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Dell

Dell

From its business-savvy Latitude laptops to its gaming powerhouse XPS and Alienware desktops, Dell has made its mark on the PC landscape. Plus the computer manufacturer offers customization options that few of its competitors match, making for a unique line of offerings. Read on for CNET's complete coverage of Dell laptops, desktops, printers, and monitors.

Dell laptops CNET editors' reviews

Very good

7.3

out of 10

The good: More configurable than other Netbooks; good battery life; XP and Linux OS options.

The bad: Some awkward keyboard compromises; no SSD options larger than 16GB.

The bottom line: Dell's entry into the Netbook market means it's time to take these low-cost, low-power PCs seriously. The Inspiron Mini 9 is an excellent example of the form, if not radically different from the competition.

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Very good

7.0

out of 10

The good: Thin, sexy design, decent battery life.

The bad: Older CPU, overly glossy screen can be hard to read, touch pad is too small.

The bottom line: Dell offers a suitable competitor to the 13-inch Apple MacBook in its XPS 1330, but we wish this retail version had some more recent components.

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Very good

7.8

out of 10

The good: Sharp new design; tons of business-friendly features; highly configurable; excellent battery.

The bad: Merely average performance; somewhat heavy.

The bottom line: A total revamp of Dell's ubiquitous business laptop line, the Latitude E6400 offers Intel's latest Centrino 2 mobile platform and introduces a brushed-metal design that works at home or office, but the real highlight here is the long battery life.

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Excellent

8.0

out of 10

The good: Faster performance than other laptops in the same price range; 4GB of RAM; big 320GB hard drive; HDMI output, touch-sensitive media controls.

The bad: Bulkier than Dell's 15-inch XPS and Inspiron models; merely average battery life.

The bottom line: The Dell Studio S1535-125B impresses us with its leading performance in the sub-$1,000 category, thanks in large part to a speedy Intel CPU and generous memory allotment. Striking a fine balance between Dell's XPS and Inspiron lines, we recommend this well-rounded 15-inch laptop for students and home users alike.

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Good

6.7

out of 10

The good: Slimmer than Dell's 14-inch Inspiron; includes HDMI and touch-sensitive media control buttons; a bit cheaper than other 1525 configurations and has better battery life.

The bad: Slightly slower than other versions of the 1525 we've looked at; smaller hard drive.

The bottom line: The Dell Inspiron 1525-121B is the textbook example of a midsize, mainstream laptop. Switching to slower CPU knocks a little off the performance, but also takes $80 off the price and adds battery life, compared with Dell's more mainstream configurations.

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Good

6.3

out of 10

The good: Fourteen-inch size offers best mix of usability and portability; decent performance among its midsize competition; excellent battery life.

The bad: Dell has updated its 15-inch Inspiron models recently, making this model look a little dated.

The bottom line: The basic 14-inch Inspiron 1420 is a reasonable choice for budget buyers who want something a little smaller than the standard 15-inch chassis, but this laptop has missed out on recent updates other Inspiron models have received.

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Very good

7.3

out of 10

The good: Borrows some of the best design features of the more expensive XPS line; built-in media remote control.

The bad: Bulkier than the 15-inch XPS model; just under the wire for new Centrino 2 chips.

The bottom line: Dell's first release from its new Studio line, the Studio 15, sits between the Inspiron and XPS lines and offers a good mix of features for the price, but we'd be tempted to save up a few extra dollars for a thinner, lighter XPS.

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Dell desktops CNET editors' reviews

Average

5.6

out of 10

The good: First Dell desktop with 64-bit Vista option; onsite service.

The bad: Competition offers more configuration options at better prices; clunky Dell-branded receiver accessories hurt visual appeal; icon software targets the wrong aspects of Apple systems.

The bottom line: Dell's new Studio Desktop introduces 64-bit Windows Vista to the Dell desktop line-up, but that's about the only thing this system does well. Its biggest, and deal-killing, fault is the overpriced and less than aggressive selection of configuration options.

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Very good

7.2

out of 10

The good: Useful, USB-port-equipped device tray on top of the unit; strong price performance.

The bad: No 64-bit Windows option; no Blu-ray, Draft N Wi-Fi, or other higher-end configuration options.

The bottom line: Dell's Inspiron 518 is the latest in a long line of utilitarian, midrange Windows PCs. We wish Dell offered a bit more flexibility with its configuration, as well as a 64-bit Windows option, but for a straightforward PC, this is one of the more powerful systems for the dollar.

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Good

6.6

out of 10

The good: Flexible design lets you customize appearance and positioning; best combination of looks and specifications among supersmall desktops.

The bad: Standard budget PCs offer better price-performance and more upgradeability; laptops deliver better space economy with similar specifications for the dollar.

The bottom line: If you're considering all of the computers in the $700 to $1,000 price range, the Dell Studio Hybrid is not very compelling. However, if you limit yourself to the very specific niche of small PCs, you'll appreciate this system's clever design and its relatively powerful hardware.

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Very good

7.7

out of 10

The good: First Dell that ships with overclocked CPU and RAM; supports both CrossFire and SLI multi-graphics card configurations; well-designed hard-drive bays; useful software utilities with no clutterware.

The bad: Poor bang-for-the-buck, even for a high-end gaming PC; limited memory upgrade until 64-bit Vista becomes an option.

The bottom line: Dell's updated flagship gaming desktop incorporates the latest hardware from Intel, Nvidia, and AMD into a system that delivers some very impressive gaming scores. We'd give it a higher recommendation if it wasn't so expensive compared with systems from the competition.

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Very good

7.3

out of 10

The good: Discrete graphics card has its own memory, so it won't steal from the system RAM; built-in Bluetooth.

The bad: The Inspiron 530 was outperformed on a few tests by a system that costs $100 less.

The bottom line: PC vendors have very few tricks remaining to differentiate their systems from the competition, which makes the built-in Bluetooth in the Dell Inspiron 530 unique. There's little else that makes this system stand out, but if you need Bluetooth in your budget desktop, we can recommend no other.

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Dell monitors CNET editors' reviews

Very good

7.0

out of 10

The good: Incredible amount of features and connection options; very impressive aesthetic quality; looks great with games and normal office tasks.

The bad: Very expensive even for a 30-inch model with so many features; color performance with movies was extremely lacking; no built-in sound; no coaxial connection for an HDTV over-the-air antenna.

The bottom line: If you're willing to pay the price for beautiful looks and loads of connection options in a 30-inch LCD monitor, you'll like what you get with the Dell 3008WFP. You may be less enthused with this display, however, after experiencing its lackluster color performance and low black levels when watching movies.

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Good

6.6

out of 10

The good: Aesthetically pleasing design; built-in speakers; great performance, especially in color reproduction; elegant and practical onscreen display.

The bad: Sky-high price puts it out of reach for most of us; lack of connection options; nonadjustable screen height.

The bottom line: For boardrooms and public spaces in need of a LCD conversation piece, the Dell Crystal might find a home. For those not operating on a bloated corporate budget, however, there are plenty of other 22-inch LCDs that cost a fraction of the cost.

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Very good

7.4

out of 10

The good: Elegant design; practical size; excellent geometry, brightness, and contrast; four USB 2.0 ports; memory card slots.

The bad: Expensive; uniformity, ghosting, and color-tracking artifacts that would matter less if the display were cheaper; no HDMI interface; lacks some important settings; generates a lot of heat.

The bottom line: The Dell UltraSharp 2707WFP is expensive and not quite up to the task for professional imaging, but its elegant design, big screen, and copious extras will appeal to those with a big budget.

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Excellent

8.7

out of 10

The good: Strong overall performance; its tried-and-true design is both aesthetically pleasing and practical; video connections galore.

The bad: Cool preset mode is too blue; no digital audio connection.

The bottom line: The 24-inch Dell UltraSharp 2408WFP display delivers across the board in performance, design, and features. It excelled with movies and games, making it not only an excellent choice as an entertainment display, but also great for everyday Windows tasks.

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Excellent

8.4

out of 10

The good: Awesome overall performance; aggressively priced; VGA, DVI, and HDMI ports; added bonuses include USB ports and Webcam; steady base.

The bad: Stand doesn't let you adjust the height or swivel; vertical viewing angle is limited; glossy screen coating isn't the best choice for office use.

The bottom line: The Dell SP2208WFP is a versatile 22-inch display monitor that delivers outstanding overall performance and a pleasing design for a price that's hard to beat.

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Dell printers CNET editors' reviews

Average

5.3

out of 10

The good: Low initial cost; simple, attractive design.

The bad: Expensive replacement cartridges; sluggish as a photo printer; poor-quality prints; no Ethernet port.

The bottom line: The Dell V305w is cosmetically appealing and inexpensive, but the output quality needs significant improvement, and the cost to maintain the printer is much higher than the industry standard. We recommend checking out the competition for a printer that will give you longer-lasting inks, cheaper replacement cartridges, and more acceptable photo-quality prints.

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Very good

7.0

out of 10

The good: Copier, fax, and scanner function independently of your computer; built-in automatic document feeder; low price for included features.

The bad: Graphics prints are unacceptable even for light presentations; printer ships with low-yield toner cartridge; several small design issues.

The bottom line: Aside from a few complaints, we like the Dell 1125's overall package. The reasonable price tag also helps. We would recommend the Dell 1125 as a sensible solution for shoppers in the market for a text-specific all-in-one.

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Good

6.7

out of 10

The good: Inexpensive; fast color prints; great text print quality; single-sheet manual feed slot.

The bad: Slow black prints; black prints need to be darker; color graphics printing could use some improvement; memory and paper input are not expandable; no auto-duplexer.

The bottom line: The Dell 1320c is a decent choice for a small office or work group, but a little more cash will net you a faster printer with better print quality.

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Average

5.6

out of 10

The good: Multifunction printer with built-in media card slots and USB port; has e-fax capability; produces a scannable photo index.

The bad: Disappointing print quality; photo ink actually degrades photo quality; Dell's own photo paper doesn't produce the best quality prints; sluggish task speeds.

The bottom line: The Dell Photo 926 is disappointing, even for a $100 multifunction printer. You can get a better printer for the same money.

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Dell features

Project runway: Dell's new-look systems impress

Both Dell's mainstream desktops and laptops will now carry the Inspiron name, and we liked the Inspiron 531 desktop so much that we gave it an Editors' Choice. Read more

June 28. 2007

Dell overclocks, flexes its volume muscle

The Dell XPS 710 H2C isn't fundamentally that different from the old, vanilla XPS 710, but two important factors make it stand out. Read more

January 9, 2007

CNET Prizefight: Apple 30-inch LCD vs. Dell 30-inch LCD

We tested the monitors side by side on identical PCs running Windows XP Pro, but even when the panels are identical, equal performance isn't a guarantee. The way the panel is engineered makes a significant difference, so let's ring the bell and see which monitor comes out on top. Read more

March 22, 2006

Dell blogs on Crave

Dell blogs on CNET News.com

Dell news

Dell to sell advanced cooling systems for servers

Liquid cooling is all the rage again in servers, and Dell has jumped into the pool. Read more

By Michael Kanellos, June 28, 2007

Dell calls on HP to investigate spying charges

A corporate shoving match has begun between Hewlett-Packard and Dell following new allegations that HP robbed Dell of trade secrets. Read more

By Greg Sandoval, June 1, 2007

What Wal-Mart means to Dell

News analysis: Dell is adding a new dimension to its sales strategy, but it's unclear if this move can get the company back on track. Read more

By Erica Ogg, May 24, 2007

Dell shopping

Dell systems run the gamut, from budget-friendly desktops starting under $400 all the way to gaming-friendly XPS series that will set you $2,000 back, if not more. Similarly, the company offers a wide variety of peripherals including printers and monitors ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000.

Dell desktops


Dell laptops


Dell monitors


Dell printers

User opinions for Dell Inspiron 531

3 out of 10 Poor
"Beautiful Computer very very quiet" I had the Inspiron 531 computer for 2 and a half weeks. It is going back. The computer is fast and operates good. It is quiet... Read more

by cabootee (see profile), 08/30/2007

8 out of 10 Excellent
"Windows XP Drivers for Inspiron 531" I have successfully installed Windows XP on an Inspiron 531 and am really impressed with the speed and performance of this... Read more

by AndyBoucher (see profile), 09/11/2007

8 out of 10 Excellent
"Computer was great, except for Vista!" I configured and purchased a Dell Inspiron 531 three weeks ago (early October.) I built a great system, and was thrilled to be... Read more

by mauibeachboo (see profile), 10/30/2007

Good

6.8

out of 10
Average User Rating

User opinions for Dell Latitude D630

10 out of 10 Perfect
"Thinkpad to Dell" I owned the T42 and was looking to upgrade to the new T61 widescreen when I happened to read cnets editors choice review and... Read more

by ksearch (see profile), 06/15/2007

9 out of 10 Spectacular
"Quietly impressive" I've been issued the usual range of corporate laptops including Thinkpads, Dells etc. and I've been quietly pleased with this... Read more

by Zelig504 (see profile), 05/30/2007

7 out of 10 Very good
"Nice but still not a Thinkpad" I'm sure many will find this to be a very nice laptop. It has many appealing features. For my purposes, I need to be on the road... Read more

by charleybayarea (see profile), 06/21/2007

Very good

7.6

out of 10
Average User Rating

User opinions for Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP

5 out of 10 Average
"average at best, not true 8bit, poor shading and shadow detail" Looks great, nice stand, fantastic price, great size, very little backlight bleed, very sharp, not much lag for a 24" LCD,... Read more

by bronxbombers3 (see profile), 07/20/2006

3 out of 10 Poor
"Not an Upgrade from the 2405!" I currently own a Dell UltraSharp 2405FPW, and purchased the UltraSharp 2407WFP as an "upgrade" and was planning on using it as... Read more

by sam_laby (see profile), 09/14/2006

10 out of 10 Perfect
"Unbelievably stupendous..." My girlfriend and I bought a pair of these monitors last week. Stupidly large, not overly expensive, and beautiful. Neither of... Read more

by kinnikkuman (see profile), 06/18/2006

Very good

7.9

out of 10
Average User Rating

Learn about Dell

Dell desktops
The pioneer of the built-to-order PC remains very competitive more than 20 years after Michael Dell began selling custom systems out of his University of Texas dorm room. If you head on over to Dell.com today, you can build almost any kind of desktop, from a $349 budget Inspiron (which replaced the Dimension line earlier this year, at least online) all the way up to a high-end gaming PC costing several thousand dollars.

Dell has two basic lines of home desktops. The Inspiron offers two different chassis, the standard midtower Inspiron 530/531, and the slimmer 530s/531s. The 530 models are Intel-based systems, and 531 indicates an AMD processor. These systems are aimed at the basic home user who wants to surf the Web, edit photos, do school work, and perform other every day computing tasks. You may also have heard that Dell partnered with Wal-Mart to sell its PCs in select Wal-Mart stores around the country. There you'll find older models, like the Dimension E521, in fixed configurations. Generally these are also suited to straightforward computing, although they don't necessarily include the most current components.

If you want to get involved in PC gaming, home movie editing, or integrating your computer into your home entertainment system, you'll probably want to look at one of Dell's high-end XPS systems, either the XPS 410 or the smaller XPS 210. Both of those PCs offer dual-core processors, TV tuners, better graphics cards, and generally offer a wider, more advanced selection of components than the basic Inspiron systems. Of course, the XPS desktops are also more expensive. If you're really serious about gaming and have a particularly expansive budget, the Dell XPS 720 and the XPS 720 H2C (minor updates to the 710 and 710 H2C, respectively) offer top-of-the-line features like dual graphics cards, overclocked quad-core CPUs, boutique-style cases and internal wiring. Depending on your ambitions for one of those PCs, the price can start to look like the down payment on a car.

Dell laptops
Dell's laptops for home users belong to two distinct product families. The Inspiron line is aimed at those who simply need a straightforward computer, while the newly expanded XPS series focuses on high-performance PCs for customers who are willing to spend extra on a complete PC for gaming and digital home entertainment. A third line, Latitude, is geared toward business users.

With many Dell laptops, choosing a model is just the beginning: you'll also be able to choose Intel or AMD processors in a variety of speeds, different quantities of RAM, multiple hard drive sizes, and several optical drives. With the exception of the XPS line and the ATG line of ruggedized laptops, all of Dell's laptops start at less than $1,600, and you'll generally get a pretty compelling set of specs and features for your money.


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Dell pictures

Photos: Dell Linux Ubuntu

Photos: Dell Linux Ubuntu

Dell now ships some new models preinstalled with Ubuntu, a free Linux distribution from Canonical that provides a Microsoft Windows-like experience for those new to Linux.

Dell videos

Dell Inspiron 531s

Dell Inspiron 531s

The Dell Inspiron 531s, the company's newest, small-scale Windows desktop, may not offer the most bang for the buck, but it offers more options than the competition.

Dell Dimension E521

Dell Dimension E521

Dell's Dimension E521 doesn't have many bells and whistles, but a powerful dual-core AMD processor lends it unexpected performance and a strong bang for the buck.

Dell Inspiron E1505

Dell Inspiron E1505

The Windows Vista-based Dell Inspiron E1505 remains a good laptop for basic home use, with a solid set of multimedia features and high-end components.

Dell Inspiron E1705

Dell Inspiron E1705

Dell's 17-inch Inspiron E1705, when properly configured, is a reasonably priced strong performer that gets the job done for home users who want a large desktop replacement that can handle both multimedia and gaming.