Core i5 processor is speedy. Great for bargain hunters. Numeric keypad included. Big screen. Excellent performance scores.
Small battery means mediocre battery life. No discrete graphics.
With its Core i5 processor and ample screen real estate, the Dell Inspiron 1764-5595IBU offers an easy transition from desktop to laptop, but gamers will need a better graphics card.
There's life in colossal media centers after all, as consumers aren't ready to give up precious screen real estate, even as they are ready to toss away their clunky desktops. The Dell Inspiron 1764-5595IBU has all the components that'll ease your transition from a desktop to a laptop, except if you're a gamer. At $799.98, Staples is only willing to give you integrated graphics in this particular configuration.
Designs are limited with this particular model. In other words, you better have an affinity for Sky Blue if you're planning on buying the Inspiron 1764-5595IBU from Staples. If you purchase this system from Dell's Website, however, you can customize the top half with up to 200 different designs (the bottom half is consistent across the board). Systems like the Acer Aspire AS8940-6865 and HP Pavilion dv7-3183cl, on the other hand, have a single design regardless of where they're bought from.
Though the Inspiron 1764-5595IBU is bulkier-looking than the Apple MacBook Pro 17-inch (Unibody), it's the lightest of the two. At 6.2 pounds, it's also lighter than the HP Pavilion dv7-3183cl (7.1 lb) and Acer Aspire AS7740-5961 (7 lbs).
The 17.3-inch widescreen is not the biggest; the Acer AS8940-6865 uses an 18.4-inch widescreen and a higher 1,920-by-1,080 resolution. Still, the 1764-5595IBU has an ideal screen size for anyone who dabbles in video and photo editing or enjoys watching high quality movies. Its resolution tops out at 1,600-by-900, though, which is in line with the HP dv7-3183cl and Acer AS7740-5961.
The interior is not made up of your typical plastics. Dell drapes the palm rests and the area bordering the keyboard with brushed aluminum, for a classier look. And while Apple and Acer have transitioned to isolated (also known as island-style) keyboards, Dell prefers the classic keyboard. It's arguably one of the best keyboards in the business, complete with an adjacent numeric keypad. In addition, all Inspiron models, including this one, have the soft and silent mouse buttons (I can't say the same about the ones on the HP dv7-3183cl and Acer AS7740).
The Inspiron 1764-5595IBU comes with the same basic feature set as that of a 15-inch laptop, such as the Dell Studio 1555 (4285MBU) and Acer Aspire 5740-6378. It has an HDMI port and four USB ports. Meanwhile, the Acer AS8940-6865 comes with both HDMI and DisplayPort technologies. The Inspiron320GB hard drive seems average when you consider that the dv7-3183cl features a 500GB drive. The 1764-5595IBU ships with a dual layer DVD burner. If you move up the price chain, both the HP Pavilion dv7-3180us and Acer AS8940-6865 include Blu-ray drives that are compatible with your Netflix Blu-ray rentals.
Many media center laptops entering brick and mortar stores will have either a Core i3 or a Core i5 processor-the newest CPU technology from Intel-and the 1764-5595IBU is no exception. It runs on a 2.27GHz Intel Core i5-430M processor, which is the same CPU found in the HP dv7-3183cl. Higher-end media centers like the HP dv7-3080us and Acer AS8940-6865 run on Quad Core Core i7s (Core i5 and Core i3 processors are dual-core), which are considerably faster. Along with 4GB of memory, the Inspiron 1764-5595IBU's video encoding score (50 seconds) came within 1 second of the HP dv7-3183cl (49 sec) and Acer AS5740-6378 (49 seconds). The other two took a big lead in PCMark Vantage tests-a comprehensive performance benchmark test.
For most users, integrated graphics with Core technology is more than powerful enough to handle tasks such as video editing and watching high definition movies. Gaming, however, should be limited to 2D-intensive ones such as World of Warcraft and Spore. If you're a part-time gamer, consider investing systems with discrete graphics card, like the Nvidia ones found in the Acer AS8940 and HP dv7-3080us.
Battery life is what you would expect from a desktop replacement laptop. And with a 48Wh (6-cell) battery, three hours of battery life is all you'll get. On MobileMark 2007, the 1764-5595IBU scored 3 hours 5 minutes, which came in lower than the HP dv7-3183cl (3:36) and Acer 5740-6378 (3:22). The good news is that Dell sells a 9-cell battery for the 1764-5595IBU, so it might be worth the $75 investment if you plan on taking the system on the road.
The Dell Inspiron 1764-5595IBU is a speedy media center that will make throwing out that old desktop a lot easier. It's priced fairly and delivers a great viewing and typing experience. It doesn't have a high-end graphics card, but then again, the average user isn't a hardcore gamer either. For a more complete package, check out the Editors' Choice Acer Aspire AS8940-6865.