Despite not being the smallest or lightest notebook, this veritable speed demon packs a 3.06GHz desktop Pentium 4 processor and is matched with an ATI Mobility 9000 graphics adaptor and quarter gig of PC2100 DDR RAM. Another notebook to dispose of legacy parallel, PS/2 and serial ports, it boasts a pair of rear mounted USB ports, S-Video output and FireWire connectivity. Also included are 10/100 Ethernet, a 56K modem and single PCMCIA slot for card expansion.
Build quality is high, with the 5150 built with sturdy ABS plastic; the rear of the display is reinforced to limit the damage done to the LCD by accidental bumping. Granted this notebook isn't Centrino sized, nor is it Centrino weighted, at 3.7kg with battery it's big to lug around if you're the travelling type. However, this model amazed us by maintaining a full productivity workload for over four hours while in battery operation -- amazing for a desktop processor! Desktop processors are renowned for being power hungry consumables. Generally desktop processors only make their way into budget notebooks after a power boost at the expense of battery running life, justifiable given the desk-bound intended usage.
Unfortunately the 5150 is susceptible to the same speaker problem as the Inspiron 8600, (reviewed on this page) featuring sweet sounding speakers, but by being mounted on the chassis front, they're easily covered when sitting the notebook in your lap. A solid overall SYSmark score of 217 marks, this is a productivity notebook well geared for high-end work such as video processing or Photoshop work. The 4678 3DMarks produced at 1,024 x 768 indicate it would also be a comfortable gaming machine.
Beating the Inspiron 8600 hands down in the battery and performance department, this is a good all-round buy at just over $2,500 as long as you don't mind a bit of extra weight while travelling.