Everyone knows Dell, you can't avoid their adverts either in the press or on the TV and the message constantly pumped out is one of “outstanding value for money” and it's one there is little arguing with. After all, everyone loves a bargain.



Which brings us to the Inspiron 630m, which is a highly portable notebook targeted at the entry-level market. Weighing in at 2.7kg, it's light enough for students to take to college and with a footprint of 331 x 237 x 44mm small enough to take anywhere with you.

Part of this size is down to the use of a 14.1-inch widescreen panel, which helps keep things trim. For general day-to-day use and even watching the occasional DVD, users will find little to complain about. As with everything Dell produces, you can upgrade to your heart's content. So, while the 630m doesn't come with an anti-gloss screen, you can opt for one for an additional £40 (inc. VAT), which will give the screen that extra shine.

The body may be small but the keyboard is well spaced and it is comfortable to use. Dell has often been accused of less than sturdy build quality but the 630m is a solid machine with no signs of weakness that we could spot.

At the heart of the machine is an Intel Pentium M 750 processor, which runs at 1.86GHz. While this isn't the fastest chip in the range it's more than fast enough for most tasks and coupled with 512MB of DDR2 SDRAM, we found it handled editing video and transferring it to DVD comfortably. To help things along, there's a built-in DVD rewriter. While it's not dual-layer it is dual-format, so you don't need to worry which media to use. The drive will come in handy as the 60GB hard drive may well quickly grow full if your using the notebook for storing video and music files.

It's not just at home you'll find this machine of use, as we managed to get close to 5 hours of battery life from it, which is certainly surprising for a budget notebook.

The only real problem we found with this machine was the use of integrated graphics, which means you'll be able to watch DVDs and view websites easily enough but you won't be able to play games or anything too graphics heavy.

Verdict

If you can live with the run-of-the-mill graphics, this is a great machine for those on a budget. As with all Dell machines, you can upgrade the base specification but this will be reflected in the price. Considering the machine we had came in at just under £800, it's hard to ignore how powerful it proved.