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Dell Inspiron 1525

>> Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Inspiron 1525 offers all of the ports and connections you'll probably need, but in typical Dell fashion, almost everything is an extra cost add on. Bluetooth is $20, 802.11n Wi-Fi is $50, and a DVD burner is $30 (as opposed to a plain CD-RW or DVD-ROM drive). In a move that our friends at Apple should take note of, mobile broadband antennas from both Sprint and Verizon are offered.

Each antenna costs $150, but signing up for service will get you a $100 rebate from either carrier.

While our $1,000 plus review unit was a perfectly capable dual core system, what exactly do you get for the $499 base price?

We would steer far clear of the lowest end components, which include a 1.8GHz Intel Celeron 540 CPU, Vista Basic, an 80GB hard drive (same size as the MacBook Air), and only 512MB of RAM.

Upgrading to 1GB of RAM is only $50, and adding an Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 is $100 we would call that the bare minimum for a usable laptop. With 2GB of RAM and a 2.0GHz T7250 CPU, the Dell Inspiron 1525 offered no surprises on the performance front. Dell's upscale XPS version the XPS M1530 was faster, sporting a better processor and video card (the 1525 is stuck with basic Intel integrated graphics), but similarly configured versions of both systems would offer nearly identical performance, with the XPS premium going for better design and construction.

The Inspiron 1525 ran for 2 hours and 41 minutes on our DVD battery drain test, using the included six cell battery, a decent score for budget 15 inch laptop. A nine cell battery is also available, but it's large enough to stick out conspicuously from the back of the system. Our DVD battery drain test is especially grueling, so you can expect longer life from casual Web surfing and office use.

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