Unit 4 Part 2 – Book Report/Review Example

Unit 4 Part 2 The computer I am using at the moment is a Dell Inspiron 15R laptop. I really like this laptop because the 15 ½ inch screen is largeenough to make reading two texts at the same time quite comfortable and this is something I increasingly want to do for my serious writing work. A major reason for upgrading from my previous computer was that the screen was too small. This model is still compact and light enough to fit in my backpack, and so far it has been fairly robust. There are a few scratches on the lid, but apart from that it seems to be pretty hardwearing. In performance terms I guess it is a poor choice for games, but I tend not to do any serious gaming on this platform anyway, so that is not such a big problem. Overall I am satisfied with the performance. I wanted a cheap, basic and reliable model and this is what the Dell Inspiron has turned out to be.
2. The only thing that bothers me about this computer is that the keyboard sits on a wedge shaped base, which means that it doesn’t feel quite flat when you use it. This is especially awkward when using it without a table. The manufacturer no doubt wanted to make a thinner profile, but could not quite manage to do this for the full base area, and so compromised by loading the thicker battery part at the back. The weight is then not balanced evenly and for me, this is a design flaw that detracts from an otherwise stylish product.
3. The CNET website review of the Dell Inspiron 15R (Ackerman, 2010) gives this laptop a solid 7 out of 10 rating for design, features, performance, service & support, and a very positive 9 out of ten for battery life. The reviewer also appreciates the reasonable pricing and suggests the machine is a worthy but unexciting “middle-of-the-road workhorse: equally likely to turn up in a dorm room or coffee shop as at your mom’s kitchen table” (Ackerman, p.1). His only criticisms are that it is not as customizable as previous Dell models, and that it is preloaded with too much advertising and overall, his judgement is fairly positive.
Works Cited.
Ackerman, D. (2010) CNET Editors’ Review of Dell Inspiron 15R. Retrieved August 13th 2010 from: http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/dell-inspiron-15r/4505-3121_7-34122503.html#reviewPage1
Appendix 1 (for information: the link above printed out - page 1 and page 2)
Reviewed by:
Dan Ackerman
Reviewed on: 07/01/2010
Released on: 06/15/2010
Editors rating explained
The good: Decent performance and design for a reasonable price; excellent battery life.
The bad: Not as customizable as previous Dells; too many built-in advertising pitches.
The bottom line: Dells updated Inspiron line has a slightly revamped design, but more importantly still offers workhorse performance for a minimal investment.
Dells Inspiron laptops have always been the brands middle-of-the-road workhorse: equally likely to turn up in a dorm room or coffee shop as at your moms kitchen table. Dell periodically gives the series a physical makeover, but small differences in fit and finish are almost beside the point; this is still the go-to laptop line for reasonably priced systems that offer mainstream performance at palatable prices.
The new Inspiron 15R is built around Intels Core i3 and i5 processors, with a handful of upgrades available for hard drives and basic discrete graphics (the same goes for the 14-inch version, the Inspiron 14R). Our review unit included a 2.26GHz Core i3, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive, for a total cost of $639.
Though both more- and less-expensive prefixed configurations are available, from what we could see on Dells Web site, the Inspiron R series lacks the highly flexible customization were used to from Dell; we could only find about a dozen preconfigured models on offer. That said, for around $600, the Core i3 version of the Inspiron 15R is more than adequate for everyday use, and we suspect youll see a lot of these during the back-to-school season.
Price as reviewed / Starting price
$639 / $529
2.26GHz Intel Core i3 M350
4GB, 1,333MHz DDR2
Hard drive
500GB 7,200rpm
Intel HM55
Intel GMA HD (integrated)
Operating System
Windows 7 Home Premium(64-bit)
Dimensions (WD)
13.5 x 9.7 inches
1.2-1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal)
15.6 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter
6.1/6.7 pounds
The new Inspiron design is a step up from the series recent plastic-heavy look, with a brushed-metal pattern on the wrist rest and keyboard tray (although the materials still seem to be plastic). The back of the lid seems very similar to previous Inspirons, with a round Dell logo surrounded by a solid glossy color (ours was blue, but black, red, and pink are also available). The chassis has a slightly tapered design that makes it a bit thinner on the front lip, but fairly chunky at the rear.
The silver metallic wrist rest is offset by a matte-black keyboard. The keys are of the flat-topped, closely packed variety, and the wider 15.6-inch body allows for a number pad to sit to the right of the keyboard, although the number pad keys are especially narrow. The keyboard features healthy-size keys, including a huge right Shift key, but the four arrow keys are a bit on the small side. The touch pad, though not larger than previous Dell touch pads weve seen, has a new matte surface with none of the stickiness of its glossy predecessors. Basic multitouch gestures are supported, and two medium-size mouse buttons sit below it.
The Inspiron 15R includes Dells now-standard software dock. Like the dock found on Apples MacBooks, it puts shortcuts to frequently used apps in a bar across the top, bottom, or side of the screen. We like the idea of having quick access to media and troubleshooting apps, and the dock itself is customizable, which is handy for removing adware, such as the included links for the CinemaNow movie store and Wild Tangent games. Speaking of adware, we also groan a bit whenever a helpful McAfee message pops up, excitedly reminding us to "Save 38 percent on Dell PC Protection Renewal!"
The 15.6-inch display has a standard 1,366x768-pixel resolution, which is the default for everything from upscale 10-inch Netbooks, to 13-inch models, to most 14- and 15-inch midsize laptops. Thats fine for Web surfing, DVD playback, and online streaming from sites such as Hulu or Netflix, but its not true 1080p HD.

Dell Inspiron 15R
Average for category [midsize]
VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
4 USB 2.0 (1 USB/eSATA), SD card reader
4 USB 2.0, SD card reader, eSATA
Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi
Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband
Optical drive
DVD burner
DVD burner
The most interesting thing about the new Inspirons ports and connections is that theyre spread over three of the four edges of the system. The left side has an HDMI port, one USB, and audio jacks; the right side has the SD card slot, DVD tray, the USB/eSATA port, and the Ethernet jack; and the rear edge has the VGA port, power plug, and two additional USB ports. Its rare to see so many ports on the rear edge, but some people appreciate being able to route wires directly from the back.
Unlike previous generations of Dell Inspiron laptops, you dont get the nearly limitless build-to-order configuration options Dell is known for. Instead, we found about a dozen preconfigured models, which to be fair, cover just about every variation. You can drop down to a non-Core Pentium P6000 CPU with 3GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive for $599, or move up to a Core i5 with 6GB of RAM, Blu-ray, a 640GB hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD5470 GPU for $974, with plenty of stops in between.
Our review unit clocked in at $639, with a 2.26GHz Intel Core i3 M350 CPU and 4GB of RAM. In our CNET Labs benchmark tests, it performed on par with other current Core i3 laptops, but there was a notable bump in performance for otherwise similar systems that move up to a Core i5 processor, such as the HP dm4. Most Core i5 midsize laptops will run you an additional $200 or more, so the speed boost may not be worth it, as the Core i3 is perfectly fine for the vast majority of everyday uses (although Dell currently has a 15R configuration with a Core i5 CPU for $709).
Some models of the new Inspiron R series (including the 14R model we reviewed) include discrete graphics from ATI, the less-expensive versions use Intels standard integrated graphics, which are fine for video viewing and Facebook games, but not much else. Interestingly, this could be less of a hindrance for would-be gamers now that weve tried the OnLive PC game service, which plays A-list PC games over the Internet, rendering 3D graphics remotely and streaming the gameplay video to you in real time. Its not for everyone, and requires a wired Ethernet connection, but you can read our hands-on impressions here and decide for yourself.
Juice box
Dell Inspiron 15R
Avg watts/hour
Off (60%)
Sleep (10%)
Idle (25%)
Load (05%)
Raw kWh Number
Annual energy cost
Annual power consumption cost
Gateway NV59C09u
HP Pavilion dm4-1003
Dell Inspiron 14R
Sony Vaio VPC-EB1JFX/B
Dell Inspiron 15R
Lenovo Ideapad Y460
Review: page 2
With its larger nine-cell battery (six-cell versions are also available), the Dell Inspiron 15R ran for an impressive 5 hours and 36 minutes on our video playback battery drain test. Thats especially good for a midsize laptop, but the trade-off is that the larger battery sticks out from the rear of the system by a little more than an inch.
Dell includes an industry-standard one-year parts-and-labor warranty with the system, which includes onsite service. Upgrading to a three-year plan will cost an extra $119, with additional fees for extras such as accidental damage protection. Support is accessible through Dells 24-7 toll-free phone line, and a well-maintained support Web site with an online knowledge base, FAQs, and driver downloads.