Many people are starting to look for replacements for their desktop computers. Do you buy a laptop, or another desktop? It is hard to decide because you want the power and flexibility of a desktop, but you also want the portability and small footprint of a laptop. The Inspiron 5150 is Dell’s answer to that question.
- 15″ Liquid Crystal Display
- Mobile Intel Pentium Processer
- Internal Wireless Ready plus internal NIC & modem
- Internal NIC & modem
- GeForce™ FX Go5200
- Built-in stereo speakers
The design of the Inspiron 5150 is simple, yet nice. The colors are very classy, and they look good on this machine. I like them a lot more then the old black boxes that they used to use. The touchpad and buttons are well placed and make using it easy. The display is a generous 15″ of clear and crisp color.
There are several things about the design that I do not like. For example, you only get one programmable quick-launch button and there isn’t a rocker between the mouse buttons for scrolling pages. The keyboard is also hard to get used to because of several buttons that are in different places. For example, instead of being above the arrow keys, the insert and delete buttons are to the right. I prefer to hook up a full size keyboard and use that instead. It is also quite heavy and thick. It weighs in at just over 8.25 lbs. and 2 inches thick. It is not too bad if you don’t want to travel with it a lot, and it just sits on your desk. The power supply weighs an extra 2 pounds and together they make it quite a weighty beast. This particular model also does not come with a docking port. Without a docking port, it looses any possibility to be a viable contender for replacing a desktop PC.
To make up for the missing docking port, and expansion bays there are two USB ports, an S-Video-out port for attaching a TV or extra monitor, and a FireWire port for hooking up a digital video camera or external hard drive. Even though this laptop has wireless internet, it also includes a modem and network card. The network card is in the back and the modem is on the right side. On the left is a Type II PC Card slot, two jacks for headphones and a microphone and a combo DVD/CD-RW drive. You will notice that Dell has left off the outdated serial and PS/2 ports. Dell has also left off expansion bays for additional drives. There is no ways to add a zip drive or floppy unless you do it via the USB or firewire ports.
Even though there are a few design problems, this laptop excels where it counts. The performance of this laptop is excellent. With a 2.8 GHz Mobile Intel® Pentium® Processer, and a 32 MB GeForce™ FX Go5200 you get enough performance to watch your favorite movie while you work. There is not enough graphics power to play any of the most recent games, but if you wanted a gaming laptop then you would buy the Inspiron XPS or 9100. This machine also came with 512 MB of 333MHz RAM so that you can be doing lots of different things at the same time.
I ran several tests to see just how this machine compares to other machines that I had around. I tested a desktop pc that I have been building and upgrading for a couple years. I also tested an Inspiron 8000 I had and of course the Inspiron 5150. These test, were all performed with PCMark™04.
Windows XP Professional; AMD Athlon XP 1700+; 768MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Radeon 9800 PRO 128MB; Western Digital 100GB 7,200rpm
Windows XP Professional; 800MHz Intel Pentium 3; 384MB DDR SDRAM 100MHz; ATI Mobility M4 32MB; Hitachi 20GB 5,400rpm
Windows XP Professional; 3.06GHz Intel Pentium 4; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; GeForce™ FX Go5200 32MB; Fujitsu 40GB 5,400rpm
|Desktop||Inspiron 8000||Inspiron 5150|
|Hard Drive||3560||0 (did not complete)||2812|
As you can see it wasted both the other machines in CPU, Memory and on the overall score. It only fell short on the hard drive because the Inspiron 5150 has a 5400RPM drive and the Desktop has a 7200RPM drive. This is a great little machine and really pumps out the power especially with the Hyper Threading. I didn’t realize it before but Windows considers this a dual processor machine because the processor has Hyper Threading.
While testing the battery, I left the power saving features on just to see how much I could squeeze out of it. Because of the huge 14.8V, 6,450mAh battery and the Mobile Pentium 4, this laptop is set up to run for a long time without external power. Because the processor was specifically made for a laptop, it runs much cooler when you are using battery power and it also uses a lot less power. There are also several other things that help to conserve battery life. For example you will notice that the screen is dimmer when you are on battery power, because the monitor can often be the biggest energy user. It is always good to turnit down a little when on batteries. As far as how long the battery lasted I was able to squeeze 4 hours and 20 minutes with mild use. This is plenty of time to get your work done or watch a couple movies. I was able to get a full 3 hours and 43 minutes while I watched movies before the batteries died, that is very good.
Service and support
Dell does a good job at offering a wide variety of warranties and service contracts. The basic service and warranty offered is an industry-standard one-year warranty This plan includes free parts and labor repairs through return-to-depot service. Toll-free, 24/7 phone support is included in the plan, as well. You can always choose to pay more and get a better warranty. The price can go as high as $300 for the Premium Service Package and CompleteCare Accidental Damage Service for 4 years. Because they offer so many different support options, you are guaranteed to find one that meets your specific needs.
Dell also has an extensive support Web site which includes many features such as a hints-and-tips section, a list of the top 10 FAQs, and a customer community where you can get help from other people.
When it comes right down to it, this is a great machine. There are tons of different options so you can get one to fit your specific needs. You can upgrade just about every feature and Dell will be more than happy to hook you up as long as you are willing to pay the price. The price is actually decent compared to other laptop’s. Where you really start to see a price gouge is when you get all the frills. According to the Dell website, if you bought this laptop with all the upgrades it would set you back roughly $4000. For me that is a bit steep, especially since you can get the top of the line Inspiron XPS fully loaded for about $4,400. But you are not buying a laptop because you are on a budget. You buy a desktop if you want to save money. Again, overall this laptop is a great option for a student or employee who likes to take there work home. If you are looking for a gaming machine or a replacement for your desktop look somewhere else.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|