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Design and Ergonomics

The first thing you become aware of in the Dell Inspiron XPS M1210 is its smooth outline. The front part is rounded off a little, giving the notebook a very neat appearance. The lid is coated with black plastic and has a silvery band with the name of the series near the display hinges. On the front panel there is a small chromium-plated ledge to make it easier for you to lift the lid up. The sides of the lid are by half painted silver to match the top part of the notebook’s body. The rest of the body is painted black.

The manufacturer put its logotype into the center of the lid.

Before opening the notebook, you can take note of the three connectors in its front part. One is a microphone input and the other two are identical headphones outputs. Not a very common solution, this allows enjoying the multimedia capabilities of the Inspiron XPS M1210 together with your friend while on a plane, for example.

Above those connectors there is a block of multimedia buttons highlighted in blue when the notebook is turned on. These buttons include (from left to right):

  • Mute On/Off
  • Volume Down
  • Volume Up
  • Play/Pause
  • Previous Track
  • Next Track
  • Stop

We don’t think these buttons are really necessary for an ultra-compact model unless you are going to use it as a player. Due to the small size of the notebook, you will almost surely touch the multimedia buttons unintentionally with your wrists while you’re using the touchpad.

The display lacks a lock as is typical of notebooks of that form-factor. Mechanisms built into the hinges press the lid down to the notebook’s body, and you have to exert some strength to lift it up. The color scheme is all silvery inside, including the magnesium case, keyboard, touchpad, and the screen bezel. There are rubber pads on that bezel for softer contact between the display and the notebook’s body. Centered beneath the display is the Dell logotype.

The Dell Inspiron XPS M1210 may come with an optional 1.3-megapixel web-camera that can turn around by 180 degrees. It resembles the one installed on the ASUS W5F. Our notebook didn’t have that camera, though.

Besides the manufacturer’s logo, there are two sonorous stereo speakers on the bezel, below the display. They are covered with grids and are directed right at the user. This placement is good because the speakers won’t get obstructed with anything.

The display hinges stick out of the notebook’s body, allowing you to unfold it by even more than 180 degrees as is shown in the following photograph:

The Dell Inspiron XPS M1210 is equipped with a widescreen 12.1” display with a max resolution of 1280x800 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:10 (WXGA). The horizontal viewing angle seems to be large, but the vertical one is narrow even visually. The glassy coating of the display makes colors more saturated (Dell TrueLife technology), but also produces flares under improper lighting and reflects every well-lit object behind your back.

We measured the brightness and contrast of the notebook’s display using a Pantone ColorVision Spyder with OptiCAL version 3.7.8 software. We selected the highest possible brightness setting before this test but it would become much lower when the notebook switched to its battery, automatically enabling power-saving measures. The measured values of brightness are high, but the contrast ratio isn’t:

AC power source:

  • 110.1cd/sq.m brightness, 27:1 contrast ratio

DC power source:

  • 90.9cd/sq.m brightness, 27:1 contrast ratio
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