Dell Inspiron M301z - Build Quality, Usability and Multimedia


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In general the build quality of the M301z is good, with no poorly fitting panels and a typically premium feel. It’s doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as the M101z, however, mainly because some of the panels flex significantly when put under strong pressure. Neither is the M301z the quietest machine, its fan often spinning up even when sat idle.

One of our favourite aspects of the M101z was its outstanding keyboard. Though the M301z doesn’t quite match it, its keyboard is still very good. The layout is sensible and logical, and the keys have a decent amount of travel and precise actions.

Equally impressive is the touchpad, which is very large for a machine of this size but is perfectly positioned for typing comfort. Multi-touch support is a given, and includes two-finger scrolling for easier navigation of long documents and web pages. The two buttons offer well-defined, firm feedback.

Aside from being larger, the display on the M301z is much the same as on its smaller cousin. The 1,366 x 768 native resolution is about right for this size screen, providing ample desktop real-estate while remaining readable. In all other respects it’s a solid, but unspectacular, display. Colours are rich enough, blacks deep enough, but viewing angles are a shade on the narrow side.

We assume the M301z uses the same speakers as the M101z too, though in a larger machine they don’t sound quite as impressive. Nonetheless, though their maximum volume is merely average, we’ve heard much worse from other small portable laptops, and they produce clarity sufficient for occasional use.

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