Dell Inspiron 9300 Notebook Review

The Dell Inspiron 9300 is an extremely powerful notebook computer that can serve as a desktop replacement for all but the most demanding computer users. With a large host of available hardware and software options, the Inspiron 9300 can successfully imitate desktop performance on a variety of tasks including playing and creating videos and music, surfing the internet, word processing, and running a wide variety of programs. While its large size is a slight disadvantage over smaller notebooks, the 9300 also offers great wireless ability and the prospect of mobile computing.

The Inspiron 9300 is the second most expensive and second most powerful model of notebook in Dell’s lineup, behind the expensive gaming-oriented XPS. The 9300 features a 17.1 inch widescreen display that is available in either XGA+ or WUXGA, Intel Pentium M processors ranging in speeds from 1.86 GHz to 2.13 GHz, up to 2 GB of RAM, and hard drives between 60 Gigabytes and 100 Gigabytes operating at either 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm, depending on the size of a consumers appetite for hardware and the thickness of his or her wallet. For anyone not technically inclined in the quickly changing world of personal computing, these offerings, while slightly behind those of a top end Desktop computer, will provide a consumer with performance that is nearly indiscernible in most tasks from that of most new desktop computers.

Excluding the pricey XPS, the large 9300 has a 1.2 pound heavier starting weight than the next heaviest Dell notebook. This weight gives it a great deal hardware that is unavailable on other Dell notebooks. While most notebooks only have 2 USB ports, the Inspiron 9300 packs a desktop imitating six ports, which is handy for plugging in compatible keyboards, printers, cameras, iPods, and other peripherals. The system also includes a notebook expansion slot. Additionally, the Inspiron 9300 is available with a 256 Megabyte video card, which does a great deal to help the system’s performance in graphics and should allow it to remain a useful PC for several years.

The best way to purchase an Inspiron 9300, or any Dell PC, is through www.dell.com. This allows a consumer to choose between customizing the hardware and software he or she desires and selecting a system built to specifications recommended by Dell. The website offers a great deal of customization ability for those confident in their ability to configure a PC to suit their needs while also giving less knowledgeable consumers the ability to order pre-configured systems from their homes.

The strong points of the Inspiron 9300 are centered on its ability to imitate a desktop PC. It can handle running many high end graphics programs such as Google Earth, and has no trouble with word processing, playing DVDs, or playing music. Perhaps its best attribute is its ability to take up to six USB cables. I personally use a USB mouse, keyboard, printer, and floppy disk drive at all times when using the PC at my desk, and it is quite nice to have two side USB ports free for additional flash memory drives or other such peripherals.

The online capabilities of the Inspiron 9300 are also far more diverse than those of a desktop PC. The Inspiron 9300 has an internal wireless network card, meaning the notebook can connect to the internet without any cables in areas where wireless networks are available. The notebook can also be built to include a Bluetooth wireless radio, which is can be useful to transfer data wirelessly to other PCs with Bluetooth or cellular phones with the technology. I have done both, and it is convenient and reliable, if not somewhat slow. Dell notebooks have standard 10/100 network cards, and a 56k fax modem is also standard issue in the Inspiron 9300.

I have never experienced the 9300 overheating, and it plays DVD’s effortlessly. Sound during movies and music is impressive. While no one will confuse the Inspiron 9300’s speakers with a Bose surround sound system, they have impressive quality and only have the characteristic tinny sound of laptop computers in large rooms. The system even includes a small subwoofer on the bottom of the notebook, which truly does help bass quality when playing music.

The 17.1 inch widescreen looks simply amazing, and is suited for watching DVDs from across a room. I found it particularly useful in writing research papers, as its width allowed me to word process on the right side of the screen while reading from a website on the left side. When doing bibliographies, I was able to utilize information on three screens simultaneously without any need for excessive scrolling. The screen is truly one of the strong points of the Inspiron 9300.

However, the strength of the large screen leads to the Inspiron 9300’s greatest weakness, which is its battery life. When surfing a wireless network with the screen at full brightness, I have been fortunate to get 2 hours of battery life with the standard six cell battery. I would recommend upgrading to the optional nine cell battery if you plan on doing any extended computing without a nearby electrical outlet.

Also, the 9300 is quite a hefty system. It has a starting weight of 7.85 pounds, and this weight balloons rapidly with the addition of extra components. Due to the short battery life, I must transport my higher-end Inspiron 9300 with its power converter, and my laptop bag can get quite heavy with the addition of any books or peripherals I wish to tote. In short, this system isn’t the best choice if you will often be walking long distances with your computer.

I could not be happier with my Inspiron 9300, which I have owned for approximately 7 months. I have encountered no hardware problems, and the system continues to provide fast, powerful performance that rivals many desktops. Its ideal use is as a desktop replacement that is occasionally taken on the road. It provides easy transport for a college student or any other individual that does not have space for a desktop computer, and has solid, if not stellar mobile performance.

The great abilities of the 9300 do not come without a price, however. It is more expensive than a comparable desktop, and will require more cash to buy than most other Dell Notebooks.

Overall, the Dell Inspiron 9300 is an excellent desktop replacement. While it is not the most portable notebook, its great performance gives me cause to assign it a ranking of 8.5 out of 10.

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