As ever, there’s a fairly extensive selection of options on hand, with CPU offerings going all the way back to a 1.6GHz T2330 to the more recent T8100 and T8300 45nm Penryn CPUs – both of which can be read about in our Inside Mobile Penryn feature. Our sample system sits somewhere towards the upper end of the range, with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 that runs at 2.0GHz with 2MB L2 Cache and a 800MHz Front Side Bus. This is supported by 2GBs of 667MHz DDR2 RAM, with a 160GB 7200rpm SATA HDD.
Graphics, as with the whole range, is supplied by Intel’s GMA X3100 integrated solution and there are no other options available. This may upset some people, but if you’re after discrete graphics then the XPS range is where you want to be and a large majority of people simply don’t need or want a laptop to play games on, especially when the integrated graphics generates some tangible improvements in battery life.
Networking options are also excellent. Our system came with Intel Draft N Wireless, 10/100 Fast Ethernet and Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR, so you’re not missing out on much. You also get a 2.0 megapixel webcam as standard and a handy little remote that sits in the 54mm ExpressCard slot.
Connection options include HDMI, D-SUB and S-Video for video, four USB ports and FireWire, along with staples such as Ethernet and modem ports. Meanwhile, on the front, you’ll find a 5-in-1 memory card reader, dual headphone outputs, a microphone input and an infrared receiver for the supplied remote. All in all, it’s a healthy selection, though if there’s a single criticism it’s that the four USB ports are a little crowded, so you may find that some devices will block the other ports.
Things only get better when you take into account the display, though. This system came equipped with a 1,440 x 900 TrueLife glossy screen and it’s absolutely superb. Good black levels, sharp text and vibrant colours make this one of the better notebook displays you’ll see in this category, while you can also opt for a 1,280 x 800 TrueLife panel or a standard anti-glare option as well.
And, were this not enough, the Inspiron 1525 offers superb value for money. With the range starting at £329, our sample system would set you back £624 inc. VAT and shipping, which for a notebook with Draft N WiFi and an excellent screen, is great value. Moreover, if you select Dell’s highest basic spec you could get a similar system with a 250GB HDD and 3GB of system memory for around £550 inc. VAT and shipping. You could also select a 2.1GHz T8100 or2.4GHz T8300 for only £40 and £70 more.
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