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A new Dell: the XPS M140 laptop

A new Dell: the XPS M140 laptop

Dell added the M140 laptop to its lineup this morning, giving its high-end XPS family a more portable member. A bit bulkier than the Inspiron 600m (which it will replace) and slightly smaller than the Inspiron 6000, the XPS M140 offers a 14.1-inch wide-screen (WXGA) display, a choice of Pentium M processors, and a fairly standard array of multimedia niceties. Our test configuration weighed 5.9 pounds--just barely a thin-and-light, by our definition.

Coming a month after a refresh of Dell's other XPS, the souped-up M170 gaming machine, the XPS M140 features a pretty average assortment of multimedia bells and whistles: Dell's MediaDirect technology that lets you get at your media (photos, DVDs, and CDs) without booting Windows; a 5-in-1 memory card reader; and a double-layer DVD burner. Most notably, it's one of the smallest laptops we've seen that runs Windows XP Media Center. Interestingly, Dell will not offer a discrete GPU for the M140, in order to maximize battery life. It seems to have worked: Our test unit's battery lasted just under 6 hours on our benchmark.

Like HP, with its multimedia troika of dv1000, dv4000, and dv8000, which are all based on the same design and feature set, Dell seems to be churning out what looks like the same laptop in a variety of sizes. If you're looking for something a bit larger than the thin-and-light XPS M140, there's the desktop replacement Inspiron 9300 or the midsize Inspiron 6000; if you're looking for something smaller, there's the borderline ultraportable Inspiron 700m. While there are some differences among them (integrated vs. discrete GPU, processor choices), overall, Dell seems to have decided that it likes the wide-screen, multimedia-focused design, and it's running with it.

Available in November, the XPS M140 starts at $999, though the fully loaded configuration we're testing runs closer to $2,000. We'll be posting our review in the next few days, so keep an eye out for it.