Dell Inspiron 6000

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The Inspiron 6000 comes as a major disappointment in the Dell notebooks with no appealing features and a lack of decent software. Even the design of the 6.6 lb machine is a black mark on the Dells generally superb notebooks. It is almost mandatory to shell out extra hundreds of dollars to install the basic software that should be offered with the notebook.

When I took it out for a spin around a few Starbucks, testing out its numerous capabilities I got quite a few admiring glances and I do not think it was the computer. The 6000 comes with a great gray metallic finish which complements its sharp build, but its snazzy looks are almost vintage, old news in the notebook world. Dell has looked to Apple for inspiration in design, but instead came off with a cheap knock-off look rather than a product that looks like a high performance machine. Even beyond the failed design, the 6000 leaves a lot wanting.

 

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The 6000 is a mid-range laptop, starting at $1200, and seems to be designed for heavy-duty multimedia use but it lacks most of the software to complete these tasks. It does not even include the Windows Media Center edition software. Along with the lack of software is the poor performance when running games or watching transferred video. Running old games such as Star Trek: Armada caused the 1.6 Ghz Celeron M Processor lots of problems and the 256 MB RAM made the graphics slow to a crawl.

The 6000 has the feel and price of a notebook that excels in multimedia. The notebook is even advertised as such, yet its actual capabilities are poor even in comparison to the low end notebooks. The lack of a TV tuner or even a proper media center was an enormous omission among other things that I thought were missing from the 6000. Even the productivity package came thin with simply a Corel WordPerfect.

The plain Dell 6000 is almost a heap of useless metal, especially with the release of the 6000d which has an enormously improved graphics but the rest of the qualities are similar. Even while there are gaping faults with the 6000d as well, it is a great improvement over the baseline 6000. The difference between the two is the Sonoma, a new Centrino package offered by Intel. The 6000 line had already been manufactured and so the same notebook began to be sold under a different name, the 6000d. Sonoma was designed specifically for multimedia and entertainment on the go. The upgraded Celeron M and Pentium M helped the computer access the memory faster and was able to handle taxing programs on the CPU with a lot more ease. The 6000 also only came with a 256MB of memory while the 6000d uses a chipset which leaves room for the ATI Mobility Radeon X600. The 6000d also came with great wireless cards with a choice between the 802.11b and 802.11g. They were extremely effective and might be one of the few strong points of the computer.

My biggest problem with the 6000 was that its performance was nearly negligible with the previous notebooks in the same line such as the Dell 600d. All Dell Inspirons come with the basic media experience software and this notebook did not expand past any of the basic features that Dell chooses to offer. I am not really sure where the $1200 price tag comes from, but there are not nearly enough options available for that high of a price. When I tried to use Tivo-to-go technology on the notebook and stream it through my notebook I saw the same poor quality that was present in other Dell notebooks. Nothing made this notebook stand out beyond its awkward old age design.

The Inspiron 6000 also had trouble with the basic function of peer to peer networking which should have been standard procedures with these Dell notebooks but after several hours of futile attempts and numerous calls to technical support I still was not able to connect and talk to other computers. The 6000d felt as if it was better designed as the graphics improvement alone seemed to make the entire notebook competent. The wireless connection was good, the entertainment and media looked great, a large improvement over the 6000s problems with simple games such as Star Trek. Similar to the 6000, the 6000d had a large and powerful 15.4 screen that it boasted and the energy saving feature on the computer when it runs solely on battery can be turned off to brighten the screen for a crisp clear picture. There was a good 60 GB of space in the hard drive which is ample space for most users, even those who want major entertainment programs on their computer. The CD\RW and DVD\RW in a combo drive was a nice feature of the notebook and it seemed compatible with most formats of other players.

If buyers are scouting the Dell 6000 lineup then they should go up a level and buy the higher performing 6000d. The 6000 needs a few hundred dollars for the extra software to make the notebook usable up to its potential. Otherwise the Inspiron 6000 is a waste of money, trading up is almost mandatory. The 6000d is a fairly decent machine and is good for occasional entertainment use, but those who will use their laptops primarily for entertainment should step up to the Dell XPS notebooks. These notebooks are the top of the line in media and entertain, especially designed for gamers and to satisfy the needs of the tech savvy computer lovers.

The Inspiron 6000 is one I would pass on. If you are going to purchase in the 6000 line then purchase the 6000d, which is significantly better. RATING: 3 out of 10.

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