Dell Inspiron 1000 review: Dell Inspiron 1000

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The Good Inexpensive; large screen; clean design; included Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) card; sturdy keyboard.

The Bad Weak performance; limited configuration options; unimpressive battery life.

The Bottom Line Dell's no-frills Inspiron 1000 delivers the bare essentials for day-to-day computing but offers few options for modification or customization.

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6.2 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 4
  • Battery 6
  • Support 7

Review summary

The most basic and inexpensive model in Dell's home and home-office laptop lineup, the Inspiron 1000 delivers the essentials for day-to-day computing but with few ways to modify or customize it. Dell offers the Inspiron 1000 in three slightly different variations. Depending on screen size, hard disk capacity, installed memory, battery type, and warranty coverage, the system's price ranges from $674 to $893 (as of August 2004). CNET tested the top-of-the-line version, and although we appreciated the Inspiron 1000's simple, clean design and ease of use, it proved significantly slower than other vendors' comparable systems with similar Celeron processors and integrated graphics controllers. As a result, we recommend shelling out a few bucks more for a higher-performing mainstream laptop such as the Gateway M305X or the Toshiba Satellite 1130-S155. The Inspiron 1000 has a symmetrical, angular case design, constructed of an understated matte-black plastic. This laptop measures 1.6 inches thick, 13 inches wide, and 10.5 inches deep and weighs a bearable 6.4 pounds--about average for a mainstream laptop. With its AC adapter, the Inspiron 1000's weight jumps to 7.2 pounds. We recommend shelling out $89 for an additional lithium-ion battery; it'll add another pound to the system's travel weight, but the battery that came with the Inspiron 1000 conked out after just 2 hours, 22 minutes in CNET Labs' tests.

The Inspiron 1000's sturdy lid has a single ribbed, sliding latch that unlocks easily. Its 15-inch screen has a native resolution of 1,024x768, which makes text big and easy to read but limits screen real estate; we wish Dell provided an option for a screen with more pixels, as found on other laptops with 15-inch screens such as the IBM ThinkPad R51 or the Acer TravelMate 8000. The Inspiron 1000's display has a range of battery-saving, progressively dimmer modes; otherwise, the panel looks quite rich, with saturated colors and good contrast. The keyboard feels springy and doesn't sag or clatter, although the Control, Function, Windows, and Alt keys in the bottom row are rather small. Two adequately sized square buttons beneath the Inspiron 1000's square touch pad round out the all-black decor.

Feature-wise, the Dell Inspiron 1000 is a mixed bag. On the downside, it lacks internal wireless network capabilities--unusual even for a bargain-bin laptop these days. However, Dell's current promotion (as of August 2004) includes a free Wi-Fi 802.11b/g card for the laptop's single PC Card slot; still, we'd still prefer an internal card that would require less battery power, besides, we have no idea when this promotion will end. There are no FireWire or S-Video ports either, but the Inspiron 1000 does have a 10/100 Ethernet interface, three USB 2.0 ports, a modem, and a port to connect an external analog display. The laptop's stereo speakers, which are surprisingly loud and clear, line the notebook's front edge; the right edge of the system holds a fixed DVD player/CD-RW drive.

The Inspiron 1000's specs are utilitarian. The system comes with 512MB of memory installed (the maximum it can handle); an integrated graphics controller; and an adequate, though not overly large, 40GB hard drive. The notebook runs Intel's low-cost, old-school Celeron processor, so even compared to other Celeron-based systems, the Inspiron 1000 is slow; in fact, it's the slowest 2.0GHz Celeron notebook that CNET has tested.

Dell provides a reasonable software bundle for the price. Microsoft XP Home comes preloaded, and Dell throws in the capable but dated WordPerfect 11.0 word processor and Quattro Pro 11.0 spreadsheet software, along with Microsoft Money 2004, and several CD- and DVD-recording utilities (even though the notebook lacks DVD-recording capability).

Mobile application performance
The Dell Inspiron 1000 uses a SiS M650 graphics adapter, which borrows 64MB of memory from the main system RAM. Though this type of setup is not always bad, the Inspiron 1000's configuration degrades overall system performance. The Inspiron 1000 turned in one of the worst scores we've yet seen from a comparably configured mainstream laptop notebook--35 percent behind the Gateway M305X, which has even less RAM.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2002 performance rating  
Toshiba Satellite A10-S100

To measure maximum notebook application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark 2004, an industry-standard benchmark. Find out more about how we test notebooks.

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

System configurations:

Dell Inspiron 1000
Windows XP Home; 2.2GHz Mobile Celeron; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; SiS M650 64MB (shared); Hitachi Travelstar 40GNX 40GB 5,400rpm

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