Processor: Intel Core2Duo T5250@1.5GHz
RAM: 2GB DDR2 RAM
Graphics Card: nVidia 8600m GT
Hard Disk: 160GB SATA HDD
Display: TFT or Active Matrix Screen
First Impressions: The first thing you notice when the laptop is delivered to you is the packaging, it is really good, the laptop came in a Knee-length box with protective covering above and below the laptop. The box size really surprised me, and others too! People kept asking me if it's a desktop, and were unwilling to believe that it's a laptop! The box comes with Windows XP SP2 Re-install CD, a Drivers and Utilities DVD, Dell MediaDirect Re-installation CD, Roxio Creator and MyDVD 9.0 DE CD, Dell Webcam Manager Installation CD. The box also contains a Quick Setup Reference Guide, Dell MediaDirect installation manual, Complete Cover agreement booklet, and a rather thick 220 page Owner's Manual. In addition, a pair of Creative's Noise Isolation earphones (ie, in-ear canal ones), Dell MediaDirect remote and of course, AC adapter.
Looks & Weight: The Dell Inspiron looks really good, the RubyRed colour had a smooth satin finish. Inside it is a matte-silver finish, which looks great but can get dirty really quickly, especially at the touchpad and buttons area. The Inspiron isn't light though, weighs in about 3 kilos. The indication LEDs for NumLock, CapsLock, HDD access, power, WiFi and Bluetooth and the MediaDirect keys all are Blue in colour and they look awesome at dark. The keyboard isn't illuminated though and may cause a bit of problems if you work or play late night. But overall the looks are fantastic!
Hardware Detection: Under Windows all the hardware worked great with any additional hardware detected easily. No problems with this.
Performance & Battery Life: Battery wise, I'd opted for a 9-cell battery, and under Windows battery easily lasts for about 3 hours 15 minutes, for normal Word processing, Web browsing and media playback. The initial performance wasn't good. Although games would run smoothly, playing movies and even mp3s would result in stutters in between. The first boot was manageable, the second and subsequent boots were pathetically slow, taking over 2 minutes! Upon investigation choices in BIOS, I found that the SATA mode was set to ATA, instead of AHCI mode. Switching over to AHCI mode resulted in a tremendous boost in performance. The bootups were much faster and the stuttering problems vanished. I can't understand as to why Dell have set the SATA mode. Me being technically inclined, I checked out the BIOS options and was able to figure it out. What would an ordinary user do? The person would definitely be flabbergasted with the slow bootup! I seriously hope that this was an isolated event. Otherwise the Inspiron is a fast performer.
The LCD has a native resolution of 1280—800, the viewing angles are pretty good, as long as colour is being displayed. For scenes containing lot of dark images, the viewing angle can cause a bit of problem.
Sound Quality from the inbuilt speakers is top-notch, the bundled Earphones are also very good, except for the really annoying hissing sound when nothing is being played. Otherwise it's just great.
Support: You really need not worry about support. Dell has one of the best Customer Service over phone and the website is also good. The integrated Dell Support Centre also of great help.
Final Thoughts: The Inspiron is a great VFM laptop. It looks great, performs excellently Although it's bulky, it's an ideal desktop replacement, especially if you dont have space for a desktop.