Written on: 14/11/2010
- Dell Inspiron M301z netbook
- 479 pounds
1. AMD Athlon II Neo K325 (dual core) runs at 1,3 Ghz (each core, I understand, so 2.6 Ghz together)
2. 4GB of RAM memory (according to manual runs at 800 MHz, not 1333Mhz declared in other places).
3. 13,3 inch glossy display, maximum resolution 1366 X 768, (a few other resolutions available, although not all cover the whole screen).
4. Camera with 1,3 pixel quality (definitely better than 0,3 pixel!)
My Inspiron M301z arrived very securely packed. Appearance is very appealing. Yes, it's made of plastic but from short distance looks more like metal cover.
Very comfortable, responsive keyboard, with dual functions of the top row of keys. All keys are 100% size of normal desktop keyboard, however the very top row takes a bit more precision to use (still very good access).
Touchpad is pretty responsive, just takes a bit of time to get used to. Basically the more accurate the movements of your fingers, the better its response will be. You can, for example, tap it once at it will work like left click of the mouse or zoom in and out (text or pictures) with two fingers! I love it!
Very lightweight, extremely portable - so great to travel with! I wouldn't recommend traveling with notebook alone (it gives a bit fragile feeling), it definitely needs a proper bag to carry. I bought one advertised by Dell - they complement each other very well.
Battery life is good enough for me, however there are laptops with longer life (rather 15 inches ones). With light use (say listening to the radio on internet, with screen off) it can reach around 4 hours. I think it's a great performance. With heavy use like basic video editing (I use avs4you software) it will last for just a bit longer than 2,5 hours. Still not bad for processor spinning at top speed most of the time.
People I talk to on Skype say that camera produces respectable quality, definitely much more impressive than 0,3 MP cameras on other laptops. Microphone works well too, despite the fact that its presence is hard to notice (everything technical is so small nowadays). Of course I wouldn't expect it to gather good quality sound from 3 meters away but with close encounter it's very good.
Screen quality is just outstanding! I never expected anything like that from laptop. Coulours are so vibrant and when you set it to top brightness it would literally blind you, when used in dimmed light conditions. I never use it on top brightness, somwhere in the middle of scale is absolutely fine (I use lower setting when on battery). All my pictures are shown in very impressive detail, and gradiations of colors are impeccable. There are however two drawbacks of screen. The first is that horizontal angle of view is limited but remember that even much more expensive models suffer from this limitation. What's more - you don't jump up and down in front of your laptop. Vertical angle of view is pretty impressive, so when 2 people sit close beside you they should be able to see nearly everything. Another slight problem is the amount of reflections on the screen. Yes, it's rather glossy, so you have to make sure that there are no powerful sources of light behind you. Once you take care of it it's absolutely fine. I quess amount of reflections is the price for really punchy and deep colours available to you.
Inspiron M301z will wonderfully handle all basic tasks, like internet use (including Skype), text editing as well as large graphic files editing. My husband tried working on his 35Mb RAW files from professional DSLR and it was perfectly possible. You will also be able to watch High Definition video, which is very nice accent. You should not however expect to be able to seamlessly edit this HD video. With such a task this laptop will offer certain delay. I quess once output is produced it could play OK but haven't got time to verify it yet.
Speakers produce nice sound, especially at the medium and higher level of spectrum, a bit less impressive at the bottom of the scale. Listening to the 'spoken' sound doesn't produce any inconvenient distortions.
The only thing I was initially worried about was that some windows in Windows 7 operating system would not show fully - the very bottom was often cut, so it was difficult to press 'OK', 'Apply' or 'Cancel' buttons. You can always turn the whole display to the side (Yes! it's possible!) and press it anyway but after some time I got it sorted. Now all windows open fully. I also had initially problems with presence of Window of Dell DataSafe Local Backup, proposing upgrade of the software. I had to change resolution to reach 'no' button and it's alright since then (I admitt dragging it right to the corner earlier).
Other things I remember - it's great in conjunction with 'Kindle for PC' software! Reading books with this software on this laptop is the purest digital joy you can have with written word. In addition amount of ports (connections) is impressive for this price, although you need to buy pretty slim HDMI cable, as the port is located very close to the base.
One more small drawback - four rubber 'legs' on the base are veeery short, so you have to pick the device up/put it down very carefully in order not to scratch the edges.
Altogether Inspiron netbook does all I need in very convenient manner. Despite some minor drawbacks I'm really pleased with this purchase. Working on that display alone is pure joy.
I hope this review has given you better idea about this product.