Dell Inspiron 500M

The Good Good battery life; moderate price; lots of configuration options.

The Bad Very dense screen resolution; moderate speed; one-year standard warranty.

The Bottom Line The thin-and-light Inspiron 500m's many configuration options mean that you can match it to your needs whether you take it on business trips or park it at home.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Battery 7.0
  • Support 7.0
7.5 Overall

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Dell Inspiron 500M
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Review

Dell Inspiron 500M

Intro

Intel's Centrino technology promises longer battery life, and the new Dell Inspiron 500m, a "pure" Centrino thin-and-light for the home user, keeps this promise. The configuration that CNET Labs tested /0-1027-405-21218321-3.html>ran for 3.5 hours on its relatively small battery--not stunning by Pentium M standards, but still it's respectable. And although the Inspiron 500m (little sibling to the Inspiron 600m) is unspectacular in other ways, it's nevertheless an affordable, well-crafted thin-and-light. If you don't want to invest a fortune in your notebook and can live with some of the trade-offs, the Inspiron 500m delivers plenty of working time and adequate performance in a comfortable, capable, Wi-Fi-equipped package. The Inspiron 500m has an understated look, with discreetly rounded edges and a 12.25-by-10.25-by-1.5-inch footprint that's neither ostentatiously big nor post-modern tiny. The 5.4-pound base weight is also acceptable, and it's right in range for that of a thin-and-light. The front edge has no features at all other than the lid latch, while the right side houses only an optical bay holding a plain-Jane DVD-ROM drive. (Stereo speakers hide behind the front edge and produce average sound for a notebook.) For $120 more, the media bay can also hold a DVD/CD-RW drive; a second battery for the bay costs $129.

The left edge has just a solitary Type II PC Card slot, an infrared port, and two audio jacks. The back edge is more crowded, with two USB 2.0 ports; a port each for S-Video, modem and Ethernet, parallel and monitor; and even a serial port. The model that we tested had no floppy drive and no writable-media drive, so backup capabilities are restricted to a USB keychain or an external USB drive, unless you spring for the DVD/CD-RW drive.

Windows XP HomeXP Pro
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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Dell, Inc.
  • Type Pentium M
  • Installed Size 256 MB
  • Capacity 15.4 GB
  • Diagonal Size 14.1 in
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