The Dell Inspiron 6000 series is a midrange desktop-replacement system with an entertainment slant, appropriate for home and small-office use. Dell sells the system with an almost identical set of options on both its home and small-business sites; the difference lies only in the base configuration that Dell recommends (and the starting price) and the warranty and support options. Check out our full review of a midrange home configuration here.
Dell sells the Inspiron 6000 series online or via phone, and you can choose from a wide range of components to customize your system. The Inspiron 6000 is available with Intel's less powerful Celeron processor, running at 1.3GHz or 1.5GHz, or a Pentium M. If you go the Pentium M route, you can choose between a first-generation Centrino processor running at 1.5GHz and a slightly faster Sonoma processor running at 1.6GHz. So far, the Sonoma platform hasn't borne out a huge boost in performance over first-generation Centrino.
You can load the Inspiron 6000 with up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM, and hard drive capacities range from 30GB to 80GB. Secondary storage options include the base-level DVD-ROM, which will also play CDs; a CD-RW/DVD combo drive; and a multiformat, dual-layer DVD burner. We recommend getting at least the CD-RW/DVD combo. Where wireless is concerned, Dell offers 802.11b/g and 802.11a/b/g cards made by either Intel or Dell itself, plus a Dell-branded Bluetooth card.
Though the Inspiron 6000's 15.4-inch wide-screen display comes standard with a WXGA (1,280x768) native resolution, you can also select WSXGA+ (1,600x1,024) or WUXGA (1,920x1,200) resolutions. WUXGA will give you a ton of screen real estate, but text and numbers will be extremely small--proceed with caution. We're keeping an eye on the recent rash of customer complaints about Dell's notebook screens, but we didn't notice any significant problems with the Inspiron 6000.
Dell backs the Inspiron 6000 with an industry-standard one-year warranty on parts and labor. Toll-free, 24/7 telephone support also lasts for just a year. Dell offers a long list of warranty extension options, including onsite repair, night-and-weekend service, and accidental-damage coverage--but they're expensive. The best part of Dell's support Web site is the customer forum, where users can go to get help from other Inspiron owners, as well as from Dell reps who moderate the forum. Otherwise, the site offers the typical knowledge base and downloads sections.