It might not be terribly cheap, but Dell’s Inspiron 1420 offers plenty of portable power and options without sacrificing fun. The Dell Inspiron 1420 is offered with the new Core 2 Duo processors with 800MHz front side bus and clock speeds ranging from 1.5GHz to 2.2GHz. Along with T7100, T7300, and T7500 Core 2 Duo CPUs there are two new budget models: the T5450, and the T5250. According to earlier reports, Dell Inspiron 1420 will be also configurable with the “Santa Rosa” compatible Celeron M processor.
The keyboard is now a lot more responsive. Keys have better elevation and offer very good tactile feedback. The touchpad has been reduced in size and offers better traction for more precise control. This might because problems for people with large hands, however, as the reduced size might feel a little cramped. The LCD panel has also received an upgrade. Though the size remains the same (14.1 inches), the resolution has been raised to a widescreen 1440×900 (16:10) from the previous 1280×800. Apart from this, the LCD panel continues to offer the same level of sharpness and display that earlier Dell models offered. Text/image display is crisp, and watching movies on the larger resolution is quite enjoyable, keeping in mind that this is a media center laptop.
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.
One of the rarer things you’ll find in a budget laptop is discrete graphics. Dell opted to forgo a faster processor and go for better gaming performance. The nVidia GeForce 8400M GS is the same graphics chipset found on the XPS M1330. It produced decent frame rates on Prey, 3DMark 06, and Company of Heroes, and should impress casual 3D gamers. Hardcore gamers should be on the lookout for the GeForce 8700M GT, coming out soon on a future Dell XPS laptop. With any laptop, any time you’re faced with choosing between a nine-cell battery and a four-cell battery, you take the one that will get you more battery life. The nine-cell produced 3 hours 28 minutes playing a DVD movie. Although it adds about a half a pound to the laptop, the extra running time you get with it is well worth the upgrade.
This laptop provides a wireless LAN connection with an optional support for 802.11n draft Wi-Fi standard, Ethernet LAN, a 56K modem and optional Bluetooth. There are also HSDPA and EVDO wireless broadband options for various provider networks. The 1420 has a 7.1 channel sound system, an optional built in 2 megapixel web camera, four USB ports, Express Card slot, a 8-in-1 memory card reader, and Firewire, as well as VGA and S-Video outputs. Dell Inspiron 1420 features a new chassis design, when compared to previous 1405 model, and comes in eight various colors. It weighs 5.4 lbs with 6-cell battery.
* Screen: 14.1-inch WXGA+ (1440 x 900) Ultra Sharp TFT Display with TrueLife
* Processor: 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 (4MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
* Hard Drive: 160 GB hard drive (5400RPM)
* Memory: 2GB RAM (PC5300, 667 MHz, DDR2 SDRAM) — 4GB max memory
* Optical Drive: DVD+-R Double layer / DVD+-RW Drive (Blu-ray drive optional)
* Ports and Slots: Four USB 2.0, one FireWire 400 port, one Express Card slot, one S-Video, one VGA, one 8-in-1 card reader, headphone / line-out, microphone-in, modem, 10/100 Ethernet
* Wireless: WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.0
* Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
* Camera: 2.0 megapixel webcam
* Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium
* 6-cell 56WHr Li-Ion battery, 9-cell 85WHr Li-Ion battery
* Dimensions: 13.13″ x 9.61″ x 1.26″-1.53″ (Width x Depth x Height)
* Weight: 5.39 pounds