Dell 700M review
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  1. #1
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    Dell 700M review

    A few weeks back, I did some forum trading and ended up with a Dell 700M, so I figured I'd post my impressions of Dell's tiniest notebook.

    First of all, this is strictly a "business" notebook, as it's designed for portability and efficiency. It comes with a Pentium M 1.6ghz Dothan, paired with Intel's 855M chipset and Intel "Extreme" Graphics 2. The 700M I traded for came with 768mb of PC2700, which is more than enough RAM for my use, which is mainly MS office apps, internet, and media playing. It has Intel's 802.11b/g card, and range and connectivity are great. I've yet to get dropped from my wireless network at home, though that's not something that's ever happened before! Considering the IGP, gaming is pretty much out of the question. As I get older, I've found that I game less and less. I have an Xbox to fill in any gaming urges that I get.

    The main purpose for me getting a 700M is size and efficiency. With a 12.1" Widescreen (1280x800) and a weight under 5lbs, the 700M is about as light as they come without sacrificing the optical drive. I just came back from a business trip today, and it was far easier to lug around than the 7-8lb 15.4" Gateway it replaced. Also, battery life borders on infinite, as the 8 cell battery easily gets 5 hours of mobility for average use. I haven't tried watching a DVD on it yet, but that time will come on the next train trip I take. The overall build quality seems to be pretty good. Considering just how tiny this notebook is, it's hard to make it "feel" substantial, but overall, it's a solid notebook. I've always heard that Dell makes a nice notebook, and I'd have to say that I agree. Nothing seems poorly designed on it.

    All in all, performance is very good. The IEG2 uses up to 32mb of system memory for VRAM, and this appears to be enough for windows tasks. I haven't tried running a game on it, but I'd imagine that performance would be terrible. It has a 5400RPM 40gb HD, which likely helps with performance somewhat.

    All in all, the 700M delivers on where it's targeted--a small and powerful ultra portable. If you're looking for battery life, upgrade to the 8 cell and you won't be disappointed.
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  2. #2
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    Personally,
    I find those touchpads quite annoying.
    Worked on a brand new Dell Inspiron 6000 a few days ago.
    Ended up attaching my Logitech mouse to work on it.
    "I know nothing."
    Cheers.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, I only use the touchpad when going mobile. Otherwise, I use my Mouseman Optical USB.

  4. #4
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    A word about the battery life. I was watching a DVD on the bus, Sin City to be exact, but I never got to finish it. Poor little fella kicked after about 1 hr 45 minutes. For everything else though, the battery life is more than sufficient.
    Compy 1 (Brand New as of 2/7/07):
    P5N32-E SLI w/ C2D E6600 at stock (for now)
    Zalman CNPS9700 cooler
    2GB Corsair DDR2800 @ 5-5-5-15 @1.9v
    1x EVGA 8800GTX (stock)
    1 150GB Raptor+ 250GB WD Internal SATA's
    250GB WD Backup Drive
    2x Plextor DVD burners, IDE
    2x Plextor DVD burners, SATA
    Audigy2 w/ Klipsch 2.1's
    Black Silverstone TJ-07
    PC P&C 510W SLI PSU
    Dell 30" LCD


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  5. #5
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    Shinma asked my question. I've been all notebook for the last half year, and mostly where a mouse is impractical. I've discovered I'm one of those who prefer the trackpoint, While it's less than ideal for manouevering the cursor, If you type much you soon learn to hate the pad.
    Nice package, Three. I think that configuration is the best for one you pack around. I've noticed an HP equivalent in 14" widescreen size at just over 5 lb.

  6. #6
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    Yeah, I did like the looks of those 14" WXGAs from HP/Compaq, but this came up in a trade, so I went with this instead.

    I do agree about trackpads. If your thumb is the least bit clumsy, you move the cursor when you type and produce jibberish somewhere in your message. On the 700M, the trackpad is just below the spacebar, leaving little margin of error. The bigger DTRs are much more forgiving, as you usually get a few inches of separation between the 2. As with all notebooks, I just need some adjustment time for the keyboard.

    woodman19_99,
    So do you also have a 700M? Interesting thought on DVD battery life. Fortunately for me, Amtrak now has AC outlets in every row, so last time I just plugged into it for my movie watching. What I didn't care for the most was lugging an 7.5lb DTR around on a train. Once I made it to my seat, it was okay, but otherwise it was pretty awkward getting around.

  7. #7
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    I started looking in our local free ad paper for an IBM P3 version of one of these, but ran across an ad for a Toshiba Sat A10 for $100Cdn with an "IDE #0 Error". I was somehow lucky enough to contact the fellow first and bought it sight unseen.
    Got it the next day and had it running 2K on a new 5400rpm Samsung that evening. So it's become the one I pack to work when there's a connection available.

    I find on all three trackpad notebooks I've been using that the jumping cursor will often abruptly highlight a few lines of text and the next keystoke will erase them. Very annoying.
    I'm learning to keep my finger from riding the left button, but I've seen the machine jump to a new page merely from the cursor alone, with my finger well away from the button.
    Can you get Valium for a trackpad?
    Last edited by DanceMan; February 8th, 2006 at 07:24 PM.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, the undo button comes in handy, that's for sure.

  9. #9
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    Looks like you have a nice machine.

    I don't really like the Touch pads either, but then I don't like the track points...

    I can live with the touch pad as I am more used to it although I have used both over the years, I do usually hook up an optical mouse to my Dell when not at home.

    Intel I5 750 @ 2.67 Ghz, 4gb GSkill DDR3 1600, GB P55M-UD2, XFX Radeon 5850. , Seagate Constellation ES 1 TB, Seasonic Gold 620w, Win Vista Ultimate, Toshiba 32" HDTV


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  10. #10
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    Yeah I have a 700m that I got back when Dell was running their 750 off coupons so I got it pretty cheap. Ibought because I was in a long distance relation ship and would take the bus to ge see my g/f, so it was nice to be able to watch movies. Unfortunately I, had to turn to Seasons of M*A*S*H because those only ran for 1/2hr/episode so I could finish them.

    Since I moved closer though, my need for it has dwindled and it now resides at the g/f's apartment since she doesn't have a computer...
    Compy 1 (Brand New as of 2/7/07):
    P5N32-E SLI w/ C2D E6600 at stock (for now)
    Zalman CNPS9700 cooler
    2GB Corsair DDR2800 @ 5-5-5-15 @1.9v
    1x EVGA 8800GTX (stock)
    1 150GB Raptor+ 250GB WD Internal SATA's
    250GB WD Backup Drive
    2x Plextor DVD burners, IDE
    2x Plextor DVD burners, SATA
    Audigy2 w/ Klipsch 2.1's
    Black Silverstone TJ-07
    PC P&C 510W SLI PSU
    Dell 30" LCD


    Strongbad e-mail

  11. #11
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    Did you have the 8 cell battery or the 4 cell?

  12. #12
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    I only got the 4-cell one. I wonder how much the 8-cell would cost...
    Compy 1 (Brand New as of 2/7/07):
    P5N32-E SLI w/ C2D E6600 at stock (for now)
    Zalman CNPS9700 cooler
    2GB Corsair DDR2800 @ 5-5-5-15 @1.9v
    1x EVGA 8800GTX (stock)
    1 150GB Raptor+ 250GB WD Internal SATA's
    250GB WD Backup Drive
    2x Plextor DVD burners, IDE
    2x Plextor DVD burners, SATA
    Audigy2 w/ Klipsch 2.1's
    Black Silverstone TJ-07
    PC P&C 510W SLI PSU
    Dell 30" LCD


    Strongbad e-mail

  13. #13
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    Last I checked, the 8 cell is $100, which isn't bad considering it's a brand new battery and you get 5 hours of mobility (I have the 8 cell already).

  14. #14
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    Have to admit, While I love my wSXGA 15.4" screen, and the capabilities inherant to my 3000+ with it's discrete (if aged, at this point, nearly 20 months after purchace) GF440 graphics, I have to admit that a slightly more portable laptop doesn't strike me as a terrible idea.

    Having gone out and played with everything I can get my hands on, though, I think the HPQ v2000 series, with Dothans, Turions or Yonahs (!!!) available at 5.2lbs with a 14" wXGA screen is my pick for budget, and the nx6110, 6115, and 6125 are all great performers with better x300 radeons and options for the sXGA screens at 15"... but they are a little more costly and heavy.

    One thing everyone who is complaining about the annoyance of trackpads when typing should appreciate about most HPQ models is HERE.

    Click enlarge and note the little button atop the trackpad. My R3000 shares this feature, and it's wonderful... the abitility, at a touch, to toggle the trackpad on and off. I'd easily pay $50-100 more for this little feature. The Compaq designs also have a nice array of other on/off toggles that are built in and not software driven... wireless, volume, and mute, for example. I like TrackPoints (used by Toshiba and Lenovo/IBM) better, but I can deal with the touchpads as long as you can just turn them off and on as required.

    Probably why I'm 90% certain that I'll buy HPQ next time I upgrade. The "style" might be a little uncool, but the designers definately had their thinking caps on. I also very much like their matte screens (particularly on the nx series), and their keyboards are 'clicky' enough for me. I type hard, and while IBM, Dell, Toshiba, and Acer keyboards are nice and quiet, I feel like I'm typing into a bowl of pudding when the keys don't bounce back at all.

    The only thing with the Compaq lines is that they ship usually with Fujitsu HDDs... so you pretty much have to buy a Seagate along with the laptop to get solid reliability and vastly superior performance. I'm not sure why they do this... I think so that the 'business' models look better. But it's my biggest complaint with HP/Q... since Dell and Lenovo at least give you Travelstars most of the time, which might not be the most reliable, but which are at least not SLOW and unreliable.
    We all Think Different too.

  15. #15
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    I actually like Fujistu's notebook drives. I've found them to be quite reliable. Though really, I haven't had issues with any drives lately.

    I do agree with you on HP/Compaq notebooks. They may not be the coolest looking (though the business class HPs do look very clean and functional), but they have the right features in the right places. Having memory card readers is a big plus in my book, too. It makes it easy to transfer pictures from the digital camera without having to break out the USB cable.

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