Top positive review
19 people found this helpful
Worth it's weight for your light computing needs
on August 23, 2012
My parents were in the market for new computers because they really needed new ones. They were still using HP desktops from 2001... They purchased two of these through my account here on Amazon for the free two-day shipping. Neither of them are tech savvy, so I helped them set up their new computers, transfer their photos, etc. This is a simple process with a USB flash drive or other external storage device. Considering what they were coming from, they are very happy with how fast their new laptops are. (I have a custom PC I built with Corsair SSD's in RAID 1 so....it is hard to get any better than that. These are a lot slower than that, but decent for the 600 dollar price tag in my mind).
For being in the $600 range, this laptop is pretty good. The boot up is a little slow, but that is normal considering the 5400 RPM drive. The machine will slow down when multiple programs are trying to queue the HDD simultaneously, however there is more than enough storage for whatever they want and need to put on their computers. The battery life is about average; 3-4 hours depending on how you have the machine configured.
Both computers had no defects from the factory and Amazon had them packaged pretty well as usual. The Core i5 is more than enough processing power for what they are doing with the computer(s). I mean, common, a Core 2 Duo would be more than sufficient for word processing and checking email. My dad runs Quick Books along with a few other business programs for helping him manage his business, and the i5 has absolutely no problems running those programs either.
They wanted a model with a somewhat large amount of RAM from the factory so I would not have to open it up for upgrades very soon. Six GB of RAM is not the largest amount, but it is enough for the run-of-the-mill, everyday tasks. For some reason they do not want to trust me with opening up their computers....yet. I am in school getting an IT degree at the moment, so maybe they'll change their mind when I am certified; I don't know...
There was one difficulty with these laptops; both machines had this issue. This laptop comes with a 30 day free trial for McAfee's software. I decided to start from scratch and uninstalled the trial version. My mother still insisted on using McAfee Security Center where I recommended Norton, and while I was attempting to download and install McAfee's software (which I did several times), neither machine would accept the download and install attempts. She had just spent the $100 for a two year subscription too. I ended up having to call the McAfee customer service department, and they said Dell has a firewall on these machines that will not let you install third party security software unless it is through Dell. I have never heard of this before, and seemed like a false explanation from their end. In any case, I had to let them take control of the computers remotely to get McAfee's software installed. It took an hour and a half on the phone with a guy who spoke rough English to get them both up to speed with security software. Not terribly bad on McAfee's end, I think.
Anyway, without that minor hiccup trying to get McAfee installed there were no issues; not a single dead pixel on either machine, etc. I have only bought and worked with these new laptops from Dell, and an ASUS laptop which is for my personal use, and like my ASUS, there were several useless programs pre-installed. I hope this is not becoming the norm, but getting rid of the pre-installed stuff you do not want is easily taken care of through the Programs and Features in the Control Panel. The sound is not that great, but that is normal for laptops in my experience. A nice pair of headphones that can fix that. Ultimately, this is a pretty good machine that will serve any general purpose needs. But if you can afford it, I would still recommend an Ultrabook.