Dell unveils world's thinnest laptop

Dell unveiled a new collection of colourful XPS and Inspiron notebooks today in Marbella, Spain. Dell also used the event to officially reveal what it calls the "world's thinnest 13.3-inch laptop" - the XPS M1330.

Dell describes the XPS M1330 as fusing the "ultimate in computing technology" with a slick "expression of style". Having dominated the laptop market with a succession of corporate, gun-grey machines, the VAIO-esque XPS M1330 is indicative of a new consumer-orientated direction for the company.

What Dell's designers have come up with is a slim, wedge-shaped 13.3-inch laptop that weighs in at 1.8kg and boasts a frame that's only 0.9-inches thick. Dell says it has listened to its customers and what they wanted was something "stylish", "sleek" and "modern". The XPS M1330 shouldn't disappoint.

With prices starting at £729 for a basic model, the XPS M1330 comes surprisingly well-specced. It's powered by Intel's T7700 Core 2 Duo processor, has a 1280x800 pixel screen and can be fitted out with an Nvidia GeForce Go 8400M GS GPU. In a nod to the home entertainment industry, the XPS M1330 also includes an HDMI port.

Dell is making a big deal out of your ability to personalise the XPS M1330. The laptop's curved magnesium alloy chassis will be available in three colours: Tuxedo Black, Pearl White and Crimson Red.

New Inspirons

This idea of laptop personalisation also carried across into Dell's other major announcement today. Dell's laptop range is being boosted by the arrival of four fresh Inspirons - the 17-inch Inspiron 1720 and 1721 models; and the 15.4-inch Inspiron 1520 and 1521 machines.

These Inspirons, says Dell, represent the sort of portable computer that people want to empower their "digital lifestyle". It's a phrase that cropped up throughout the presentation, describing both the functionality that modern laptops need to cover (movie playback, wireless access, good battery life etc.) and the idea that the laptop you own says something about the person you are.

The 1720 and 1520 models feature Intel's Core 2 Duo processors, while the 1721 and 1521 pack AMD's Turion 64 X2 chips. Beyond the engine room, the Inspirons are designed to be fully customisable with Blu-ray drive (1520 and 1720 only), TV tuner and media card options all available.

Dell also offers eight colour choices - Ruby Red, Espresso, Bubblegum Pink, Midnight Blue, Spring Green, Sunshine Yellow, Alpine White and Jet Black. The new Inspirons start at £529.

But Dell isn't just trying to sex up its portable computing catalogue. Beyond its new Sunshine Yellow Inspirons, the Marbella launch included two new customisable desktop PCs. The Inspiron 530 (powered by Celeron or Core 2 Duo processors) and the Inspiron 531 (powered by AMD Sempron or Athlon 64 X2 processors). Prices start at £249.

Dell also took the wraps off a brand new 19-inch flat panel display, the SE198WFP. Designed to complement the new 530-series PCs, it boasts a 5ms response time and HDCP-ready connectivity. The price quoted by Dell is £158.

New services

As well as new hardware, Dell announced that it has significantly expanded its customer services and support to proactively tackle PC problems.

Alongside the existing DellConnect, Dell Support and Presto services, Dell has introduced DataSafe Online (available 10th July), providing online storage space for Dell customers. Dell is also prepping PC TuneUp, an application designed to optimise PCs and laptops and automatically fix ongoing computer problems.