Dell Inspiron 5150
At a Glance
Most desktop replacement users--because they want as much from their laptops as they would from a full-size PC--will demand good performance from their notebook; long battery life would also be a nice side benefit. However, those who might salivate over the Inspiron 5150's smooth performance and long battery life may be too put off by its weight to seriously consider it even for occasional travel. The Inspiron 5150 sailed along for 5.5 hours on one battery charge, longer than any other Dell or Mobile Pentium 4 notebook we've tested. It's fast, too, thanks to its 3.06-GHz/1.6-GHz Pentium 4 chip (the only processor it's available with) and its 60GB hard drive, one of the first 7200-rpm models available for notebooks. The top-notch components helped the Inspiron 5150 earn a PC WorldBench 4 score of 121, neck and neck with the average score of 122 we've recorded for notebooks equipped with the newer 1.6-GHz/600-MHz Pentium M chip.
Unfortunately, the Inspiron 5150 stumbles in other areas. For one, it's too heavy and chunky at 8.5 pounds and 2 inches thick (about a pound more and a half inch more than typical) to move around much, even from room to room in a wirelessly networked house. The blocky power adapter adds almost 2 more pounds.
The Inspiron 5150's stereo speakers are loud enough and clear enough to watch DVD movies without headphones, but that's all. There are no audio controls, or even a thumbwheel; instead, the Page Up and Page Down keys double as volume buttons.
A home user or small-business worker who mostly stays put could be happy with this heavy-duty performer, but anyone who wants to actually move their notebook around will find this 5150 too bulky.