The Inspiron 1150's dimensions accommodate a comfortably sized keyboard, with big 19.3mm keys that provide excellent tactile feedback; unfortunately, the trapezoid-shape touch pad lacks a scroll button. Entertainment-oriented extras are few and far between: no dedicated CD controls, no high-end speakers, and no optical audio connections. Also missing are FireWire and S-Video connections, and there's no flash card reader. However, the Inspiron 1150 does offer the absolutely necessary ports: a pair of USB 2.0, external monitor, and audio-out ports. You'll also get one Type II PC Card slot, a Gigabit LAN, and a V.92 modem. The Inspiron 1150's sole luxury is a dual-band 802.11b/g wireless radio that uses a Broadcom chip. But all that glitters is not gold--the Wi-Fi radio has a lackluster 95-foot range, and there's no dedicated on/off switch, though you can use the unmarked Fn F2 shortcut to turn it off.
The unit we tested featured a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor and a 30GB hard drive but only 256MB of 266MHz memory; the system can hold up to 1GB of RAM, decidedly less than the 2GB that most recent systems can use, but enough for basic use. While the notebook's CD-RW/DVD drive is reasonably fast, it is not removable and cannot be swapped out for a second battery or hard drive.
Our test unit had a 14.1-inch XGA screen, powered by an Intel 852MV integrated graphics accelerator, which uses up to 64MB of the unit's already stretched system memory. Though the screen looked sharp and bright, we detected an annoying flicker.
Dell's software options are OK: the Inspiron 1150 comes standard with Windows XP Home and the WordPerfect word processor. Dell makes a number of software upgrades available: upgrading to the full WordPerfect Office 12.0 costs $50, and Microsoft's Office Pro sets you back nearly $300--about a third of the machine's price.Mobile application performance
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating|
Performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.The Dell Inspiron 1150's mobile performance, while lesser than that of the Toshiba Satellite A75-S206, gives it a slight advantage in battery life. The Inspiron 1150's 64WHr battery lasted for 232 minutes in CNET Labs' tests, 10 minutes more than the Toshiba and nearly 100 minutes better than the Sony VAIO K series, which runs a 59WHr battery. For office-productivity and content-creation apps, the Inspiron 1150's battery life is good.
|BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes|
Dell Inspiron 1150
Windows XP Home; 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4; 256MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel Extreme Graphics 2 for Mobile (up to 64MB); IBM Travelstar 40GN 40GB 4,200rpm
Sony VAIO PCG-K15
Windows XP Home; 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Radeon IGP 345M 64MB; Toshiba MK6021GAS 60GB 4,200rpm
Toshiba Satellite A75-S206
Windows XP Home; 2.8GHz Intel Mobile Pentium 4 518; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 IGP 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 80GN 60GB 4,200rpm