My new laptop just arrived two days ago, so I figured I'd take a day or two and see what it's like.
It's a Dell Studio 15, and I paid $750 for all of this:
- 15.4" widescreen display, 1280x800 with adjustable brightness
- Very nice touchpad, with integrated up/down and left/right scroll pads
- Windows Vista Home Premium w/ SP1
- Intel T5750 2.0GHz dual-core processor
- 3GB dual channel DDR2 RAM
- ATi Mobility Radeon HD 3450, 256MB
- 320GB SATA hard drive, 5400RPM
- Integrated Wireless-G
- 8x slot-load DVD-DL writer
- Integrated speakers (shit quality) but with inputs for two headphones and a microphone
- Integrated 2.0 megapixel camera and microphone array
- VGA and HDMI outputs
- SD card slot
- PCMCIA slot
- 4 USB ports, 2 on each side
- FireWire port
- Integrated support for anchor
- 6-cell battery, between 2-3 hours on High Performance, closer to 4 hours on Power Save mode
- WoW 10-day trial
So far, I have to say I'm quite impressed. The screen is a great size, and it's beautiful, especially at full brightness. I got the lowest resolution (other options being 1440x900 and 1920x1200) but it's nothing at all to complain about. Bootup time is pretty quick too.
This is also my first experience with an ATi graphics card as well. It's not quite the nVidia 8800GT that I have in my desktop, but it runs Team Fortress 2 (only game I've installed so far) on all the highest settings more or less flawlessly. Very little graphic slowdown with 16 players in tight spaces. And the integrated WiFi gets good signals (picks up neighbors' routers much further away than my desktop's USB adapter =p), and I had minimal lag in-game (under 100 ping pretty much the entire time). I'm quite pleased with the graphics capability.
The speakers aren't anything to write home about, with pretty much no bass, but that's to be expected on integrated notebook speakers. However, I plugged my Koss studio monitor headphones into one of the two headphone ports, and it sounds just as good as on my PC. There is also a microphone port, though I don't know why you would need it; the integrated microphone array is high quality and great for in-game voice chat, as long as the speakers aren't on (instant feedback). I've yet to try the 2.0 MP camera, but my phone's camera (the only other camera I have =p) is 1.3 MP, so I expect good things from this.
The touchpad is also VERY nice. It hardly even looks like a touchpad, it resembles the finish of the rest of the notebook, just sunk in about a millimeter. At the bottom and left sides, there are also dedicated scroll areas. They're very nice, apart from occasionally interfering with the actual scrollpad, since there's really no barrier between the two.
This laptop also features touch-sensitive media buttons just above the keyboard, with all the play/stop etc. and also volume controls. The only problem is, they're hard to see when they're not lit up.
Other options that I didn't get include a fingerprint reader, faster processors (up to 2.5GHz), Vista Ultimate, 4GB RAM, 200GB SATA HD @ 7200RPM, with Free-Fall Sensor (don't know what that does), 6x slot load Blu-Ray reader, integrated Wireless-N, Bluetooth, assorted SoundBlaster HD Audio cards, backlit keyboard, extra 9-cell battery, and all kinds of extra software, add on printers, etc.
I opted out of all the optional software packages, because I use avast! antivirus for free, and OpenOffice.org instead of Microsoft Office. Aside from Google Desktop, which is very easily removable, Dell didn't really include any preloaded crapware, which makes me happy.
Overall, I'm very happy with this, and I don't think I could have made a better choice for this budget for a notebook, especially now that I'm leaving for college in a few weeks. I recommend this notebook to anyone looking for decent power on a budget. It won't run Crysis on Very High, but it seems to have no problems with Source-based games. And I'm eager to check out the included World of Warcraft free trial. =p
God damn...that was probably the biggest waste of typing energy I've ever made. =/
Very nice review, makes me mad that I spent nearly $1500 on my Latitude 830 for specs that are only a little better
Hah, they are sold for about the same price in pounds here in the UK - £700, roughly $1200. Sheesh.
I had my eye on the HP DV5-1015EA. Not brought myself round to buying it, mainly because I don't really need it and it's expensive (but worth it):
Core 2 Duo P8400, 4GB RAM, 250GB HD, Blu-Ray drive, GeForce 9200M 256MB
Heh, the Blu-Ray drive probably accounts for about a quarter of that price. =p
Also, this deal was also a special offer from Dell. That same setup would normally cost $850 to build on their website.