Pros- Cost effective solution
Cons- No good at handling anything but word processing and some internet surfing
- Struggles to playback videos smoothly
- No wifi. However, Dell will sell you a solution that can easily be installed in a card slot at the bottom of the laptop.
- Poor battery life
I believe it was late 2006 that I bought three of these laptop and was surprised at how quickly Dell delivered them. Despite the fact that I had requested that they be delivered to my home in Jamaica, I received them with two weeks. The laptops arrived in neat packaging with only the bare essentials needed to run the machines.
At first, I was surprised that there was no installation CDs. My research later showed this to be the policy of Dell, not include an installation CD unless the purchaser requests and pays for one. Should there arise a need to re-install the operating system, the user will have to keep his fingers crossed that the installation partition on the hard drive is working. This system restore procedure works by using an image of the original installation, that is stored on a hidden partition on the hard drive, to restore the laptop to its original state as it came from the manufacturer. Owners of this laptop should backup all their files before using this system restore procedure because it will permanently overwrite all user data.
CPU Fan Issues
After about two years of use, I start to notice how noisy the system was getting. It turns out that the CPU fan was failing and would need replacing soon but I decided to tempt faith and continue using the machine anyway. Eventually, the loud crating sound got on my nerves, so I eventually gave in and purchased a new fan. Apparently, my machine wasn't the only one having this issue. The other two Inspiron laptops started having the same fan problem, I guess they weren't built to last more than two years. Further evidence of this is the fact that there seems to be a thriving spare parts trade running on Ebay for Inspiron 1300 CPU fans. Mercifully, they cost less than $15 and are easy to install, if you are comfortable with completely disassembling the laptop yourself to access the fan bay.
Dell seems to have cut other corners to produce this machine. Besides the fan issue, the USB ports tend to fall apart after a while. On one of the machines I bought, plugging in a USB cable will cause the computer to immediately shutdown. To be fair to Dell, this seems to be an isolated case that was caused by a faulty port that tends to short out and cause the computer to turnoff to protect itself.
I wondered if I should even write a section on battery life because there is so little of it. I can't remember every getting more than fifty minutes out of the 4-cell battery that came with the laptop, even with moderate use such as word processing. I guess this should be a warning to everyone not to consider buying a laptop with anything less than a 6-cell battery. Anything less is a joke.
- 15.4-inch WXGA display
- 1.4GHZ Intel Celeron
- 256MB of RAM
- 40GB Hard Drive (5400RPM)
- Microsoft Windows XP Home
- 24x CD Burner/DVD Combo drive
- 56Kbps Modem and Integrated Ethernet Network Card
- Dimensions: Height 1.41", Width 14.0", Depth 10.5"
- Weight: 6.7lbs (with 4-cell battery)
- 4-cell Lithium Ion Battery
- Ports: 3 USB 2.0, VGA out, Modem RJ-11, Ethernet RJ-45, audio line-out (for speakers headphones), external microphone port, ExpressCard 34 slot
In ClosingAt the time of purchase, the Inspiron 1300 was the most cost effective option Dell offered but in hindsight I should have opted for a more robust machine with better graphics capabilities and more memory. The look and feel is so, so but then what can you expect from a budget machine. This laptop is not suited for anything more than light word processing; anything else is likely to overwhelm the machine, especially if the memory is not upgraded.