Dell's XPS M1210 laptop PC

Ultrapowerful ultraportable
— 12:00 AM on February 6, 2007

LIKE MANY THINGS IN the PC industry these days, laptop computers are a fairly mature sort of product. We all know about the basic types and sizes, and how the inevitable tradeoffs in display performance, size, weight, battery life and display real estate tend to work. If you're a road warrior, you can get a svelte, compact machine with understated design cues and six hours of battery life; you'll just have to sacrifice performance for that mobility. If you're a gamer, you can get a graphics and processing powerhouse with Pontiac-style ribbed body cladding and a display large enough to double as the main sail on a small yacht; you'll just have to accept the additional weight, heat, and battery drain that comes with it. For most of us, buying a laptop means deciding what set of tradeoffs we're willing to make and then looking into the various choices in our preferred weight class.

The Dell XPS M1210, however, embodies an uncommon concept in portable computers. Like its bigger brothers in the XPS line, it looks to bring near-desktop-class performance into a mobile form factor. Unlike its sibilings, though, it targets the true ultraportable form factor, the featherweight class of laptops with 12.1" wide-aspect displays. Combining these two goals may sound like a recipe for dissonance, but Dell has managed to pull off the feat with surprising style. The result is a laptop PC that packs more computing power per pound and per square inch than any other solution I can think of—you know, casually, while sitting here, not really Googling for it or anything.

The point is that the M1210 is both refreshing and really quite good, and we've worked up a full review of it for your reading pleasure. We've also taken the opportunity to compare the M1210 to a couple of older laptops in way that gives us a look at three generations of Centrino mobile technology.

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