I have owned my Dell Inspiron for just over 4 years, and considering I'm just starting to look around for an upgrade, I thought I should post my comments about this laptop.
First - in four years I have had no trouble with it at all, and it has taken some heavy use (30-40 hours per week), I have dropped it (twice) and spilt coffeee over it a couple of times, and it still keeps coming back for more.
The laptop is easy to use, straight out the box it was set up and ready to go, installed with windows xp and microsoft word. The massive 17 inch display made it a perfect choice for watching /dvd's, offering crystal clear picture quality and impressive audio capabilities from the built in mic. Compared to more up to date versions, the unit could now be said to be a little large and heavy, but hey, that's progress for you.
So, if it is so good, then why am I looking to replace it I hear you ask? Well, I've hit the magic 4 year mark, so time to update. The 40gb memory is now way inferior for my needs, and in the last month or so the system is geitting a liitle slow. Also, the arrival of a new kitten means that two keys off the keyboard have mysteriosly disattached themselves and vanished......hmmmmm. Also in the last couple of weeks 2 of the 6 usb ports have stopped working, still 4 is plenty, but it is a concern.
So, to sum up, thanks for the memories Dell, it;s been a good 4 years and I have had great value for money from my laptop-but it's time for an upgrade!
Dimensions: 1.6"x 15.5"x 11.3"
Weight: 8.2 lbs
Battery Life: Up to 5.2 hours it says
Hard Drive capacity: 100GB
Hard Drive Speed: 5400 RPM
CD/DVD drive, 6 USB connections
Wi Fi card included
Price: £900 (when I bought it 3 years ago)
Technical jargon over, time to get on to what I actually thought of the laptop.
My laptop did not come in conventional packing as my father got it from work and as a result it had many applications already installed such as Microsoft office, antivirus and many other applications mainly entertainment ones. I got it in a computer bag with AC power supply, mouse and in the box with it was a number of various CDs for various applications and instructions. I was ready to go instantly, setting up my account as administrator. There is a tour which will help you use your computer which is made very simple, I got bored after about ten minutes and turned it off. The laptop itself is quite large due to the wide screen which is great for watching DVDs on. However it is not that heavy and very easy to carry around. There is one CD/DVD drive, however CDs can be copied as there is a CD copying programme which allows you to copy. There are 6USB drives which I must admit I have only used two at once but for people who do need them it would be very useful. I got wireless internet for the laptop as it already has the capability to be wireless and the reception is great. It never falls below very good in the house and I can get reception in my garden. I disagree with the battery life, it may be 5.2 hours if you don't use it and leave it on standby. I can usually use it for just over three hours before it warns me to recharge it.
~~Lights, keys, buttons etc.~~
On the actual laptop there are a variety of flashing lights, keys and other things. The keyboard is black and a standard keyboard. If you are used to desktops it sometimes takes a little while to get used to laptop keyboards but I find it very easy to use. Obviously there is the power button, just above the keyboard in the centre. Next to the power button there are 5 lights which light up representing things such as capital lock, num lock etc. However there is also a WiFi button which is useful to tell when it is on and a Bluetooth button. On the to right hand hinge there is a power light which tells you what status the computer, a hard drive light and a battery button which lights up when charging and flashed orange when your computer is about to die, again very useful. As they are located on the hinge the status the computer is in can be determined when the lid is open and closed. The mouse can be connected to the laptop but personally I just use the built in mouse which is easy to use and responsive. At the front there are 7 media buttons: mute, volume (up and down), play/pause, rewind, fast forward and stop. When one is pressed they light up blue which is handy in the dark. The screen can move 180 degrees, however when the laptop is new the screen is quite stiff and it is hard to move it all the way. There are eight brightness levels for the screen. The speakers are positioned on either side of the media buttons and either side of the keyboard allowing sound to be good quality even when the lid is shut.
~~Problems I have experienced~~
I have now had this laptop 3 years and although I must admit it is on no fewer than 70 hours a week I have experienced many problems although I have a feeling most may be my fault. Firstly the battery started to die and wouldn't recharge. Unfortunately Dell do not include batteries in their guarantee so I was forced to buy my own. I managed to get one for £20 off ebay which wasn't bad. Then the motherboard went meaning the AC supply would not work. And so I kept trying to move the power lead until it did as it would only charge in certain positions meaning the power lead became too damaged to use. They replaced the motherboard for me free of charge and I got a new power lead. I also was messing about with the keys and I managed to damage one so they came and replaced my keyboard as well. Finally somehow and I can not work out how the lid broke meaning the screen was not properly secure and the lid was not secure. This got worse and eventually resulted (after a lot of cracking noises and other unhealthy noises) that I could not open the screen or close it so it was stuck in one position and if I did force it close it wouldn't open again. This was also replaced free of charge. So within 2 years I have managed to damage quite a few parts to the laptop. The mouse is now starting to wear out and it is becoming less responsive however it still works.
I do like my laptop a lot. It is great for watching DVDs with the wide screen. Although I have damaged the laptop quite a lot it may because I was careless rather than poor design and most things were replaced free of charge as I had a three year guarantee. The laptop is fast (although now getting slower) and does not heat up very much unlike other laptops which is a great safety mechanism. Although now this laptop is quite old, I believe it's a great investment unlike most laptops and is reliable.
Thank you for reading.