Notebook offers many likeable features

Dell's Inspiron 1420 - not cheap, but powerful

It might not be terribly cheap, but Dell's Inspiron 1420 offers plenty of portable power and options without sacrificing fun.

Our test unit's configuration was expensive for an all-purpose notebook at $US1,748 (as of 9/12/07), but it included a long-life battery, a 160GB hard drive, and integrated mobile broadband. Our configuration lacked the optional $50 Webcam, as well as the optional $550 Blu-ray Disc drive; the drive might have been a good complement to our machine's high-definition, WXGA+, glossy screen, which was bright and easy to read. If you don't like the glossy screen's reflectiveness, you can have the screen with a non-glossy, antiglare coating for the same price.

The 6-pound 1420 is a little heavy for a notebook with only a 14.1-inch screen, but it's very well crafted. The comfortable keyboard features mouse buttons with tactile finger ridges, and the battery has an external power gauge. Your choice from among seven optional lid colors ($50) dresses up the 1420's standard black case. Our test unit came in a blindingly bright Alpine White. Other hues include Ruby Red, Flamingo Pink, and Spring Green.

Better at multimedia than most notebooks its size, the 1420 offers rich, medium-volume sound. The laptop also sports Dell's standard Media Direct button, which works better than other instant-on buttons. With this button, you get direct access not only to movie, music, and photo players but also to office-application viewers, a feature that lets you check, say, an Outlook phone number or a PowerPoint slide without having to start Windows. Dell sells some reasonably priced multimedia add-ons, too, ranging from a $15 IR travel remote to a $125 TV tuner and remote package for taking full advantage of the entertainment applications in Windows Vista Home Premium (our test model's operating system).

Performance was excellent. Our test unit's nine-cell battery lasted nearly 5 hours. Equipped with a 2.2-GHz Core Duo T7500 processor and 2GB of RAM, the 1420 rose to the top of its class with a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 83. That score put it in a tie for first place, among currently tested all-purpose notebooks, with a similarly equipped Gateway E-475M. (Two other similarly equipped laptops earned a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 mark of 80.) Our test unit was a decent 3D game player, with an average frames-per-second rate of 42 (30 fps is considered minimally acceptable, and some notebooks manage 100 fps).

Overall this notebook has much to like. It's fast, capable, and as colorful as you care to make it. Viva la choice!

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Carla Thornton

PC World
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Compare & Save

Deals powered by WhistleOut
WhistleOut

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?