Construction: Build, Appearance, Size

The 700M has been on the market for a couple of months, but we wanted to take the time to really dig our heels into the experience of this notebook, as it really is a caliber apart from what we have previously seen in ultraportable notebooks. This is really the first notebook from that category designed around the multimedia "mantra."

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The notebook lid is simply unsecured via a sliding clip that retracts two security hooks. Opening the notebook reveals a 12.1" WXGA (native 1280 x 800) display. Obviously, the biggest difference between this and other ultraportables is that it uses a widescreen display. Since Dell is centering this on an ultraportable/multimedia notebook theme, this choice only makes sense.

Front (left to right):
  • 4-pin mini IEEE1394 port
  • headphone port
  • microphone port

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Left (left to right):
  • Lock port
  • Exhaust vent
  • VGA out port
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • Secure Digital slot

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Back (left to right):
  • Back of battery pack

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The optical drive is on the right side of the system. The break apart from the Dell norm is shown here where a new Multibay form factor is used. This means that, unlike similar Inspiron notebooks where Multibay devices can be swapped back and forth, the 700M requires Multibay devices specifically designed for it.

Right (left to right):
  • S-video out port
  • Power in port
  • Ethernet jack
  • Modem jack
  • Sony 8x DVD±RW/CD-RW DW-D56A

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The vent on the bottom seems to be an intake vent for the system.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Measuring at 8.5" x 11.7" x 1.5" thick, the 700M is the smallest multimedia notebook that we have seen to date, making it very unique. While it is only slightly longer than Asus' SN5200N in width, the shorter display cuts down the length dimensions noticeably. Marking its weight at slightly over 4 pounds (~4.1 lbs. give and take, depending on what is loaded in the notebook), it positions itself on the heavier end of the ultraportable spectrum, but in our opinion, it isn't so heavy that you can't take it on your trips. In fact, next to the HP Pavilion DV1000, this is the most mobile multimedia notebook that we have seen to do date.

Overall, the feel of the notebook is very sturdy as it sustained a few bumps, rigors, and accidental drops on a couple of our road trips, locally and cross-country. The white portion of the casing is a hard acrylic material, or at least feels like it. The black portion seems to be made of hard plastic or composite material. Both of these materials have basically no "give" in terms of being malleable. The grey plastic that covers the top center part of the notebook is a bit more malleable, though only so much as what we have seen on previous Dell Inspiron notebooks.

Index Construction – Usability in the Field


View All Comments

  • ScArE2100 - Tuesday, July 26, 2005 - link">

    I'm starting the 700m Users Community up.

    Check it out, a great resource for 700m owners to collaborate and take full advantage of their notebooks.
  • holygrail - Sunday, July 3, 2005 - link

    This is a great computer. But be aware. The microphone port is broken. This is a problem on all inspiron 700m's (google for it). Dell ignores the problem. Maybe that they don't want to recall all their computers.
    They replaced my motherboard and wanted to tell me, that i have software-problems. They still don't believe (or don't want to believe) me, that this is a hardware problem. I can't count the hours i waited on the hold, when i wanted to contact a dell customer care, or dell support.
  • mrminator - Monday, May 16, 2005 - link

    These laptops are defective. The 700m audio input is not functional. Try recording something using your 700m and you're screwed. If you own a 700m check it out. I'd call Dell and complain, these units are defective and Dell continues to sell them. They are the bottom of the heap. Reply
  • pg22 - Saturday, January 15, 2005 - link

    Hi josanna
  • kaytwo - Sunday, December 12, 2004 - link

    Fujitsu called, they want their P5000/P7000 design back. Well they probably don't, seeing as they do it better in the first place, with longer battery life, more 'multimedia' features, etc. In laptops, you really do get what you pay for. Reply
  • segagenesis - Sunday, December 12, 2004 - link

    I use a Inspiron D600 at my job. I am unsure of what to expect from interchangeability from notebook parts but wouldnt it be asking a bit much to have ultraportables use the same stuff as standard notebooks? The D series parts will work in thier SX small form factors though... Reply
  • ElFenix - Saturday, December 11, 2004 - link

    dell's new policy of not using d-bay devices on the 700m and 9200 is piss poor. i realize that the neutral gray of the other notebooks doesn't work with the black from the new ones, but they could at least have made the form factor the same for those of us who don't care about the looks and already have a substantial investment in d-bay devices. Reply
  • Losttek - Saturday, December 11, 2004 - link

    "Measuring at 8.5" x 11.7" x 1.5" thick, the DV1000 is the smallest multimedia notebook that we have seen to date, making it very unique."

    I thought you were suppose to be reviewing the 700m. Might want to proofread your articles next time.
  • kuljc - Saturday, December 11, 2004 - link

    well if you get the extended battery, you'll be geting around 4 hours of normal usage out of this thing. Which is plenty of time. Reply
  • bob661 - Saturday, December 11, 2004 - link

    This at the bottom of the barrel as far as battery life is concerned which is one of the main reasons you buy ultra-ports in the first place. That HP kicks ass. Reply

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