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I am currently writing this review using this laptop, so if it dies halfway through my rev...
...just kidding. In fact, the battery life is one thing that I have noticed is pretty good about this laptop - I would estimate it's got about 3 hours before it needs a recharge, which is pretty good. We've had it now for about 3 years and (touching wood) we have not had any problems with the battery, or the machine as a whole. It uses the satnadard dell power cable/pack/connector so there shouldn't be a problem to replace it if, like us, your house rabbit chews through the original one.
It's slim and pretty light when shut and very easy to transport, but is sturdy enough for a 33 pound (2 and a bit stone) 21 month old baby to stand on without it breaking, which was lucky for us as we didn't intend to test it in this manner - more like 'found her standing on it'! The keys are also sturdy enough to withstand a battering from her too (give it 6 months and I'll have her writing her own reviews... she's seems that keen to use it!). That said it is a little bit bulky and won't easily fit into a standard laptop case.
I find the mouse pad is also good - in the past I've had to switch these off before as they tend to be too senstive and get activated whilst you are typing (meaning you look up and you are suddenly typing in a completely different place - very irritating). A double click is the same as left button mouse click and the two buttons are embedded rather than raised, so you don't catch these either. Having said that, my wife struggles with it as she tends to have limited control over the cursor, so she insists on using a separate mouse. Maybe it's a finger thickness thing?
The main keyboard is nice, with the keys not so small you require a cocktail stick, but no so big that your laptop is the size of a table top! Everything is laid out nicely, allowing easy typing and after three years, they show no signs of ware and tear. The 'lock' indicator lights are along the top (where you'd expect them to be) so you always know what you have switched on/off.
One of the best things about this is the hard disk space available - our daughter was the first grandchild to arrive on both sides of the family, so we have thousands of photos/videos We also like our music, bith have i-tunes accounts and hundreds of MP3s - all of which are stored quite easily. We are not PC gamers, so specifically chose it without that in mind, hence I cannot really comment on it's performance on that front.
Price wise - we paid around £300 about 3 years ago - so it's probably a little bit low spec these days, but was well worth the money. One final point (my wife reminds me) is that it comes in a choice of colours - with the red one we have being her favourite - why that would affect your choice is beyond me, but there we go - the more information the better!
Sitting here now, writing this review on my laptop.
Its never caused me any hassle, no problems or let me down once.
I regularly use this for photoshopping and some programming which this laptop can carry out with ease, no jumpyness or anything, really smooth.
I used to use this every day for uni work until i just got fed up of itand got a netbook because its alot more portable and lighter.
I still use it when ever im at home, but i use my netbook when im out.
- Does everything i need it for.
- No frills laptop
- Looks good
- Can be found for a good price
- Can be upgraded
- Customisable with different internals etc
- Customer service can be a complete pain, they just pass you between different departments.
- Kind of heavy, not something you would want to be carrying around every day.
- Not that portable due to its size.
If youre looking for a good all round laptop then look no further.
If youre looking for something highly portable with a huge battery life then carry on looking.
I purchased this laptop from Dell because of their reputation for good build quality and after sales service. Yet again this is proving to be an excellent choice and a great value-for-money laptop for those with about £500 to spend.
When purchasing a Dell you are able to fully customise your machine. Some of the features i describe here are optional extras and can be omitted from your order. I will review the machine that i purchased.
Windows 7 came pre-installed on the machine so on arrival all i had to do was switch it on. After a short final customisation of Windows i was up and running.
The laptop does look good. It has an elegant glossy black finish giving it a more professional look. The whole unit does not feel heavy or bulky considering it's got a 17" screen. While running there is a constant, but very quiet, hum. This is not loud and will be drowned out by any background noise. When it starts to get hot then the cooling fans kick in and unfortunately they are a little noisy. This machine really does get quite hot. Much hotter than any other laptop i've owned. If you position it on something soft such as your knee or your bed then the hot air won't be dispersed easily and it will get even hotter and the fans will run more often.
The display is everything you would expect without being spectacular. It is a 17" widescreen with a maximum resolution of 1440x900 pixels. It has an anti-glare feature and it sure does work well outdoors. For me the extra screen size is worth the extra money. It really helps with running multiple applications and, of course, those widescreen movies.
The processor (Intel Core 2 Duo running at 2.66GHz) and memory (4Gb) are excellent and allow several power-hungry applications to run easily concurrently. Windows itself boots up and shuts down in impressive times even after i installed all of my application software.
Because of the extra screen width there is enough room for a full size keyboard and number keypad. Unfortunately there isn't quite enough room for a gap between the two and some of the keypad keys are in unusual positions which takes a bit of getting used to. The keys themselves are excellent and I like the soft, but firm, response the keys give.
The Vostro has plenty of ports and connections. There is built in Bluetooth and wireless networking both of which work flawlessly. It instantly connected to my wireless home network and my mobile phone using Bluetooth. Note that the wireless doesn't support the new 802.11.n standard. It has a card reader which accepts memory cards used in many mobile phones and cameras. This is a great additional feature for exchanging files with these devices. There is a headphones socket which I use to plug in my sound system for playing music and movies. There are 6 USB ports for connecting all of your peripherals. There is also a 1394 firewire port which is a nice touch. There is also a port for connecting to a wired network.
There is a connector at the rear for plugging in a second monitor. Those who have a digital monitor will be disappointed, as there is only an analog VGA connector. The lack of a digital alternative is inadequate for todays monitors.
There is a media control panel positioned just above the keyboard. This allows you to control your media applications from the keyboard. There are buttons to play/pause, stop, navigate files (doubling as fast-forward and rewind), increase and decrease volume and mute. It works with Windows Media Player and iTunes but I find that it only functions when the application you're trying to control has the focus which is annoying and rather defeats the object.
There is a fingerprint reader which is supposed to enhance security on the laptop. It allows you to log on to your windows account by scanning your finger over the reader rather than having to type in your password. Unfortunately, every time I try to get it to recognise my fingerprint it fails to work, which is very annoying because it could be a great little feature.
One feature most people look at in a laptop is the battery. I have found that this battery is a little disappointing. It will give you about 4 hours of use. Previous Dell laptops i've owned allowed me to work for 8 hours on a single charge. I know the components these days require more power, but i was a little dissatisfied with the performance of the battery.
Elsewhere there is a good size hard drive at 320Gb, so there's plenty of capacity for storing all your files. A standard DVD writer and a web cam. The BluRay is an expensive optional extra. It's a 1.3MP web cam which does the job well, if not spectacularly.
All-in-all, this is a very good machine. It does have a few niggles but these aren't any major concerns. For me, it is excellent value for money.
The Dell Vostro 1720 is part of the Dell family and I'd never even touched a Dell desktop or laptop prior to being given this as a laptop for work. I'd heard quite bad things about Dell and I associated them with an AOL-type company.
How surprised I was when I first used this Vostro 1720. It's a very nice machine, although there are some niggles that I'd like sorted out before I actually bought one with my own money.
-It's got a 17" screen and a full keyboard including a full number pad. Despite that, it's very light, yet still solidly built. This makes it a lot more likely to survive if it's knocked (unlike the iPad!)
-It's fast, both to boot up and to shut down. Shutting down takes about 5 seconds, which, when compared to my Acer laptop, is super-fast. Booting up takes slightly longer, but I tend to get to my log-on screen in about 40 seconds. You also don't notice any delay when opening applications. Opening a program such as Outlook is practically instant, as soon as I click my mouse.
-It's quiet, even when it's running a CD or DVD, although it can be quite noisy when it's booting that drive up but that doesn't last for long. When it's plugged in, there's a tiny hum, although the fan does tend to kick in when it's not plugged in. Even then, it's not loud at all.
-The screen is bright and doesn't have much of a reflection on it. It is possible to buy an anti-glare coating on this at an extra cost, but I don't feel that it's needed. When looking at the screen, all that's reflected is a bright light behind you, if there's a bright light on, that is!
-There are 8 USB ports on various parts of the laptop, so that you can choose where you want to plug your peripherals in. It's also got a Firewire port and an integrated SD/MMC/MS/Pro card reader. The Firewire is useful for people who use things like Apple products and it moves data slightly faster than the USB 2.0 ports. The card reader means that you can put pictures from your camera onto the laptop faster and with more ease.
- There's a built-in webcam (which I have yet to use, but still, it's there if I do need to use it!). If you do use a webcam, it means carrying less things around with you and less wires.
-There are control buttons on the laptop, just above the keyboard, which are very handy, especially the speaker ones (mute, volume up and volume down). This, especially when you're like me and don't like websites clicking at you, yet sometimes need to hear volume, such as going on YouTube. It means that you don't need to be right-clicking (or in my case, left-clicking) into menus all the time.
-It has wifi and Bluetooth built in, which is always handy, although again those are features that I've yet to use. Useful if you transfer a lot of files from an external device such as a phone, meaning that you don't need a dongle (again, something less you need to carry round).
- The buttons on the keypad are very springy, which makes it easy to type on with less missed letters when you're typing in a hurry. You know when they've been pressed and they give a satisfying little click.
-Mine comes with Windows 7, which is another thing entirely. Suffice to say, I like Windows 7. I've done a full review on Windows 7, if you'd like to read that.
-It does get quite warm. I'm loath to say 'hot' simply because that would be doing this laptop an injustice. There's a lot of technology under the hood, so it's bound to get warm. And to be honest, it's nice in the winter, as I can rest my hands on it to warm them up. Regardless, the heat isn't a factor that should put someone off.
-The power cable. There are two issues with this, in my opinion. Firstly, the power cable plugs into the side of the laptop rather than the back, which is an issue if you're sat with the laptop on your lap in a small space or if you've got your legs crossed with the laptop resting on top of them. Secondly, the cable that leads from the laptop to the box that leads to the electrical socket. This cable plugs into the box at a strange angle and, in my experience, that makes it difficult to plug into some wall sockets.
- The case. Although it looks all nice and shiny, it grabs fingerprints off your fingers and sticks them on the case for all to see! Not quite, but you get the picture.
In all, this laptop has changed my opinion of Dell and, despite the fact that I've said I'd like the niggles sorted out before I paid for this laptop, having written them down objectively, I've changed my mind and I would recommend this Dell Vostro 1720 laptop to everyone. Including myself!