February 7th, 2006, 08:33 PM
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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