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Dell Inspiron 6000 for Business review: Dell Inspiron 6000 for Business

The Dell Inspiron 6000 is adequate for basic home or small-office use, but there are less expensive alternatives.

Justin Jaffe Managing editor
Justin Jaffe is the Managing Editor for CNET Money. He has more than 20 years of experience publishing books, articles and research on finance and technology for Wired, IDC and others. He is the coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015), which reveals how financial services companies take advantage of customers -- and how to protect yourself. He graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in English Literature, spent 10 years in San Francisco and now lives in Portland, Maine.
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  • Coauthor of Uninvested (Random House, 2015)
Justin Jaffe
4 min read
Dell Inspiron 6000 for Business

First reviewed by CNET in February 2005, we recently took another look at the Dell Inspiron 6000. The original configuration we reviewed sold for about $1,700 back in February; in this review we take a look at a significantly less expensive $972 configuration.

6.1

Dell Inspiron 6000 for Business

The Good

Good battery life; adequate performance for basic productivity use; external media-control buttons; decent speakers; has all the ports and connections an average home user needs.

The Bad

Slightly dim display; not enough power for demanding graphics tasks, games, or heavy-duty video editing.

The Bottom Line

The competitively priced Dell Inspiron 6000 delivers a very solid combination of performance, features, and design for basic home or small-office use.

The Dell Inspiron 6000 is a midsize laptop with an entertainment slant. The design is quite similar to that found on a number of other Dell laptops, including the Inspiron 9300 and the XPS M140. The notebook is light silver with a white trim, and it measures about 1.5 inches thick, 14 inches across, and just less than 10.5 inches deep. The keyboard is firm and adequately responsive, and it's big enough to work on comfortably. Below the keyboard is a nice-size touch pad with two big mouse buttons. Our test unit weighed 6.6 pounds, or 7.5 pounds with the compact AC adapter--about average for a midsize and not quite light enough for comfortable travel. Overall, the case feels fairly sturdy, though the lid gives quite a bit when you push down on it. We like the silver media-control buttons that line the case's front edge. They're accessible even when the notebook's lid is closed, and you can use them to adjust the volume (or mute) and toggle through tracks on a CD or scenes on a DVD. Two stereo speakers also sit along the Inspiron 6000's front edge; they were louder and clearer than your average laptop speakers.

Our test unit featured a 15.4-inch wide-screen display with a 1,280x800 native resolution. The display looked a little dim to us, particularly around the edges, and we left it at its brightest setting; we're keeping an eye on the recent rash of customer complaints about Dell's notebook screens, but we didn't notice any significant problems with the Inspiron 6000's.

Connectivitywise, the Inspiron 6000 offers just about everything an average home user will need. You get a headphone and microphone jack; a Secure Digital card reader; an S-Video output for connecting to a TV; VGA out to connect to a monitor; four USB 2.0 ports (two on the right edge, two in back); a four-pin, unpowered FireWire port; and one PCI Express card slot, for which there are no real applications yet. You also get modem and Ethernet connections, as well as built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. Our test unit was configured with a handy double-layer, multiformat DVD burner, which added $150 to the overall cost of the machine. Dell doesn't include much in the way of software; aside from Microsoft Windows XP Home, you also get WordPerfect and some basic photo-editing software.

Our review unit was built around a 1.6GHz Pentium M 725 processor and 512MB of DDR2 RAM; the system's integrated graphics borrow up to 128MB of system memory. With a 60GB hard drive, we got twice as much storage as from the original unit, but Dell cut back on the optical drive; we got a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo in place of a double-layer DVD±RW. The new, less expensive unit also had a six-cell battery instead of a nine-cell.

The Inspiron 6000's performance was good, landing it a competitive score on CNET Labs' MobileMark 2002 benchmark that rivaled the punchy Acer TravelMate 2350 and the Gateway NX500X (a.k.a the Gateway M360X). But where the Acer's battery crapped out after two hours, the Inspiron 6000's ran for 3 hours and 45 minutes. (If you plan to travel regularly with the Inspiron 6000, we strongly recommend shelling out $129 for the nine-cell lithium-ion battery, which should give you even more time away from the wall socket).

As part of our $972 configuration, Dell included a one-year parts-and-labor warranty with toll-free, 24-hour tech support. Take note: The company has cut back its standard warranty to just 90 days, depending on the configuration you choose, and we recommend shelling out for at least a year. Toll-free, 24/7 telephone support also lasts for just a year. Dell offers a long list of warranty extension options, including onsite repair, night and weekend service, and accidental-damage coverage--but they're expensive. The best part of Dell's support Web site is the customer forum, where users can go to get help from other Inspiron owners, as well as from Dell reps who moderate the forum. Otherwise, the site offers the typical knowledge base and downloads sections.

Mobile application performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2005 performance rating  
Dell Inspiron 6000 (Jan 05)
214 

Battery life
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2005 battery-life minutes  
Dell Inspiron 6000 (Jan 05)
217 

System configurations:
Acer TravelMate 2350
Windows XP Pro; 1.4GHz Celeron M 360 1.4GHz; 512MB DDR SDRAM PC2700 333MHz; Intel 82852/82855 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 80GN 60GB 4,200rpm
Dell Inspiron 6000 (Jan 05)
Windows XP Pro; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M 730; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM PC3200 400MHz; Intel 915GM/GMS, 910GML Express 128MB; Hitachi Travelstar 40GNX 40GB 5,400rpm
Dell Inspiron 6000 (Nov 05)
Windows XP Home; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M 730; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM PC3200 400MHz; Intel 915GM/GMS 910GML Express 128MB; Hitachi Travelstar 5K100 60GB 5,400rpm
"="" rel="follow" target="_self">Gateway NX500X
Windows XP Pro; 1.86GHz Intel Pentium M 750; 512MB DDR2 SDRAM 400MHz; Intel 915GM/GMS, 910GML Express 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 4K40 40GB 4,200rpm

6.1

Dell Inspiron 6000 for Business

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 7Battery 6Support 5