Dell bringing Linux to XPS M laptop

Dell is expanding its open-source offerings. The XPS M1330 laptop is now available with Ubuntu in Germany, the U.K., France, and Spain. On its Direct2Dell blog, Dell instructs would-be U.

S. purchasers to "hold on a week or so." This is a particularly egregious problem on the 32 GB solid state hard drive, because it had a 10 GB "restore" partition, and a 6 GB "media direct" partition pre-installed from the factory. Nothing like booting up a system with an already-limited 32 GB storage device and finding you only have 16 GB of disk space available. Way to go, Dell.

Dell XPS laptops have been known to pull off performance feats usually associated with desktops. The Dell XPS M1210 (Vista), for instance, has embodied what performance should be like in an ultraportable. But what started off as a stylish design two years ago is now quickly losing ground to trendsetters such as Apple, HP, and Sony. Clearly, it was time for Dell to spice things up. The Dell XPS M1330 ($2,200 direct) is both refreshing and really quite amazing once you factor in both design and performance. Dell slips all the latest technology trends into a very sleek crimson unit while keeping its performance ahead of the competition.

It's a breakthrough improvement, which is why I'm giving it the Editors' Choice in the ultraportable category. Dell's XPS M1330 laptop has only just officially been announced (after much rumor and leakage) but the reviews are already starting to trickle in, most of which seem to be quite favorable to the unit. Among those getting their hands on the laptop was CNET, who remarked that Dell has "finally put design first," adding that the laptop delivered solid performance, with its LED-backlit display also helping to improve battery life, not to mention shave a bit of thickness off the lid. On the downside, they found the touchpad to be a tad small, and they were disappointed by the lack of options at the moment, including Blu-ray and SSD drives. Putting these issues aside for a moment: what's all the fuss about? Take a look at the pictures and you'll begin to understand, because the XPS M1330 is without a doubt one of the best looking consumer notebooks Dell has made in?well, ever actually. Built around a 13.

3in display, the chassis measures a sleek and slender 318 x 238 x 33.8mm (WxDxH) at its bulkiest points and weighs 2kg with a 6-cell battery. Dell also claims that this is the thinnest notebook in its class, though this is somewhat disingenuous because the 22.1mm at its thinnest is only possible thanks to the wedged shaped design.

Currently, the Inspiron 530 desktop and Inspiron 1420 laptop are the only two Dell computers to come preloaded with Ubuntu 7.10. While those looking to put Linux on a higher-end XPS model can always go the self-install route, purchasing a preloaded Ubuntu config saves you the cost of having to purchase Windows. It's strange, in a way, because the M1330 isn't much of an upgrade from the W3J in terms of absolute hardware specifications.

The display sizes are almost the same, both offer 2.0 GHz dual-core CPUs, and the M1330 is even a downgrade in one area: I ordered it with a hard drive that's less than half the size of the W3J. It's more of a sidegrade than a pure upgrade. The resulting Windows Experience benchmark scores are almost the same for both laptops, too.

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