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Dell Inspiron N5010 review
I already have Apple PoweBook G4 laptop computer for my mobile computing needs. Unfortunately, the battery of the PowerBook is not working anymore after so many cycles. My PowerBook lacks Wi-Fi, rendering it almost useless for my traveling needs using a computer. That's why I decided it is time for a new laptop in my house, instead of investing money in the old machine that was confirmed to never be able to run the MorphOS operating system. To try MorphOS at home was one of the reasons I bought the Apple PowerPC hardware back in year 2009. Another reason was the possibility to port my games to MacOS X. After people reported that my games compiled for MacOS X Tiger does not run on the latest Intel based MacOS X Snow Leopard, I almost gave up coding on the Apple Mac. I had the possibility to buy cheap notebook that will need upgrade soon or more expensive option that hopefully will not need upgrade for several years. After visiting several shops, I purchased from the Technopolis shop a Dell Inspiron N5010, Core i7-740QM (1.73 GHz), 15.6" HD (1366x768), WLED, 1.3MP Camera, 6144MB 1333MHz DDR3, 750GB HDD, DVD+/-RW, Quad Core 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650, 802.11n, Bluetooth, Windows 7 Home Premium (64 BIT), Aluminium color for the price of 1799.00 BGN or 920 Euro including VAT. The price reduced from being 2000 BGN last time I looked at this machine, was below the psychological limit of 1000 EUR, so it was perfect for my projects.
The laptop comes in a white carton box with dimensions 49 cm X 35 cm X 10 cm. On the front side of the box is a picture of the laptop on white background showing front of opened machine with a picture on the screen showing unique colors. On the back of the box is the same laptop showing the back side with the DELL logo on the back of the screen and the power, USB and video jacks. On the sides of the box is written information about the Service Tag number, the model - Inspiron N5010 No: 5010-8918, the color - ALUMINIUM, Country - BG, and the origin - Made in China. Inside the box are the laptop, AC Power Adapter and instruction manual. The laptop weights 2.6 kg, measured with my electronic scale and have the size of 37.5 cm X 26.0 cm X 3.5 cm. The AC power adapter is slightly bigger than the adapters of the laptops I used before. It weights 0,6 kg and have dimensions of 15.0 cm X 7.5 cm X 2.5 cm. The cable from the adapter to the power socket is 80 cm long and from the adapter to the laptop is 175 cm. The laptop can be as far as 2.7 meters from the power source making it suitable for offices and airports. The power adapter works on voltage ranges from 100V to 240V meaning it needs no changes when traveling from Europe to North America or vice versa. The only problem can be the Shucko socket, but there are easily obtainable converters for that.
The laptop came with already installed Windows 7 Home Premium. After the first start I only needed to enter personal data and activate the anti-virus software. After the mandatory service updates and fixes, which were accumulated several hundred of megabytes already, I had fully working system. The operating system worked straight out of the box, without the need of extra maintenance. The anti-virus program installed with the Windows on the laptop was one month trial version of McAfee anti-virus software. After being spammed by McAfee for a whole month with various discounts and hints of my system becoming unsecured, I decided that I will not pay extra to use my operating system, already paid, when I bought the laptop. After the first month I removed the McAfee anti-virus software and installed the free AVG anti-virus.
I am using the Dell Inspiron N5010 for more than a month now and I found it very easy to use. I worked with various laptop and desktop computers before. This laptop is one of the best and the easiest to use so far.
Several features of the laptop that make it easier to use are:
Dell surely is the laptop manufacturer that gives the best price/performance ratio for the customer, with the highest quality. The Dell Inspiron N5010 is not an exclusion. I ran the Belarc Advisor for the hardware report. It shows the following hardware:
LOTS OF FEATURES, MASSIVE APPEALon the left of the TouchPad says
Impressive battery life, my experience was not that impressive. With full charged (100%) battery, in normal usage the battery meter shows maximum remaining time of up to 1 hour and 45 minutes, that goes down pretty fast. Enabling
Dell Extended Battery Lifedid not change much. With heavy usage, the remaining battery charge easily goes in under one hour, that is not impressive at all. If I have to use the laptop extensively for more than one hour on battery charge, a spare battery will be mandatory. Another weak part of the hardware is the heating, even after simple tasks like watching video or browsing sites with Flash content. The laptop will turn on it's internal cooling fan, which will take away the heating to the left side of the laptop, but will produce extra noise. This is not a big problem, if you are not left handed user, who wants to use external mouse. Or in my case I needed to record the screen so I turned the laptop to the monitor and placed the external mouse on the right. The heating produced from the laptop only after a day damaged the sticky mouse pad, that I used for the external mouse. So better not place objects on the left of the laptop, that can be damaged from long exposure to heating - glasses, phones, floppy disks, mouse pads, especially if you are doing heavy computing tasks like video encoding or emulation. It is also advisable to not place the laptop near to wall or other objects that will stop the ventilation on the left, as outlined in the Warranty card.
As at June 2011, Windows 7 was the second most popular operating system, according to web statistics, leaving the first place to the still monolith till today Windows XP. But soon Windows 7 will become the most popular operating system, meaning that with the operating system installed on the laptop, I won't have to worry about the software supply. Thousands of applications are available for Windows. If some software title is not available, I easily can run Linux and even MacOS 10.6 under virtual machine, without having to reboot the computer at all. With the hundreds of emulators for computers and gaming consoles, I can enjoy the retro games emulated at full speed. So no worries about the software at all. Installed on the laptop together with the Windows were several software titles that I found very good for my projects:
For my tests of the laptop I attached various hardware accessories. All the hardware worked without any trouble. I attached card readers, USB keyboards, USB mouses, 4-Way USB hub, USB Floppy Drive, SingStar USB Microphone from the Playstation 2, SD and MMC memory cards into the built-in card reader on the right side, USB gaming controller pads,
Nokia E-51 phone, gaming pads and many others. The 1.3 MegaPixel camera records movies in resolutions of up to 1280x1024 (HD) and I am going to use the laptop for movie recording, until I get professional HD camera.
The Dell Inspiron N5010 is excellent hardware in the current Internet age, where the demanding computing power for the most simple tasks had increased drastically. The resource requirements for the causal computing used to be much lower six years ago, when I purchased my microAmigaOne. With the new multi-core machine I will not have trouble doing heavy data processing, recording videos and streaming. Only if the machine was not producing any noise it would be the excellent laptop to have. Windows 7 is more enjoyable to use than Windows XP. I will not downgrade to older Windows versions. If I need to use alternative operating systems, there is always virtualization that is easier to handle, thanks to the several cores. It is very easy to travel with it, even if it not the small netbook that people love to carry around. On the other hand the fast battery drain is not making it the best machine for hiking or traveling without power sources. As long as you are settled into a hotel with Wi-Fi and electricity, the machine allows doing computing business as usual. I dīn't regret buying it and hope to have the same opinion after two years.
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