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Dell Inspiron 8100

Reviewing: Dell Inspiron 8100  |  Rating:
derwood By derwood on
Badge: Publisher | Level: 7 | Computers & Laptops Expertise:

For several years, this was just about the only PC I used at home. Even though I had a couple of others available to me, I used this one on a daily basis to perform almost every computer-related task I needed.

In fairness, I have to mention that this is the only laptop that I've ever owned, so I may not have a wide frame of reference for my observations and comparisons. I do have several years of experience with this PC, though, so I will offer what I can.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let me say that this thing is big. With a 15 inch LCD screen, two optical drives, and the battery, it was thick and weighed more than 8 pounds. As far as laptops go, I guess that's on the high side. Technically it was still portable, but I found it to be so big and heavy that I only carried it with me outside of my home, about 10 times. The rest of the time I owned it, it just stayed on my table.

It has some nice features that originally drew me to it, including a the large, clear display, an expansion bay, a full-sized keyboard, and two options for moving the mouse cursor. It was also one of the only laptops that I saw at the time that included both USB and IEEE 1394 ports.

I found the Inspiron 8100 to be pretty durable, although I never really subjected mine to enough abuse to truly test that.

For the entire time I was using it, I really only had one problem, and one complaint. The problem was due to a loose connector leading to the display, which mainfested itself as "shimmering" pixels on the screen. Dell support took care of that very quickly, though, so I can't really complain about that. The one complaint that I do have, though, was with the battery life. For the few times I used it on battery power, it would only run for about two-and-a-half hours before shutting down. I suppose that's another reason that it rarely left the house.

To conclude, when I originally purchased this PC, Dell was marketing it as a "Desktop Replacement", and according to my experience with it, I guess they were right. Not only because I used this instead of my desktop PC, but also because it was so heavy and had such short battery life that it stayed on my desk and plugged into AC power almost all the time. It did serve me well for several years, though, so I was pleased with it overall.