Pros: battery life, RAM, processor speed, hard drive, HD display, keyboard, includes Office
Cons: size, customer service
The time had come for a new laptop. Although I liked my Sony Vaio Notebook well enough, it had issues and desperately needed a new battery. All in all, it would have cost me over $200 to get it working again. I decided to invest in something new rather than putting that much money into a machine that was over five years old, especially with the deals out there for laptop computers under $1000.
After comparing prices and features all over the place, I ended up purchasing the Dell Inspiron i1750 Laptop computer. It was larger than I wanted, with a 17.3 inch screen. My reservations in this regard had to do with carrying it around. Something this large can be cumbersome, but it's not like I'm a student carrying it around all day. My computer will travel with me from home to the workplace and on the various trips I take. So I decided to go with the larger size computer to get the other features I wanted.
What I was looking for was a computer with a good size hard drive, fast processor, and a fair amount of internal memory. Although I loved the Vaio, over the years the size of the hard drive had begin to drive me crazy. With the Dell Inspiron i1750 Laptop computer I was getting a 500GB hard drive, which would be plenty big enough for all of the photos I download to it from my digital camera and other sources. As I researched processors prior to purchasing, I decided to stick with Intel brand over AMD mainly due to issues of power draw which seem to be an ongoing concern for people running computers with an AMD processor. This computer has an Intel Pentium Dual Core T4400 2.2 GHz processor. In terms of installed memory, there's 4GB of RAM, way up from the memory I'd used in any of the computers I'd been using.
There are a few features of the Dell Inspiron i1750 Laptop computer that sealed the deal for me. One is that it comes pre-installed with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007 Edition. That alone is a savings of $150 over having to purchase it. The other features this touted that enticed me is the battery. It's a 9-cell battery and supposed to last quite a bit longer than batteries in most other computers on the market.
I brought the computer home and it was basically power it up and start using it. There's nothing to really set up. There's a trial version of McAfee virus scan on it which I'll be replacing with the Norton 360 I already have a license for once the trial period runs out. Getting on the Internet was easy. It has a Dell 1397 b/g wireless card built in and found my home network easily and the speed with which it loads internet pages is exceptional. It took a bit of doing to load the software for my wireless printer, which included connecting to Microsoft for an update on the printers Windows 7 would recognize, but I did get it done without too much difficulty.
The screen for this is a 17.3-inch hi-definition widescreen display and it is beautiful to behold. There's an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD integrated graphics card which produces beautiful results. I've watched videos on this as well as previewed photos and the like and it's very enjoyable. Games on it are also nice although the only ones I've used are internet based. The graphics seem to be high quality to view. The drive on this is a 8X dual-layer DVD+/-RW drive and should be good enough for any serious gamer. I copied a DVD I had using this by loading the film from one DVD onto the computer then burning it to a second DVD to give to a friend and the speed was fairly fast without bogging down other programs I was running at the time. Sound is fine as there's a rich, full sound with speakers just above the keyboard.
The Dell Inspiron i1750 Laptop computer has a few features I haven't tried out yet. There's a built-in 1.3MP webcam which I did accidentally turn on one day and viewed myself on the screen. It looked like a decent picture although it's lower quality than what I have in my digital camera. Still, if you're looking for basic video conferencing it's more than adequate. There's a 7-in-1 media card reader on this that I also haven't tried. It makes it easy to download pictures from a memory card without having to plug the camera in.
I love the keyboard on this computer, and that's one of the reasons I am so happy I bought it. With the Vaio, everything was so small I ended up purchasing a notebook stand with a keyboard so I could type easier. The keyboard for this boasts a standard keyboard and a numeric pad besides. The keys are a good size as well, making it less likely for me to come up with misspellings. The touchpad is fine and blends in nicely with the look of the computer. I prefer using a separate mouse, regardless, but this is fine in a pinch.
I haven't run the battery down yet, but I did unplug it for about an hour to see how much it ran down. With a cooling fan plugged in, after an hour it still read that I had more than five hours of battery life left, so if running down the battery is a concern of yours, this is a huge plus for this machine.
Running Windows 7 Professional has been nice too. I love being able to have windows side-by-side so I can type and look at something else without having to be constantly switching back and forth. I've had a few crashes, mostly on the internet, but overall it runs pretty smoothly.
The size of this is intimidating. The weight under specifications says just 7.2 pounds, but it feels much heavier. When closed up, it does have a pretty slim profile. The look of it is nice with a glossy black top when it's folded shut. Opened up you have black trim around the screen and a metallic look surrounding the keyboard. This measured 16.5 inches across and it can be tough finding a case that will fit it for carrying around. Although the screen size could be smaller and wouldn't bother me, I do like this size simply for the keyboard which feels more like something that comes with a desktop.
There are two serial ports on the left side of the computer and one on the right. This works nicely as I still have a port to plug in my iPod or camera once the mouse and cooling fan are plugged in. There's also a network pug and a connection for an external monitor. On the right there's the DVD drive, which is a nice change from dives in the front of the computer. The front has jacks for the headphones and microphone as well as the media card reader.
One other reason I was reluctant to purchase this is Dell's customer service. This comes with a 1-year warranty, but I know from experience when I call Dell that their customer service is farmed out to other countries. I don't like that practice and it's a reason that I was still inclined to choose a Sony computer when I was shopping. However, anything comparable from them would have cost me a considerable amount more. I paid $850 for the Dell Inspiron i1750 Laptop computer which if you factor in what the Microsoft Office Home & Student 2007 edition would have cost me brings the cost for just the computer in at $700 which I think is a steal for the power that comes with this.
I am pleased with this purchase. Although carrying the Dell Inspiron i1750 Laptop computer as a truly portable laptop can be back-breaking and bulky just due to the size for someone who has to pick up and go on a regular basis, it does make a good portable computer in so many other ways I'm willing to deal with it. The price was extremely good for all of the features included with it, making it a good purchase despite the initial reservations I had.
© 2010 Patti Aliventi