Dell's reputation at providing reasonably priced capable 'books shines through in the 510M - the cheapest notebook on test this month. On top of the hardware, you also the low $1746 price tag also gives you the Microsoft Office Basic 2003 suite, one year warranty and delivery.
Cracking just shy of 3200 points in PCMark04, this notebook sat in the lower half of the performance scores. It also dropped to sixth place in our battery test by managing around three and a half hours. It's certainly no slouch, but it's roughly an hour shorter than the Labs winning Targa and almost an hour and a half less than the highest performing Samsung. In any case, while the operating time under a light workload should be enough for use on the go, you may want to keep your power supply handy for recharging on the fly. But, given the saving you're making on it, the $168 for an additional battery won't hit the budget too hard.
Under the bonnet it clocks in at 1.6GHz with half a gigabyte of RAM, making this capable for the relatively low performance requirements of word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Dell has also included legacy support with a parallel port and serial port, which is perfect for older printers and peripherals for students on a budget.
A little on the bulky side at nearly 3kg, there are far lighter options on offer here. However, you simply can't go past the fantastic value for money, which earns this our Recommended Award this month.