"A fantastic machine."on by ahast
Pros Great looking screen, solid keyboard, powerful performance. Good price!
Cons Poor battery life, keyboard may be small for some...integrated graphics.
Summary I've had the Dell 700m for about 7 months now (I was one of the first to get one). It is quite excellent.
I get lots of compliments on it's size and weight, and typically hear "That is the nicest screen I have ever seen on a laptop". I'm running off of a 1.6 GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, 80 Gig HD, etc. Believe it or not I actually use this for my web design company, and it handles everything quite well. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and ImageReady all open at one time tends to have issues when switching between apps, but once it's focused on one application it really cranks out the speed. The keyboard is incredibly sturdy, feels as good as my old IBM Thinkpad, however the keys are a tad bit smaller than standard keyboards. No matter what anybody tells you, you will get used to it within a week. The most difficult thing about the keyboard was the ", . /" keys are only half the size of the already small other keys. But other than that, it is a joy to type on.
The screen is absolutely stunning, definitely a real eye catcher. The gloss can be distracting in areas of high sunlight and reflections, but I find that when I crank the brightness up, it appropriately quashes the problem. Very high resolution, 1280x800, widescreen, looks great when watching DVD's and nice with games too.
The Pentium M chip that it uses (up to 2.0 GHz) is the Dothan series - despite the fact that they now have the new Sonoma chipset out, still works very well. I run off the lowest end chip, the 1.6 and it still runs everything incredibly well.
The cons, the battery life is only about 2 hours with the 4 cell battery, which I think is unacceptable for a quasi-ultra portable like this. However, if you buy the optional 8-cell battery it increases it to around 5, which is plentiful. The Pentium M chip does a great job of controlling battery life. Consider getting both a 4 cell and an 8 cell on the side, as the 8-cell adds like half a pound to it's weight and protrudes out of the back.
The only other con - the graphics card! I didn't buy it to play games, but I sometimes wish I had bought another laptop when I try to play one. Although it does play most 3d games quite well (WoW, Sims, Call of Duty) just to name a few - you can definitely feel the need for some standalone graphic memory when you're doing some heavy graphic work.
Overall, it scores a 9/10 - because I like everything about this machine except for the graphics card, since 10/10 is considered "Perfect", this machine falls short of that solely because of the integrated graphics. If you're not using it for games at all - then you'll easily rate this a 10/10.
Pros Size, portability, display
Cons Pointing device, support
Summary This is a computer designed for road work. If you're looking for massive display space or gaming, don't buy it. If you're constantly fighting the battle of grabbing your laptop screen a split-second before some goofus body-slams a airline seat into full recline, this IS your computer.
While part of my work as a trade-magazine editor involves soft-proof of pages and other graphics tasks, the majority of what I do involves text editing and email. The smaller-sized display is great for both. And, the fact that it's more-reflective than other screens is a matter of personal taste -- I often work outside in bright sunlight, and I've found the 700m to be one of the easiest to read, and the reflection factor is greatly reduced by the intense brightness of the display.
The touchpad does feel like a cheapo plastic addition. I added a $20 USB mini-mouse, which I prefer to any touchpad/mini-stick laptop configuration, and disable the touchpad for anything but checking email.
My CD-drive door latch broke after about 10 uses, and the email-only response I got for tech support was a bit disconcerting. It took three separate emails to convince a real person that I needed a new drive. (The automatic "let me guess your problem" doesn't help, Mr. Dell.) Once someone understood my problem, the drive arrived via air express the next day.
OK, it's not a wow design, and the long-life battery sticks out. But this is a tool, not a fashion accessory.
"Value portable"on by benjaminchoi
Pros Lighter than most laptops, bright and sharp widescreen, good battery life (with 8-cell battery)
Cons Small fonts, weighs 2.1kg with 8-cell battery, only 2 USB ports
Summary I bought this for US$1190 with 1.6GHz processor, 512MB RAM (free upgrade during a promotion), 40GB 5400rpm hard drive, and DVD-R/CD-RW combo drive. I didn't order any software upgrades, so it comes with the most basic set of productivity software (Windows XP Home + Microsoft Works). I haven't found any other laptops of similar weight and performance for under US$1300, so this is as good as it gets. I considered an Inspiron 6000 but decided weight was more important than having a new chipset which would be deprecated by the release of the dual-core mobile processors next year.
My first thought was that it was heavier than I expected. 2.1kg is much better than my previous laptop, but for the size of the 700m 2.1kg is fairly hefty. The 8-cell battery weighs 450g and the laptop itself only 1.65kg, so I suppose with the 4-cell battery you would get better weight. Still, I often need power for long periods, and a slightly heavier battery is better than being tied to a power socket. It's small and light enough to carry with one hand and type with the other, but you shouldn't expect to do this for extended periods of time (this is no tablet PC!)
The screen is sharp and bright, and the widescreen gives me plenty of room to work with. The small fonts put a bit of strain on my eyes, but if you have a utility to force font size to increase it shouldn't bother you that much. The screen is reflective, but under normal lighting conditions you shouldn't notice reflections of background objects.
I'm not exactly a touch typist and my hands aren't very large, so the small keyboard doesn't bother me (I type only with my index fingers and occassionally my other fingers, so if you're that kind of typist and your hands aren't big, the keyboard should be fine). My typing is somewhat slower than on a full-sized desktop keyboard, but it's not particularly frustrating. The exception is the removed pageup/pagedown keys, which I use quite a lot.
The boot-up of Windows XP is fast. I'd say it performs somewhat better than my 2.4GHz Northwood Pentium 4 desktop. If you get it with 512MB RAM you should be able to work quite comfortably with many applications open. The RAM is DDR not the newer DDR2, which is in a way good because DDR has faster access times but lower bandwidth (I don't need the speed and bandwidth very badly though).
There are only 2 USB ports, and they are inconveniently located at the left side of the notebook (so my mouse cable needs to snake over to the right side). If you're going to be using a USB printer to print data from your thumbdrive and use a USB mouse to perform these operations (or worse still if you have big hands and need a USB keyboard), you'll be in a bit of trouble.
There are a few bonuses not found on some ultraportables (though the 700m isn't exactly an ultraportable), such as an SDCard slot. I generally don't use these extras however.
3D performance is far from great, thanks to the integrated Intel Extreme Graphics 2. My notebook scored 2401 on 3DMark2001, which isn't bad, but it won't play the latest games such as Half-Life 2. It's more than enough for some 3D games like Tux Racer though.
I won't comment on bundled software since I'm planning to install Linux.
Generally the Inspiron 700m is quite good, even with the aforementioned drawbacks. The price makes it even better (though you should wait until you can get it with 512MB RAM and 8-cell battery for under US$1200).
Get it if you meet the below criteria:
- 3kg desktop replacements strain your back
- You have medium/small hands (say 15mm-wide fingers?) and are not a superfast touchtypist
- You need lots of battery life and don't mind 2.1kg OR 2.5 hours of battery life is sufficient for you and a 1.8kg laptop will suit you
- You watch widescreen-format movies such as DVDs on the road
- You don't play the latest 3D games
- 2 USB ports will serve your needs
- You are not extremely concerned about having the newest Sonoma, GMA900 and DDR2 RAM
- You are on a budget, but not a shoestring budget
- You sometimes need to make presentations (in school?)
- You are not looking for a tablet-like gadget which allows you to write as you walk
- You understand that if you get it for the price I did, you won't get WinXP Pro OR MS Office.
Pros Size and Weight
Cons Everything Else.
Summary My new Dell Inspiron 700m arrived a little more than a week ago. Immediately upon receiving it, there was a problem. One of the two USB ports didn't work. After technical assistance failed to fix the problem, they dispatched a person to repair it. The technician came four days after the problem was reported. I took time off work to wait for the repairman to arrive. When he arrived, he replaced the motherboard. The USB ports worked, so he left. Immediately after he left, I tried to log onto the internet. The modem didn't work. I tried online technical assistance several times from several computers, but it was unavailable. I called technical support on the phone, and was on hold for more than an hour and a half before I gave up. I tried again later, and gave up after waiting for an hour. I then called customer service, because I considered this a customer service problem at this point. After waiting half an hour for a customer service representative, the representative was very unhelpful. I asked to speak with her supervisor, and she refused and hung up on me. Then, I tried to gain technical support via email. I received a stock answer that in no way addressed my concerns well after the 6 to 12 hours an answer was promised. I finally connected with tech support online. They’re juggling so many people at once they can’t even track the progress of the conversation. They keep asking the same questions over and over. I asked to speak with an online chat supervisor, and again was refused. These people must not have supervisors or quality control oversight. I have been trying to reach Dell to resolve this for several days. (They also failed to send me a drivers/resource disk. One tech said that was what PC restore is for. PC restore resets the computer to original factory setting. It’s ridiculous to think the system needs to be restored every time a driver needs to be reinstalled.) If you’re lucky enough to get a Dell that isn’t a lemon, then no problem. However, I’ve had two major problems right out of the box, and Dell’s tech support is a huge waste of time. To date, this problem remains unresolved. I spent a great deal of money on it, and have yet to be able to use it. Maybe Dell doesn’t care about one lost customer. From the customer service I’ve had (or not had) so far, that is certainly my impression. I intend to send the computer back.
"The Dell 700m is for the person on the go that needs portablity with performance to run the basics."on by TheDA
Pros Very light and compact, feature rich, bright widescreen display, an inexpensive solution
Cons USB ports on left side, needs upgrade to 8 cell battery for longer use, performance is a little sluggish when not plugged in. The smaller keyboard takes some getting used to.
Summary Face it, when it comes to looking for a notebook you have lots of options. You can choose a light notebook with a processor that is lagging behind the best technology, or you could choose a monster Desktop Replacement that is sure to create some major back problems. I for one think the Dell 700m is a nice mix of portability and performance. However, if high performance is a huge desire, you ought to upgrade to the 2.0Ghz processor, load up on memory, and still be prepared for minor dissapointments. Also, and I might be crazy, but the machine seems to run better when plugged in than when running off the battery.
Before I continue, here are the basic specs of the machine I purchased:
P4 2.0Ghz, 400Mhz FSB
512mb RAM (Single DIMM)
Win XP Pro
24X CD-ROM, with DVD Playback
8 Cell 5 hour Batt and 4 Cell Auxiliary Batt.
When I started looking for my new notebook a month ago, I was incredibly impressed the first time I saw the Dell 700m. I was at a conference and I saw it peaking out of a woman's purse. At first I thought to myself, Pocket PC, but I soon discovered the truth. I could not help but think immediately that the 700m was for me. Not only that but I am a loyal Dell customer to begin with. Every experience I have had with their customer service has been top notch and their pricing is unmatched due to their ability to scale down manufacturing time. Also, since their PCs are built to order, they are warehousing costs are significantly scaled down. They pass the cost reductions to their customers.
As I started going through the research, I was impressed with its score of 8.1 by CNETs reviewer. Other customers who reviewed this machine did not think as highly of it, but frankly I think most people who review products are only doing so because they have had a bad experience. Most of those reviews had no text, no basis, and no clear cut reasons why they felt this machine was so inferior. So that is what I am here for today; to give you all an honest review that you can compare to the CNET review.
The Review: (no benchmark tests)
Lets start with the looks; it is gorgeous. The USB slots are on the left side of the keyboard which is not great for a right handed user who wants to plug in a mouse; the rest of the layout is great. Reviewers have pointed out that there is no Firewire input but personally I have never had any devices that use Firewire anyway. On the left side of the machine are two USB ports, SD card reader, external monitor plug, and 1 PCMCIA (PCI Slot these days?). On the right hand side is the modem, Ethernet, modem, AC power input, S-Video and CD/DVD drive. The 1394 connection, microphone, and Headphone jacks are housed in the front. No device connections are in the back of the unit because that is where the battery is connected. This is a great feature because when using the machine on AC power with a fully charged battery you can disconnect the battery. This will increase the batteries life span. Laptops I have used in the past have the battery built into the bottom of the machine leaving a huge hole in it when it is removed. If you buy this machine, remember to take advantage of this feature.
The mouse is a touchpad that has been sprayed silver to match the rest of the equipment. The mouse pad however does have a form of scroll despite some reviewer's claims. It is there; just different. As for the sound you here when you hit the mouse buttons, maybe it is loud, but not annoying. They feel sturdy and well made. If I click and actually disturb someone, I will be shocked. I would not even mention it but some other reviewers have.
The speakers are built-in underneath the screen. They sound crisp and clear. Past machines I have used put the speakers on the base. They have been too small and are muffled by your wrists. These speakers sound great and are heard perfectly due to their positioning.
The reflective screen is awesome. You can view the screen from deeper angles and you don not get the fading when the sun hits it directly. Glare has not been a problem either. The reflective screen was reviewed as BAD by the CNET reviewer, but he just seems to be one of the people that do not like it. Oh well, very rarely do a products come out that are 100% perfect for everyone. The screen is 12.1 inches. Although it is not very large, it is widescreen and has plenty of real estate to have multiple windows open. Seeing text is not a problem either. You are sitting so much closer to a laptop anyway, do you really need 15inches? That is for you to decide.
Performance is good. It is perfect for word processing, checking emails, and surfing the web. I loaded World of Warcraft and was not impressed. It runs a little choppy and is not a power hungry game. Admittedly, I have not tried it with a wired internet connection yet, which could boost the performance a little. Bottom line is it is not going to satisfy any hardcore gaming needs; however, it wasn’t designed for that. In fact, none of the light and thins are made for gaming. You will need a gaming machine to play power hungry titles, but they weigh 9 pounds and are very large. Travel with a 9 pounder day in and day out and let me know how you feel.
Some other features of the 700m are:
Built in Wi-Fi. In fact, I am writing this review in a Mc Donalds, connected to the net for the low cost of $2.95.
Graphics are run off the system memory which is a downside. However, so far viewing regular video has been fine. DVDs and downloaded shows play nicely. As previously stated, World of Warcraft did not seem to like it, but the game was playable despite some choppiness.
There is a built-in SD card reader which is great for Palm owners and owners of any device that uses an SD card. Great feature!
In closing, this machine is sturdy, light-weight, well equipped, and beautiful. If you are a person on the go and need a laptop, I recommend it. If you need to do any hard core graphic design or gaming, look elsewhere, as this machine is not going to bring you joy. Personally, I am probably going to give the 700m to one of my business partners that will get better use out of it than I will. I do not dislike this machine, I am just a power snob. I would rather add a pound or two and get a machine that could handle stronger apps a little better, while my associate's main purpose will be getting emails on the road. However, this machine scores an 8.9 for what it was designed for. I will likely try the Inspiron 6000.
Please email/IM me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to ask me any questions about this machine.