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Truly inspired

The 1525 has the same solid construction, silver matte finish around the LCD panel/ keyboard area, and slim squeaky hinges that are familiar from the 1520.

tech reviews Updated: Jun 02, 2008 20:22 IST

Sticking to tradition Everything else about the styling remains the same. The 1525 has the same solid construction, silver matte finish around the LCD panel/ keyboard area, and slim squeaky hinges that are familiar from the 1520.

The build quality is also the same, with no extra flex anywhere on the body.

Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard is similar too, and anyone who's used the earlier series of Dell laptops would know that this is a good thing.

The keys are well spaced, have a nice matte finish that allows for easy typing, and offer great tactile feedback that makes pounding on the keyboard for hours a breeze.

My only grouse was that the keyboard suffered from some strange lag, with words I typed appearing on the screen some seconds later. Despite reinstalling the operating system to eliminate any glitches, this problem kept popping up every once in a while.

Apart from the media control keys, the rest of the keyboard area is without clutter - it can be quite annoying if the media-centre pops up in the middle of urgent work, simply because you accidentally hit a key .

The 1525's touchpad is topnotch. It has the same silver finish as the rest of the keyboard area, and it is well positioned with a responsive set of mouse keys. By positioning it a bit to the left, Dell has ensured that you don't have to raise your hand from the keyboard making it really convenient for the user. Screen The laptop weighs a little over 2.8 kg, and with the 8-cell extended battery, that can be a bit ungainly The . lid can also be a source of irritation since its a fingerprint magnet and seems to attract dust.

The 1280 x 800 resolution LCD panel is good and offers decent levels of contrast, colour and brightness. Dell offers a Tru-Life option on this panel, which increases the resolution to a respectable 1440 x 900 and offers far better levels of brightness, colour and contrast. It can cost a fair bit more but if your budget allows it, I would suggest that you get this upgrade with your eyes closed - it's that good. Connectivity Wireless and peripheral connectivity have never really been an issue on Dell laptops. The 1525 comes with HDMI, D-SUB and S-Video for video, four USB ports along with FireWire and the standard Ethernet/modem ports.

Also included are a 5-in-1 card reader, 8x dual-layer DVD-RW, 2x headphone ports, a mic-port, and 802.11/a/b/g/n support along with a 2 megapixel webcam. Processing power The 1525 comes with variety of options in terms of CPU, storage and system memory While our sys . tem was togged out with 2 GB of RAM, a 160 GB hard drive, and a T7250 (2.0 GHz) processor, one does have the option of getting a T8100/8300 Penryn processor along with 250 GB of storage and more RAM for a better computing experience.

The only downside is that the graphics cannot be upgraded and are restricted to Intel GMA X3100 graphical subsystem.

In the benchmark tests, the 1525 performed well enough. It achieved an average PCMark score of 4050 and on 3DMark it hovered around 650 with an occasional spike to 700. Decent scores these.

With regard to the battery life, since we had a 9-cell 85 watt battery, we got a very healthy four and a half hours with maximum battery conservation, and around four hours under full performance. Conclusion The Inspiron 1525 is a true VFM notebook. It offers solid build, plenty of features, good connectivity options, great battery life, and is matched by what can easily be termed as the industry's best aftersales/support network and a very competitive price.

A glance at Dell's website showed our test configuration to cost around Rs 41,000 + taxes.

To sum up, the 1525 offers so much value in its price range that other manufacturers can only watch and hope to emulate the feat.