Inspired Enough? – Dell Inspiron 710m

When it comes to the 710m Inspiron laptop, Dell appears to be staying the course. For the most part, the 710m is just like the previous Inspiron 700m, except that the new model has a nifty silver rim along its keyboard and lid. Oh, and the keyboard was changed to gray, compared to the previous black. Otherwise, you’re looking at old parts here, reassembled in the same old manner but given a name with 10 added to it.

For example, take the processor and the memory. The Dell Inspiron 710m packs a 2GHz Pentium M Dothan with Intel 855 chipset. We’ve only been talking about the 915 chipset, the Sonoma mobile chipset, for months now, and we’re already on to the Napa chipset. Yet the new Dell sticks with the oldie but goodie processing system. What’s more, its 512MB of memory only run at 333MHz, compared to the best laptops today that run at 533MHz.

Still, Dell kept this setup for a reason. It doesn’t run much slower, according to recent tests, as the Sony VAIO S Series and its newer assemble. And it keeps the lesser, cheaper competition, such as the Averatec 3715 with its AMD Sempron 3000 processor, in their places. So for your casual user-i.e., somebody who uses their laptop mainly for Internet, word processing, etc.-the Dell works just fine.

The same goes for the Dell’s other features. The 12.1-inch screen has an acceptable 1,280×800 resolution. Its Ethernet, S-Video FireWire, Type II PC Card, and VGA all shoot par. (Though it should be noted that there are only two USBs, and the onboard memory-card reader only works with Secure Digital format-two bogies).

For around the mid-$1,000s, you may ask yourself: do I just want to shoot par? But, dude, Dell coupons are widely available online, which means sometimes you can get hundreds of bucks shaved off the price. Plus the 710m weighs only 4.5 pounds, and its battery lasts more than 5 hours. Hardly methanol fuel cell longevity, but certainly respectable. What’s more, as with any Dell Inspiron, you get reliable customer support, such as a standard one-year warranty with return-to-depot service and 24/7 toll-free tech support.

More – Inspiron 710m review

By Matthew Brodsky – Laptopical

Monday, January 30, 2006