When it comes to desktop replacements, the Dell Inspiron 5000 is a case study in portable power.When it comes to desktop replacements, the Dell Inspiron 5000 is a case study in portable power. Quite simply, the Inspiron 5000 is titanic in just about every way. Its epic specification starts with its sheer size, and while it is matched in this dimension by the equally large Digital Star PowerNote and IBM ThinkPad A20m, its squared off appearance certainly gives it an impressive presence.
The Inspiron is one of only two notebooks in this Labs to feature a 15in screen, although compared to the Digital Star, which can only manage a maximum resolution of 1,024 x 768, the Inspiron screen has a massive native resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 at 32-bit colour. This places the Inspiron a generation ahead in terms of screen size and resolution compared to the other systems in this Labs. Equally impressive is the inclusion of a 16Mb ATI Rage Mobility-M3 graphics chip, which helps the Inspiron to post a 3DMark2000 Pro score that is over twice as high as its nearest competitor. And the performance lead is not restricted to 3D, with the mighty mobile Pentium III/750MHz and 128Mb of RAM rocketing the Inspiron into first place in almost every 2D test.
Being a desktop replacement system the Inspiron sports internal floppy and DVD-ROM drive, although the DVD drive opens to the front, which can be awkward when being used on the lap. The IBM hard disk is a massive 30Gb, which should give you plenty of space for some time to come. Rounding out the package, the Inspiron ships with a full copy of Microsoft Office 2000 SBE so you can get to work right out of the box.
Ergonomically the Dell is a pleasure to use. The keyboard is spacious, with large keys that are well-positioned, and it has a solid but comfortable touch. The touchpad has a good feel and the buttons are large, although they do require a fair bit of pressure to activate. With the big screen, especially, using the Inspiron is about as much like using a desktop as you are likely to get while on the move.
With all these features packed in it is no surprise that the Inspiron is the heaviest notebook on test. At 3.6kg you wouldnt want to have to lug it around town, although it is ideal for throwing in the back seat and porting to your next office. At a nearly $7,000, the Inspiron is quite an investment, although in this case, you get exactly what you pay for.