It seems you can’t open a newspaper these days without a flood of leaflets falling out. At least one of those leaflets will be for the latest Dell discounts at prices that can’t be ignored. In this respect the Dell Inspiron 6000 is very much in keeping with this philosophy, and with prices starting at £900 (inc. VAT) you’ll be hard pushed to find a better specified notebook for the price.
Essentially designed as a desktop alternative for those on a budget, the 6000 replaces the 8600 as the company’s widescreen offering. The most immediate difference is the colouring, gone is the dull grey and blue and in comes shiny silver and white. Not only is this a far better looking notebook but Dell has also improved the overall build quality, making for an impressive and sturdy machine.
Fitted with a 15.4-inch TFT screen that comes with a high-resolution screen of 1680 x 1050 pixels as opposed to the high-definition screens we have come to expect from other leading makes, such as Sony and Toshiba. While the high resolution makes for crisp images, you’ll find that the panel doesn’t have that wow factor we like with X-black panels.
Coming with such a panel size means that you’ll have to sacrifice weight, with the Inspiron weighing in at 3.3kg, less than ideal for a notebook but transportable if necessary. With a battery life in the region of four hours, you can certainly get that article written or that DVD watched on the move - even if the film is the cinema version of any Lord Of The Rings film. The keyboard is sat to the back of the mainboard, with a good deal of space for the palms to rest on. The keys are individually mounted and sit firmly to the board. We found that the keys were a little buried away in the case, while this didn’t prove a problem. However, add to this a deep keystroke and the average person will have to strike quite hard for the key to register.
The main specification of the system is based around Intel’s Sonoma platform and comprises a Pentium M 740 processor, supported by 512MB DDR SDRAM and 60GB hard drive. At this price you can expect to pay £900 (inc. VAT).
Dell is offering the 6000 with two quite different graphics options. For those on a budget you can opt for an integrated solution. This will keep the price of the notebook down to £780 (inc. VAT) but it does means that you’ll be limited to how you can use the machine - sure it’ll be fine for DVDs and older games. However, at £900 (inc. VAT) you actually get the ATI Mobility Radeon X300 card. This may be the company’s entry-level PCI-Express card but it has more than enough performance to keep up with games such as Far Cry and Half Life 2. Sadly, you won’t be able to play the latest games with everything turned on but at this price compromises need to be made somewhere and if you were a gamer wanting a laptop, Dell wouldn’t necessarily be your first choice anyway.
When it comes to mixing specification with price, it seems that Dell may well have hit the nail on the head with the Inspiron 6000. While it isn’t the most portable of portables, it has enough firepower and performance to meet all your needs - as long as you opt for the discrete graphics version, that is.