With the wide screen notebooks from Apple, mobile PC system vendors have caught on to this market. The benefits of widescreen aren't fully appreciated by average users, but for multimedia functions and the need for additional screen space to view everything, this becomes really invaluable.

As it is with most things concerning mobile, wide screen notebooks encounter two problems: size and battery life. With wide screen notebooks, obviously, the screen size is going to be wider than normal (and often times, overall larger). This creates a problem for system designers who are typing to create a system that emphasizes mobility. The second is really a by-product of the first, just because screen size and dimensions directly affect battery life. Since wide screen notebooks fit the need of multimedia users, brightness settings, as well as other quality settings, need to be, at a minimum, up to par with normal screen specifications. Coupled with this is the need to enjoy the visual “feel” of the wide screen environment, which inherently creates a bad formula for a low battery life. However, this was a barrier that could be overcome easily. With the advent of Centrino, power consumption on the processor and other integrated components were lost as a concern for the design of a battery conscientious notebook. This weight of power consumption, then, was available to be shifted off to other devices, such as displays.

Of the wide screen notebooks available, Dell created some stir by introducing the Inspiron 8600 in late August, which is supposed to be the successor to the Inspiron 8500. For Dell, this is currently labeled as their highest end desktop replacement notebook. For us, the Inspiron 8600 could fall under two different designations: a mainstream desktop replacement notebook or a high-end mobile notebook. The reason we don't clearly define it as a desktop replacement notebook is because it doesn't use desktop components: processor, hard drive, etc. As a by-product of using the higher spectrum of mobile components, specifically Centrino technology, the Inspiron 8600 can be considered a high-end mobile notebook.

Construction - Build, Appearance, Size


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  • Anonymous User - Thursday, October 9, 2003 - link

    I'd love to buy a wide screen LCD for my not-mobile computer, is there any ? Can't find a review of such a thing Reply

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