Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop
The lifespan of a Dell Inspiron laptop is usually quite substantial, sometimes to the point where it becomes long in the tooth. Thus its unusual to be mourning the loss of the Dell Inspiron 1520 after only six months on the market. Stepping into the spotlight to replace it is the revamped Dell Inspiron 1525. While theres no miracle weight loss here, the 6-pound frame is nearly half a pound lighter than the 1520s, and the tapering design gives it a slimmer silhouette (similar to that of the Dell XPS M1530). An unpleasant side effect of going small, however, is that powerful graphics cards will not be offered as an option—only integrated graphics.
According to Dell, the Inspiron 1525 is about 25 percent smaller than its predecessor, the Inspiron 1520. When Dell does a revamp, its usually across the line. Interestingly enough, the Inspiron 1420 and the 1720 keep their designs, for now. At 9.8 by 13.9 by 1.4 inches, the 1525 is even smaller than the Dell XPS M1530. Its thickness depends on where you take the measurements. At the back, its 1.4 inches deep, then tapers down to an inch thick at the front bezel. (By comparison, the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (LED) is 1 inch thick no matter where you apply the ruler.) The same color options provided with the previous version are available. Jet Black comes standard, while Alpine White, Espresso Brown, Ruby Red, and Sunshine Yellow have a $25 add-on. Additionally, Dell will begin rolling out decorative patterns laminated into the lid, a process called In-Mold Decoration made popular by the HP Pavilion dv6500t and the Gateway M-150X.
The 15.4-inch widescreen is a boon for video enthusiasts and photographers with their first D-SLR camera, though I found that the screen image itself was a little wobbly—probably a preproduction thing. The 1,280-by-800 resolution is standard and doesnt take away from the multimedia experience, although higher resolutions will improve the contrast. Thankfully, Dell did not touch the awesome, full-size keyboard, which can also be found across the Inspiron and XPS lines. The palm rests, unfortunately, have a grainier feel, removing the smooth, lustrous finish that can still be found on the Inspiron 1420. The 1525s palm rests look a little cheaper, in my opinion.
Dell rarely disappoints when it comes to features. The most discernible addition has to be an HDMI port. Hooking up a laptop to a bigger display is a neat feature, and the 1525 is the first Inspiron laptop to get such a port. This is a hopeful hint that other high-end media features may be just around the corner. My configuration has only a dual-layer DVD drive, and so far, there is no word on whether or not Dell will add HD drives, even as options. Alternatively, the HP dv6500t already offers an HD DVD-ROM– or a BD-ROM–equipped laptop for around $1,000. Meanwhile, the Toshiba Qosmio F45-AV425 offers its HD DVD-ROM laptop for $1,599.
Youll find a 2.0-megapixel webcam right above the screen. The four USB ports and a FireWire port are enough to handle all your peripherals. The HDMI port is not your only video-out feature; S-Video and VGA-out ports also come standard with the system. For those who take their work on the road, Dell is one of the few vendors to offer cellular modems across its entire line. The 1525 will be available in all three WWAN flavors, including Verizons and Sprints EV-DO Rev A and AT&Ts HSDPA modems.
As with any Dell laptop, processor options are aplenty. You can load any standard-voltage processor and still get great performance. Mine came with a 2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250. Just make sure you dont go with less than the 2GB of RAM my review unit had, so youre able to offset the demands of Windows Vista Home Premium. SYSmark 2007 Preview Overall scores were identical to those of the XPS M1530, and it beat out the HP dv6500t thanks to a faster processor. The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (LED) is the overall winner because it loads the fastest parts and was tested under Windows XP Professional. Battery life with just the standard 56-Wh battery (six-cell) was an impressive 3 hours 45 minutes on MobileMark 2007 tests. Imagine what you can get with the 85-Wh (nine-cell) battery for an additional $50? The only drawback that sticks out like a sore thumb is that an integrated chipset is your sole graphics option. Because of a smaller footprint, Dell couldnt afford to place fans underneath the chassis to cool a dedicated graphics card like the nVidia GeForce 8400M GS. The XPS M1530 is a better candidate for 3D-intensive games like BioShock and Unreal Tournament.
With a new look and a slimmer design, the Dell Inspiron 1525 is poised to provide a seamless computing experience for mobile consumers and deskbound home-theater enthusiasts. It inherits many of the cool features from the Inspiron 1520 while adding one more, the HDMI port. Unfortunately, the slimmer design also means that it had to forgo an option for dedicated graphics.
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