This laptop has everything I need in a computer. In fact, I replaced a desktop machine with it. Thi 501R gives me more features than I had before in a portable package. It uses much less space on my desk and is really quiet. This laptop has the great Dell design that is really stylish and modern. Mine is called Mars Black which makes it look really sharp. My last Dell laptop was the bright red color. It looked fine too. What ever color you want, the laptop will look great. The main point of the computer is the interior anyway. That's where the 501R delivers as well. It has a webcam, big hard drive, a CD and DVD burner and premium sound. You can set up a web recording studio without adding any hardware and put content online right away. If you want to upgrade the laptop, like using it with a top quality web cam, it has the ability to interface to which ever one you want. This laptop has HDMI and VGA outputs. Most new HD televisions have inputs for each so it is your choice of which to use. The VGA might be a cheaper option and works well for computer graphic presentations. If you want to use the laptop as a video player, you will want the HDMI cable. This gives you the sound with the picture feed.
The Dell Inspiron comes with an AMD Athlon II Dual-COre P320 computer processor and has 512KB cache and 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM. This is ample power for most every user. Modern computer applications use the Internet and web servers for much of the functionality. This computer gives you a fully capable platform for your web surfing and lets you run lots of local programs at the same time. The built in wireless network card works just as it should.
Being a touch-typist, I really like a computer to have a good keyboard. The Dell delivers this feature. The keyboard is a good size with nice, responsive keys. The layout is pretty standard but you do have to get used to a particular key combination if those are specially used in your applications. The standards like copy, paste, cut, etc, are easy to use on this keyboard and the typing response is really good.
The touch pad works fine. It's a good size and has the integrated scroll bars and touch sensitive areas. The is a utility that you can use to adjust the response to suit you. I set mine to be less responsive to touch for clicking. This gives the machine a more positive feel and reduces the number of accidental clicks.
Some extra features include an HD video card, a media card reader, networking port and an 8x CD/DVD burner. Except for the CD/DVD, I haven't used them. The HD video card supports various video modes. I use it in the standard mode. It looks fine and is fast enough with nice colors. The media card reader will let you load pictures directly. This might be helpful in some situations. I plug my camera into the laptop with the USB cable instead.
The video screen has good color and at 15.6 inches in size, it is easy on your eyes. You can even use it to show screen images to a small group. The screen shows well from an angle. Some screens are basically invisible to off-axis viewers. While there are laptops available with larger screens, they are a lot heavier and use more batter power than the 501R. The documentation says that there is a 6 cell battery inside. This gives quite a lot of time on a charge. I mostly use it instead of a desktop so I keep it plugged in most of the time. When it travels, it seems to last as long as it ever did. If you are writing with the laptop and you don't need instant Internet access, you can turn off the wireless connection. This gives you quite a bit longer use of the battery charge. This laptop is not a feather weight like some of the notepads but it isn't bad. If you put it on your knees, it is comfortable enough, but you likely would use it on a desk anyway.
You can set up LoJack with this laptop. I haven't done it, but it's a great idea. If your laptop is ever stolen, this would help to get it located and recovered. You can even set up Data Delete service. This will remotely delete all of your files from the hard drive if your laptop was stolen. Like other modern laptops, the Dell 501R has the security connector for a locking cable. These are great to have, even when you use the machine on your desk at home.
The Dell 501R came with Windows 7 Home Premium loaded. This was the first time that I had used it. It has been working fine. There have been no operating system crashes with this laptop which is nice. Windows 7 is supposed to have great network and printer setup support. It worked great with my printer but I haven't networked the laptop with any other computer yet. Windows 7 has been at least as good as my old Windows XP and better than Vista.
When you are shopping for a new laptop, you should consider the Dell iM501R-1459MRB. It's a very capable laptop and is available for a price that represents great value. The size of the screen is really good. You could spend a lot more money for a large screen but you will lose usage time on the battery. Those larger screens are quite a bit heavier as well. Most computer users will find that this laptop connects to the Internet, runs local office productivity software and many games without incident. Although it is quite expandable with more memory and additional devices, it gives you a lot right out of the box. It completely replaced my desktop computer and works much better. It's a quiet computer compared to the old desktop too. I have been completely happy with this laptop. I don't see why most people would consider anything more expensive. I certainly don't see normal computer users buying new desktop computers when laptops like the Dell 501R are so useful and are significantly less expensive.