The brand new Dell Inspiron 1721 is a desktop replacement notebook. This notebook includes a keypad like traditional keyboards. The only factor to keep in mind when considering this laptop is what you’re going to be using it for. This notebook is a desktop replacement and weighs a little more than it’s brother and sister notebooks.
The configuration of the Dell Inspiron 1721 used in this review is as follows:
- Jet-Black Dell Inspiron 1721
- AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-56 1.8GHz/1MB L2 Cache
- 2GB, DDR2, 667MHz 2 Dimm
- ATI RADEON Xpress1270 256MB HyperMemory
- 160GB 5400RPM SATA hard drive
- Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition
- 17.0 inch Wide Screen XGA+ TL LCD
- Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini Card
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Reasons for Buying
Since I can remember, I have ALWAYS built my desktops. I have owned 2 laptops in the past. (Toshiba Satellite and Dell Inspiron B130) I have grown out of the gaming aspect of computers (will explain further at the end of this section) which is why I chose the specs I did for the Inspiron 1721.
I purchased this laptop to replace my desktop completely. I have been a PC tech for 12 years. I have ALOT of magazines and books but I still find myself sighing at my choices when I sit on the throne (Toilet, for those who don’t know :P) This notebook is probably only going to see light gaming, alot of linux and general e-mail and web browsing.
I cannot honestly say that I looked at other notebooks before making my purchase. I took a few peeks at a macbook and some Sony Vaio’s, but for the price and what I was going to be using it for, The Dell Inspiron 1721 was the optimal choice.
Where and How Purchased
I purchased this notebook directly from Dell.com. I paid $1,015 for it. (Shipping/Taxes included) There are many variables to consider when ordering from Dell. I will break down the general features of the laptop really quick, and include why I chose the way I did.
Why the 1721? I wanted a Desktop Replacement. I enjoy the feel of a regular keyboard, and the closest I could get to that was a 1721 which included the closest to a full-size keyboard I could acquire.
Why 21? Why not the 1720? : Well, Price for one thing. Since I can remember, I have used AMD/ATI EXCLUSIVELY and have NEVER been let down. Not a single processor or video card from either company has ever let me down. I must admit, If I wanted full-blown processing power, the Intel is somewhat in the lead. If AMD ever let me down, I’d have a reason to be a "switcher".
Why Jet-Black? : None of the other 7 colors really screamed out to me. The red was nice, but I wanted somewhat of a neutral color. Something that is naturally going to pick up all that nature has to throw at it, but not show it as much as something bright. Also, Resell value. If you think about it, you may have a better chance selling a neutral, clean-looking black laptop than a bright yellow laptop. (my opinion, of course)
Why 1.8ghz? : I chose the TL-56 because none of the other processor upgrades made sense for the price. AMD’s Turion offers up to 2.2ghz, but 1MB L2 Cache. 400mhz will not make or break this notebook, especially for the price they were asking to get the 2.2. The difference in performance was minimal from the 1.8 to the 2.2, and it definatly did not open any eyes as to why the price difference was significant in my opinion.
(If you have any questions, or wish to have other variables listed here, feel free to send me a PM or an E-mail and I will be sure to add them.)
Build & Design
What is the design like, does it look good, does it feel sturdy, what is the case made of, what color is it, is it too heavy, is it easy to carry or use in your lap? Try pushing in on the lid to see if you get ripples on the LCD screen, this is a good indicator as to how much protection your screen has. Also, try "wobbling" (push on the screen) the screen when it is in the up position, if it wobbles a lot then your hinges are probably not very good and this is poor build. Maybe try "twisting" the screen frame a little, if your frame twists easily and a lot then this is also poor build. A good thing to keep in mind is the thickness and rigidity of the case is often more important than what it’s made of in terms of protection. For instance, a thick plastic case construction is better protection than a thin magnesium-alloy case.
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The 17" 1440 res screen is gorgeous..to say the very least! It is very bright and colorful. No graininess or anything like that here. This screen is flat out flawless, no dead pixels or anything whatsoever. I opted for the 1440 res since I didn’t really see me needing anything higher than that. To my surprise..this screen does not even have ANY leakage. I have looked up, down and side to side. I even looked straight down on it. I have no visible/bothering leakeage whatsoever.
The speakers on this laptop are "ok". They do have somewhat of a muffled sound. The sound can be loud, but depending on what you are listening to, it can get kind of scratchy and distorted. Since my initial plan was headphones for this laptop anyway, this is not a bother.
Processor and Performance
I opted for the 1721; AMD Turion 64 x2 TL56 (1.8ghz) and I love it. It is fast enough to do everyday tasks and leaves me with no stuttering at all. I’d say total boot time with vista premium is under 1:00 for me. I’m up and running in seconds. This laptops only option was a 5400rpm SATA hard drive. I see no real LARGE performance difference in a 7200 anyway. I purchased this laptop during the free 2gb of ram sale Dell has going on and it is PLENTY. Keep in mind that my video card shares memory, and even so this laptop does not hang at all.
Heat and Noise
I have run benchmarks, burned a CD, and turned the fans up on this beast and I can honestly say that it is nearly dead silent. With no other ambient noise around you are sure to hear it a little bit, but with a TV or anything else going on, you will no know this laptop is running. The heat on this laptop is minimal. 2 sensor programs tell me this laptops processor is running at 42-45 C on idle. Avg heat among all items is a clean and cool 48C or so. This laptop does not get hot on the palm rests, or even warm for that matter. You can feel a light warm "breeze" from the side of the laptop, but nothing that will be uncomfortable for you to use an external mouse or lay your hand there.
Keyboard and Touchpad
There is no flex in this keyboard. I absolutely love it. Because I opted for a 17", I got the included number pad on the right side of my laptop. The keys are a wonder to type on, and I can see them giving no play for millions of words to come.
Input and Output Ports
I count 5 USB ports on this laptop. 3 on the back, 2 on the side. Has an S-video port, an express card slot and other goodies.
This laptop came with 802.11g. I opted for no bluetooth as I find it to be useless and I have no reason for it. This laptop DOES have an IR sensor, and I received the mini remote the day the laptop arrived.
So far, I have had the laptop on FULL PERFORMANCE which is supposed to lower my battery rate. At max performance with the 6-cell battery, I was still able to grab 1:45-2:00 on the estimated clock. This is idle and maybe browsing a bit, nothing spectacular.
Operating System and Software
This Dell Inspiron 1721 came with Windows Vista Home Premium. It also came with all the discs I need to reinstall the drivers and the OS itself. I opted for no additional software to be installed. All it came with was Google Desktop and mcafee. Otherwise it was nice and clean.
I will conclude by saying this laptop is wonderful. It is not a beat (performance wise) and will not play your latest games to your hearts content. I’am thinking about returning the laptop..not because of quality or anything related to the laptop, I’m just kinda looking at other things I can spend $1000 that I NEED, and not luxuries. I would recommend the user that wants the best for his money, and to be able to play any game pre 2007 nicely to pick this notebook up. It has a very nice build to it, and is beautiful all together. (Currently for sale, if you want a PERFECT 1721 and don’t want the wait time from dell associated, let me know via pm. I will transfer the warranty in your name and ownership.)
- Nice screen
- Awesome build quality
- Not slow at all in any area
- Enough slots for whatever you need
- A bit heavy
- Latch on the lid could have been better and not allowed any play
- Battery could have been more secure.