's also a little on the heavy side, at least when judged against sub-1kg machines like the Toshiba R500, but it's still not excessive.

An increased chassis size means Dell can squeeze into the Dell XPS M1330 a 13.3in screen with a widescreen resolution of 1,280x800 pixels. If you find you need to squint to make out text on an 11in or 12in display, then you'll find this a much more comfortable size to work with.

Are you missing out on the high-end features of Windows? Find out how you could benefit from the most complete version of Vista by visiting Windows Vista Ultimate Advisor.

The Dell XPS M1330 is pretty speedy for a machine of this size. Its 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 processor and 2GB of RAM managed to achieve a score of 83 in our real-world WorldBench performance test. It's also not bad when it comes to gaming, considering how portable it is, with its nVidia GeForce 8400M GS chip capable of running the intensive FEAR test at 18 frames per second (fps).

At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking Dell had left out the optical drive in order to keep the size down. However, instead the Dell XPS M1330 is blessed with a slot-loading mechanism, which takes up less space in the external case.

Despite the Dell XPS M1330’s small frame, Dell has managed to squeeze in a good sized keyboard. Unlike many laptops that relegate the Home, End, Page Up and Page Down keys to a secondary function of an existing key, Dell has even found space to include them, albeit in a vertical formation down the far righthand side.

The Dell XPS M1330’s battery life is reasonable, with it managing nearly two hours while running our demanding battery test.

Visit Business Advisor for the latest news, reviews, tips & tricks that will improve your bottom line

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today’s best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

Dell XPS M1330 : Specs

  • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 250GB HDD
  • 2 x USB, 1 x FireWire
  • 13.3in (1280 x 800) screen
  • 128MB nVidia GeForce 8400M GS
  • Bluetooth
  • flash memory drive, fingerprint security
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • 8x8x8x4x4x5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • 24x24x16x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • 318x238x34mm
  • 1.8kg
  • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 250GB HDD
  • 2 x USB, 1 x FireWire
  • 13.3in (1280 x 800) screen
  • 128MB nVidia GeForce 8400M GS
  • Bluetooth
  • flash memory drive, fingerprint security
  • 802.11a/b/g
  • 8x8x8x4x4x5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • 24x24x16x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • 318x238x34mm
  • 1.8kg

OUR VERDICT

If you're after a small laptop, but are willing to sacrifice slightly on portability to get better performance and a larger screen, then the Dell XPS M1330 is a great option. With an asking price under £800 it also represents good value for money too.

Find the best price