Dell Inspiron E1505
When we looked at the Dell Inspiron 6000 last March (and again last November), we were pleased, though not blown away: the laptop offered a very solid combination of performance, features, and design at a competitive price. Today, Dell announced an upgrade to that model, the Inspiron E1505, that places it more clearly in the company's line of entertainment-focused laptops (including the E1705).
Upside: The new model weighs 0.4 pound less than its predecessor and contains a raft of upgraded components, including Intel Core Solo or Core Duo processors in speeds up to 2GHz; up to 2GB of swift 533MHz RAM; and a screaming 7,200rpm, 100GB hard drive. In keeping with its multimedia bent, the E1505's 15.4-inch wide-screen display comes in WXGA or WSXGA+ native resolutions. Like its larger sibling, the E1705, the Inspiron E1505 includes Dell's MediaDirect feature, which plays CDs and DVDs and lets you access photos and other media files stored on your hard drive without booting up Windows first. There's also a full suite of ports and connectors, including FireWire, VGA, S-Video, and four USB 2.0 ports, plus both PC Card and ExpressCard slots.
Downside: Much like the company's 14.1-inch, the Inspiron E1505 includes only integrated Intel graphics, with no option to upgrade to a discrete graphics card--surprising for a laptop that aims to be a multimedia hub. The system also lacks the TV tuner found in larger media laptops.
Outlook: With prices starting at $929 (for an Intel Core Solo T1300 processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 40GB hard drive), the Inspiron E1505 could be a great choice for consumers who want a multimedia laptop but don't want to shell out $2,500 for it. We're eagerly awaiting a model of our own in CNET Labs, so stay tuned for a full review.