Dell Inspiron M101z: Fresh netbook for freshers

The Dell Inspiron M101z is a high-end netbook powerful enough to cope with everything freshers' week can throw at it

Ah, university. Crave remembers those heady days well -- hang on, no we don't, probably because of all the snakebite and black involved. Occasionally we even went to lectures, and we'd have given our right arm for a light, powerful laptop. The new Dell Inspiron M101z is a high-end netbook beefy enough to cope with both edumacation and after-lecture shenanigans like gaming and high-definition movies.

The 11.6-inch M101z sports a glossy 1,366x768-pixel WLED display for HD playback. You can also output high-definition content via HDMI. The case is slick-looking enough to win admiring glances in freshers' week, with a swirly patterned lid that's the latest in "contemporary lux looks", apparently.

Inside, the M101z packs an AMD Athlon II Neo single- or dual-core processor and integrated ATi graphics. It throbs with up to 8GB of fast 800MHz DDR3 memory and storage up to a 320GB SATA hard drive.

Other bits and bobs include a 1.3-megapixel webcam, two 1.5W speakers, a seven-in-one memory card reader and three USB 2.0 slots. One USB socket features Powershare so you can charge your phone or MP3 player while the laptop is asleep. It includes 802.11n Wi-Fi -- that's the best kind -- and Bluetooth 3.0. Skype comes preinstalled.

The M101z will get you through a long day of lectures, Dell claiming up to 6.5 hours of operation with the standard battery. A larger nine-cell battery will be available later this year.

The Dell Inspiron M101z will start at £380 and will come in four studious colours: lotus pink, peacock blue, tomato red or a plain black version with no pattern. That's quite pricey for a netbook, so you may have to cut back on brightly coloured skinny jeans, turkey twizzlers and posters of the Pope smoking dope.

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