Dell Inspiron 9400: Viiv in all but name

We get a hands-on session with the Dell Inspiron 9400 -- a laptop that qualifies for Intel Viiv branding, but lacks the badge

Rory Reid

The world of computing is often a confusing one. We've just spent ages trying to figure out the meaning of Intel's Viiv technology, and are now exasperated to learn that Dell has thrown a spanner in the works with its new Inspiron 9400 laptop.

It's a Viiv laptop in all but name. It's got all the relevant bits needed to qualify for Viiv branding: the Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system, an Intel Pentium D processor, 5.1-channel audio output capabilities, and use of the Intel 945 chipset. But because Dell won't put the Viiv sticker on it, it's just an ordinary Inspiron.

Its a bit like Ferrari releasing a brand new Enzo, but refusing to put the badge on it, so it's no better than a Fiat.

This is a shame, as it's likely to increase the level of confusion among IT consumers. Don't be put off buying it though -- the Inspiron 9400 range is a very good one.

It has a lovely 17-inch widescreen display, a 100GB hard drive, and can be specced up to include a Geforce Go 7800 graphics card, all of which makes it as quick, if not quicker, than the all-singing, all-dancing XPS M170 gaming laptop.

What's more, the top-of-the-range Inspiron 9400 costs just £1,399 -- which is well over £1,000 less than the flagship M170. Watch out for a full review soon. -RR