Dell Inspiron 700M - Taking the Widescreen Display to Ultraportablesby Andrew Ku on December 11, 2004 1:00 PM EST
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Widescreen displays are really changing the face of a "typical notebook" for the general consumer, and to a lesser extent, the professional. If you look back to a typical "configure it yourself" notebook a few years ago, they were likely to be roughly 5 to 6 pounds with a 14.1" XGA or 15.0" SXGA+ display. The selection of widescreen notebooks back then made up a small fraction of the market, which system vendors like Dell, HP/Compaq, and IBM all correctly pointed to the cause: high widescreen display panel prices.
LCD monitors have come along far enough in the past few years for all of us to notice some substantial price drops, thanks to the further development of LCD technology. In the case of notebooks, we are seeing a price drop all across the board through the system vendor passing on the cost to the consumer. When it comes to widescreen display panels, this means that system vendors are finding it easier to include it in a notebook design without having to sacrifice a bottom line low price.
One reason why we loved the HP Pavilion DV1000 notebook was its sleek profile, suitable for meetings, classrooms, and traveling. However, it was also designed with an "on the road" theater comfort, which marked it as a rarity - something that really could go multipurpose - but it obviously lacks in the gaming department, as we know it, given its choice of an IGP solution. In its form and overall design, it was as if someone took a 15.4" desktop replacement and shrunk it to the size of a mainstream notebook.
This is why we were pleasantly surprised to see someone else take this concept to the ultraportable. Obviously, Dell allows for "configure to order" notebooks, but we were handed an Inspiron 700M with:
- 1.8GHz Dothan Pentium-M 745
- Intel 855GME chipset (non-changable shared VRAM BIOS setting)
- 2 x 256MB ProMOS PC2700 CL2.5
- 8x DVD±RW/CD-RW (Sony DW-D56A)
- 60GB Hitachi 5400RPM Hard Drive
- 12.1" WXGA display (native 1280 x 800)
- Dell's 1350 WLAN 802.11b/g WiFi card
- Broadcom 10/100 Ethernet
- 8 cell extended battery (14.8V, 4.4AH, 65WH)