The Bottom Line
- Solid Performance From New Core i5 Processor
- Available In Multipe Colors
- Optional Multitouch Display
- Integrated Graphics
- Low Panel Resolution
- Intel Core i5-520M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17" WXGA+ (1440x900) WLED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel GMA X4500 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, FireWire, VGA, ExpressCard/54, 7-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.4" x 10.9" x 1.6" @ 6.8 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Works, McAfee Security Center
Guide Review - Dell Inspiron 17 17-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC
Jan 21 2010 - Dell's latest revision of the Inspiron 17 looks pretty much identical to the older generations of Inspiron laptops. The big different with the new model is the new Intel Core i5-520M processor. This small change produces a huge performance boost over the less expensive versions that rely on the Core 2 Duo and Pentium Dual-Core processor. The processor is still dual-core but has a higher clock speed, improved cache and a built-in DDR3 memory controller. All of this is well worth the price increase over the non-Core i5 models.
While the processor and memory have been upgraded, the graphics on the latest Inspiron 17 keep the same overall panel and integrated graphics solution. The 17-inch panel is bright and colorful thanks to the LED backlit but the resolution is disappointing. Most desktop replacements now features 1680x1050 or 1920x1080 resolutions. This panel only comes with a 1440x900 resolution. The lack of a dedicated processor is the big disappointment though as the system cannot be used for even casual PC gaming. One nice aspect though is the optional multi-touch display but for many there isn't much benefit yet to the interface.
Storage is actually quite good for the Inspiron 17. Dell packs the unit with a very large, high performance 500GB hard drive. If that isn't enough storage, there is a secondary hard drive bay that can be loaded with a second similar sized drive or users can opt instead for two 320GB drives for 640GB of total space. Users are limited to a standard dual-layer DVD burner but this isn't really an issue because putting Blu-ray on the system without a 1080p compatible display would be a waste.
Battery life on the Inspiron 17 with a 6-cell battery is a bit below the average desktop replacement that tend to use more batteries. Users can expect just under two hours of running time when using it to watch a DVD movie. Standard web usage will net roughly two and a half hours of running time. Users should opt for a 9-cell battery if they need more running time.
With a $1250 price tag currently, the Inspiron 17 is a bit less expensive than similarly equipped desktop replacement laptops. The problem is that for just a little more, users can get a system with dedicated graphics and a Core i7 quad core processor. Still, if you want a fast 17-inch laptop that isn't going to be used for graphics, the Inspiron 17 is capable and functional.