First Impression: Inspiron 6000

by redshift

I recently convinced myself to purchase a laptop. As blue midget will attest to, this took considerable mental effort on my part. (don’t call me cheap!) I knew it’d be nice to have for attending techie user groups, for travel, and for just-plain-being-better-than-my-old-computer, but the kicker was the possibility of having to travel for work.

The Dell Inspiron 6000 intrigued me – it’s fast, attractive, has mostly good reviews, and is as cheap as day-old doughnuts for what you get, but it’s Dell. Their support is difficult, to put it nicely. I’ve personally seen them ship computers with no expansion ports and the CD-ROM drive not screwed in. It’s truly a sad state what they’ve slipped to from their original high. (Unless you’re willing to shell out several thousand for an XPS model, of course.

However, I’m impressed with my Inspiron 6000 so far. It seems sturdy, powerful, compatible, and value-concious.

I did choose to pass up most of their support options. I did this because I realized that not only is it unhelpful, but it’s almost always unnecessary if you’re technically savvy. You’re not going to be calling them to ask how to remove spyware or “why the coaster broke,” and assuming a decent build quality, you can get repairs cheaper elsewhere. Note to Dell: it’s disgusting that you charge for basic telephone support, per usage, even the day after you receive the computer.

This particular unit has a 2 GHz Pentium-M processor, 1 GB of RAM, 80 GB hard drive, DVD+/-RW drive, Intel 2915 wireless, extended battery, 15.4″ WSXGA+ fancy-schmancy upgraded screen; all-told, it was only $1100 because of an instant rebate on the processor and a huge online coupon. Hint: I recommend googling for “inspiron coupon” or similar before purchasing anything. I saved over $500 from that alone.

Within 5 minutes, all of Dell’s predefined partitions were wiped out. There’s so much crap installed by default that the restore image is useless. So far, I’ve gotten a Linux base system set up and haven’t noticed any incompatibilities; after I finish the install and play around with it for a bit, I’ll write a better, more informed review. For now, I really like it.