The Dell 640M notebook has from today been dropped from the lineup of available laptops from Dell
Possibly by the end of this month and certainly by the end of July I expect there to be a completely new lineup of laptops available in the Inspiron and XPS range.
The XPS1210 is the next for the chop within a few days from now as stocks are exhausted, followed by the 6400.
Dell Inspiron 1520 Review
The Dell Inspiron 1520 is the latest 15.4″ mainstream notebook from Dell. It features the new Intel Santa Rosa chipset, meaning it has a faster 800MHz Front Side Bus and larger 4MB of cache available. Simply put, the Dell Inspiron 1520 is faster and an upgrade to the previous Dell Inspiron e1505.(read 6400 for UK) Best of all is that it looks a lot better and no ugly white bumpers!
Dell Inspiron 1520 Available Specs
Processors Intel Core 2 Duo (up to 2.2GHz 800MHz)
Chipset Intel 965PM/ GM
Memory 1‐4 GB DDR2 SDRAM Up to 667MHz
Storage SATA Hard Drives Options: 80, 120, 160 GB
Optical DVD/CD‐RW Combo , DVD+/‐RW with Dual Layer DVD+R write capacity, or Blu‐ray Disc Drive
Graphics Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 3000, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS with 128MB DDR2 dedicated graphic memory, or NVIDIA GeForce Go 8600M GT with 256MB DDR2 dedicated graphic memory
Displays 15.4 UltraSharp Wide Screen UXGA (1920×1200) display, with TrueLife, 15.4 Wide Screen XGA+ (1440×900) display with TrueLife, or 15.4 Wide Screen XGA+ (1440×900) display
Network & Wireless Integrated 10/100 LAN and 56k modem, internal Wi‐Fi (802.11g, a/g, or draft n), and optional Bluetooth
Mobile Broadband Integrated EV‐DO (Rev A) from Verizon & Sprint or HSPDA from Cingular options
Colors Jet Black with matte finish or Alpine White with gloss finish, Ruby Red, Midnight Blue, Spring Green, Sunshine Yellow, Espresso, or Bubble Gum Pink with microsatin finish
Media Card Slot 8‐in‐1 flash memory reader supporting Memory Stick, SD, SDIO, SDHC, SDHD, MS, MS Pro, MMC and Xd formats.
I/O Ports 4 USB 2.0, VGA, IEEE 1394, S‐Video, Two Type IIIA Mini‐Card Slot
Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic, Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium, Microsoft® Windows Vista Business, and Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
Battery 6‐cell 56WHr Li‐Ion Battery or optional 9‐cell 85WHr Li‐Ion Battery
Dimensions & Weight: (h) 37.3 mm (1.47 inches) front 45 mm (1.65 inches) back/ (w) 358.7 mm (14.12 inches) / (d) 269 mm (10.59 inches)
Weight Preliminary weight starting at 3.0 kg (6.61 lbs)
Warranty 1 year limited warranty standard with options up to 4 years
The Inspiron 1520 is available in various colors, which is great to see from Dell as they have a reputation for stodgy and boring design in the past. Gone are the ugly white bumpers we have become so used to seeing on the Inspiron series. You can get the lid color of the 1520 in black, white, red, blue, green, yellow, espresso (my personal favorite) or even pink for the juicy couture crowd out there. The lid is nice in that its not glossy and will not attract finger prints, which is a problem with the glossy style HP notebook finishes. I went with the espresso finish selection and love it.
The Inspiron 1520 lid is very sturdy, it seems to be made of some type of magnesium alloy. The keyboard area has no flex and the keyboard feels great overall. I have no concerns with this notebook cracking or coming to pieces after only a year. Something that happened to my last cheap plastic Averatec notebook did.
Processor and Performance
The new Intel Santa Rosa platform is very nice in terms of faster overall speed and performance, plus you get better integrated graphics performance with the X3100. You can also opt for dedicated graphics in the form of the NVIDIA 8400M or 8600M graphics cards. The 8600M card will give you good enough graphics performance for playing games. The X3100 integrated graphics is better for those who just want to use their notebook for Office related tasks, surfing the web and checking email. I dont play games, so I just went with the X3100 options.
The 1520 offers up to 802.11n speed wireless and of course comes standard with 802.11 a/b/g wireless for those older routers. To be honest, although I got 802.11n wireless and have an 802.11n router I didnt see a whole lot faster performance with wireless. Still, it worked well and I had no problems with dropped connections. A nice bonus is the fact that you can now get an integrated broadband cellular modem. So if you want Verizon EVDO built-in to your 1520, you can do that. Just be ready to pay for those Verizon charges! Bluetooth is of course an options as well.
The 15.4″ screen on this notebook is lovely. I went with the glossy TrueLife option as it offers better contrast ratio on the screen. TrueLife is great for viewing movies, sure you get a bit of reflection in office like settings, but overall the viewing experience is better. Dell offers up to a 15.4″ WUXGA screen for those High Definition nuts out there, I went with a WXGA+ display resolution which is also slightly cheaper.
Yes, you get an integrated web cam option with the Inspiron 1520, which is great. I love to use this for video chat with some friends of mine in California 1,000 miles away. Its also handy for taking a quick picture to add to your favorite dating website if youre into that. Or if youre older, married and have a new baby to keep track of its a handy way to communicate with Grandma and Grandpa and show them how Jr. is growing each week.
An all important aspect of a notebook is of course what ports that it offers. With the Inspiron 1520 you get a good selection. You have 4 USB 2.0 ports, which is ample. You also get a FireWire (IEEE 1394), S-Video, 7-in-1 Media Card Reader, monitor out, headphone out, microphone in, modem, Ethernet and modem, and an ExpressCard slot. Theres no DVI or HDMI port which might dissapoint some people, but for basic users such as myself everything is there that you need.
I went with the 9-cell battery because I just like longer battery life and dont mind a little extra weight which comes with having a larger battery. Under normal usage I get up to 4 hours of battery life, thats with screen at near to full brightness and wireless on. Im pleased with this.
Other Cool Features
You get a built-in remote for controlling the Inspiron 1520 across the room, I thought that was a nice touch. The multimedia buttons on the notebook are nice for controlling movies and such as well.
Another great thing is that you can customize the amount of bloatware that comes with the notebook! Yes, you can tell Dell to leave the crap software off of your hard drive that you dont want and wont use. Kudos to Dell for this.
Overall a thumbs up on the Inspiron 1520. The price is pretty reasonable, starting at under $1,000 for a basic configuration. Theres an extra cost to customize the color of around $20, but I think thats worth it and a cool option. The build quality is good, my customer service experience has been good and the notebook performance is exactly where it needs to be. Maybe making Michael Dell CEO once again is already paying its dividends for the company.
Here to specs on others in the new lineup