Widescreen Notebooks: More Than Just Expensive DVD Players?

Dell Inspiron 6000d

While the Acer TM8103Wlmi discussed above falls into the category of business widescreen notebooks, the category for the Dell Inspiron 6000 is more that of an "affordable all-purpose widescreen notebook."

"Affordable" because a basic Inspiron 6000 model equipped with a Pentium M715/730, 512 MB of DDR2 DRAM, an integrated graphics processor, a 15.4" WSXGA+ display and one year of support can be had for just under $1000/€1000. The Inspiron 6000d, which we used for our test, had 1 GB of memory, an Ati X300 graphics card with 128 MB memory and a Pentium M740 and by comparison costs about a third more ($1500/€1450).

Case And Connections

With its angular design and considerable thickness the Inspiron 6000d looks really brawny. The front side is approximately (0.26") 7 mm thicker than Acer's mobile PC, while the difference in the backside's thickness is 0.12" ( mm).

The Inspiron 6000d with 15.4" WSXGA+ display

Whether you like the tri-color white, silver and anthracite design and the juxtaposition of glossy and matt surfaces is a matter of taste. Our test crew felt its looks took quite a lot of getting used to. At first, the case does not appear as elegant and high in quality as Acer's machine. This impression turned out to be incorrect over the course of several weeks of testing, at least as far as the quality of the case exterior is concerned.

The two loudspeakers and shiny silver buttons controlling audio and video functions on the front of the Inspiron 6000d immediately grab your attention.

Silver audio/video control buttons and stereo loudspeakers on the front are real eye catchers.

With this model, Dell offers VGA, TV out, LAN and modem connections that are accessed from the back of the machine and not from the side, which would have been impractical.

The rear view with VGA, S-VHS, Ethernet, and modem hookups.

The battery, featuring a built-in power meter, inserts into the machine from the bottom. This allows users to check charge status even with the battery not connected to the notebook.

A power meter on the battery is a practical feature.