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Basic No Frills Laptop
on April 6, 2008
This laptop is a decent choice for those looking for a budget computer. Hard core gamers, enthusiasts, or anyone else looking for high-performance should look elsewhere. But for surfing the internet, office programs, and other basic applications this is a great choice. The dual-core Intel processor is more than enough to run those basic applications smoothly and quickly. The 120GB hard drive is plenty to keep all your music, videos, etc.
You will definitely want to upgrade the RAM to 2GB (the max) from the 1GB it came with. New memory should cost less than $50 at many online computer retailers and it provides a *very* noticeable improvement in performance. Upgrading is very simple, you open the hatch on the bottom of the laptop, remove the 2 memory modules there (2 x 512mb) and install the new modules (2 x 1GB). For those interested, the type of RAM you're looking for is DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) 200-pin SO-DIMM. Although many of those retailers let you enter the model# and it shows you compatible memory you can buy.
The weight listed here at amazon is 9lbs, but the actual weight is much less. This laptop replaces a 4 year old Dell Inspiron that was really over 9lbs and this laptop is significantly less. I'd say probably closer to 6lbs.
This doesn't come with any of the extras you see on more expensive laptops such as memory card readers, media buttons (like play/pause, forward, rewind, etc), extra USB ports (there are only 2), or things like bluetooth or N-wireless (it does come with B/G-wireless). The battery is also rather short, lasting only about 2 hours, a little more or less depending on the selected power profile.
The DVD drive reads and burns CDs and DVDs effortlessy. I don't use iTunes, so I can't comment on other's troubles with it, I'm sure it will influence your choice if that is a program you use frequently.
The screen is very very nice. Very clear and bright, and has a smooth anti-glare glass(?) covering. The build quality is overall very nice and feels solidly built.
For those interested, the Vista Experience scores are as follows:
Memory (RAM)=4.2 (note that changing to 2GB did not affect this score)
Graphics=3.1 (poor due to Intel XMA graphics. this is why gamers should look elsewhere)