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Jack of all trades at an affordable price

Dell Inspiron M101z has a standard design, the black glossy finishing of the lid gives it a touch of class.

india Updated: Apr 26, 2011 02:21 IST
Ashish Koshy

Dell Inspiron M101z has a standard design, the black glossy finishing of the lid gives it a touch of class. The glossy finish also means that the top is prone to smudges. When you open the lid, you’ll notice that the 11.6-inch screen is quite sturdy and can open at a convenient angle if you’re placing the PC on you lap.

Keying in
The M101z’s keyboard follows the chiclet design and the soft and firm keys are nicely spaced – ensuring comfortable typing. Also, the brush metallic finish of the panel around the keyboard shows that it attracts fingerprints as well. The trackpad is small, but very responsive. The buttons are well-designed and are soft —there are no clicking sounds that you get from standard netbooks. There’s provision for three USB 3.0 ports and a Ethernet port on the sides.

The HD advantage
The laptop also has an HDMI port — a special addition for a laptop. This means you can directly plug the device to an HDMI-capable device, such as your LCD TV and play high definition content. The notebook is well-equipped in terms of connectivity with Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. The rest of the specs comprise an AMD Athlon II Neo K325 processor clocking at 1.30GHz, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4225 graphics unit.

The processing power
is superior to most Atom netbooks we’ve seen, but file transfer tests are quite low with only 32 MB per second, which drops to 22MB/s during large data transfers. Even the PCMark Vantage benchmark saw the M101z record a poor score of 2,897 marks, which is quite low in comparison to the Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 that recorded 4,609.

Bad viewing angles
Another thing you’ll notice is that the screen, although very bright and clear, doesn’t offer good viewing angles. Colours on the screen change according to the viewing angle. Our battery test ran for about 2.5 hours on a full charge, which is better than average for
most netbooks.

The Dell M101z is priced at Rs 29,900, probably one of the cheapest price brackets for a notebook. However, you have better performing notebooks, such as the IdeaPad Z570, which score better in performance and will only cost you a few thousand more. Also, there’s a chance that if you like or want the portability that the M101z offers, then you should go for a netbook like Toshiba’s NB520, which costs a lot less.