Dell Inspiron 1501

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Dell Inspiron 1501

The Inspiron 1501 is designed for customers looking for a notebook for everyday productivity and entertainment. With its large 15.4" widescreen displa...

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83% positive

6 reviews from the community

Review of "Dell Inspiron 1501"

published 30/12/2014 | dobieg
Member since : 31/01/2003
Reviews : 256
Members who trust : 34
About me :
I'm a miserable old git. I'm ashamed to say it's been a **** very **** long time since I reviewed my "trusts", have sought to rectify this by going through every review I've written in the past couple of years, if you feel hard-done-by, drop me a note.
Excellent
Pro easy to upgrade, components cheap and generic
Cons Still a flimsy design
very helpful
Speed
Look & Feel
Memory / capacity
Comfort & Portability
Robustness & Durability

"Don't replace - upgrade!"

One of the great “joys” of being the resident family “pc doctor” is that relatives often throw down “challenges” in the misguided belief they’re doing me a favour.

I really shouldn’t respond to them, but perhaps pride, or a misplaced sense of obligation means I rarely turn them down.

The Dell 1501 was such a case, and had I any sense, I’d have pronounced it ‘dead on arrival’ but I just couldn’t help myself.

The 1501 was almost destined from day one to be an excuse for a laptop.

Corners were not so much cut, as being intentionally “rounded”.

It featured just about the cheapest processors available, a bare minimum of hard disk, minimal connectivity, and above all, a case so flimsy it could be regarded as an accident waiting to happen.

It did, however unintentionally, poses several unexpected redeeming features.

Dell in their infinite wisdom like to keep things simple. They use industry standard components and don’t try anything ‘clever’ – as a result there’s still components and spares cheaply available.

They also have construction down to a fine art – what’s easy to assemble is equally easy to take to bits and maintain.

The particular example I was offered to play with had obviously seen better days.
It was painfully slow, the screen was cracked and had somehow stopped supporting the VGA external monitor.

The screen was the easy bit – it uses a bog-standard 15.4” LCD panel – used on just about every 15” model at the time (may still do).

Replacing this was no rouble at all, I had a spare laptop which provided a replacement – the only stupid thing I did was to try and drill new holes to mount the inverter (the screen was from a much earlier design and the holes were in the wrong place) for my pains, I managed to go through the flexible connectors and was left with a couple of white stripes on the screen – still it was a lot better than before.

I was then able to reset the screen settings (somehow the VGA connector had been switched off) - at least that way I could attend to the other issues.

Like all machines used by your average punter, there were a host of virus checkers, malware filters, toolbars, and junk (Google chrome, downloaders, patent speed improvers etc) which simply wasn’t needed, or more likely, were causing the slow-down in the first place.

These were soon relegated to the recycle bin, and performance was returned to the original (lacklustre) level.

As I’ve already hinted, I’ve been in the IT game for a while, I’d read up that the system could take 2Gb of memory, I had a couple of spare memory cards, but though “why not just try a couple – what harm could it do?”

(this can be bought for around £15 on auction sites)

Surprisingly it accepted the new config without a squeak.

I set about installing my own preferred toolset, including disk redactors, defragmenters and so on, and did a full tidy up, as well as getting all the latest patches and upgrades for windows, installed Open office, VLC, CCleaner and so on.

I checked the virtual memory settings and realised that the swap file was smaller than advised, after all that, he machine was humming along nicely.

As I’d partly ruined the temporary display I looked on Fleaybay and found a replacement from another machine for £15 – the keyboard had seen better days also (several buttons didn’t work at all) and a replacement cost me another £8.

At that point, the system was better than it was when it came out the factory.

As I’m working to a limited budget (still under £50) that’s as far as I’ll take it, but there would still be further scope for improvement;

The 1501 was notable for being one of the first systems to use SATA 2.5” disks – nowadays you can get one around the 60GB mark for around £40 – and would allow booting in around 12 seconds, as well as lightning fast performance.

So – for a cost considerably less than that of a budget netbook or tablet, you can have a wi-fi enabled “proper” laptop.

The system still runs 32 bit Vista, so it won’t take full advantage of the 64 bit processor, if you were really keen to squeeze the very best out of the system you’d go for a laptop Linux (Lubuntu, Mint, Puppy to name but three) but you’d also have to learn how it worked, not the most difficult tasks, and I’d chose that any day over Windoze 8.1, but it isn’t for everyone.

So – in short, an unremarkable laptop, limited by the factory options but bucketloads of potential, and right now the upgrade options are about as cheap as they’ll ever be.
Just make sure you don’t drop the laptop, or accidentally stand on it – it was never especially rugged, and you can’t do anything about that!


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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 10/01/2015
    vh :o)
  • Scotlass712 published 07/01/2015
    VH :-)
  • AnneLorraine1 published 30/12/2014
    vh
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Product Information : Dell Inspiron 1501

Manufacturer's product description

The Inspiron 1501 is designed for customers looking for a notebook for everyday productivity and entertainment. With its large 15.4" widescreen display you can view documents side-by-side and enjoy your favorite movies and multimedia content. The Dell Inspiron 1501 incorporates HyperConnect technology - a portfolio of wireless options providing the freedom to be connected virtually anywhere around the home.

Product Details

Product Description: Dell Inspiron 1501 - 15.4" - Turion 64 X2 TK-53 - Vista Home Basic - 1 GB RAM - 120 GB HDD

Product Type: Notebook

Operating System: Vista Home Basic - English, Win XP Home - English

Processor: AMD Turion 64 X2 mobile technology TK-53 / 1.7 GHz / 512 KB Cache

Memory: 1 GB DDR2

Storage: 120 GB HDD / 5400 rpm

Optical Drive: DVD-Writer

Display: 15.4" 1280 x 800 / WXGA

Graphics: ATI Radeon Xpress 1150

Networking: 802.11b/g , 10/100 Ethernet , fax / modem

Battery: 4-cell

Dimensions (WxDxH): 35.6 cm x 26.5 cm x 3.7 cm

Weight: 2.8 kg

Microsoft Office Preloaded: Includes a pre-loaded image of select Microsoft Office 2010 suites. Purchase an Office 2010 Product Key Card or disc to activate preloaded software on this PC.

Localisation: United Kingdom

Manufacturer Warranty: 90 days warranty

General

MPN: N0815016-UK, N0815016XP-UK

Product Type: Notebook

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic - English, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition - English

Processor / Chipset

CPU: AMD Turion 64 X2 mobile technology TK-53 / 1.7 GHz

Number of Cores: Dual-Core

Cache: L2 - 512 KB

64-bit Computing: Yes

Chipset: ATI Radeon Xpress 1150

Memory

RAM: 1 GB ( 2 x 512 MB )

Max RAM Supported: 2 GB

Technology: DDR2 SDRAM

Speed: 533 MHz

Slots Qty: 2

Empty Slots:

Storage

Main Storage: 120 GB HDD / 5400 rpm

Interface: SATA 1.5 Gb/s

Optical Drive: DVD±RW - fixed

Display

Type: 15.4"

Resolution: 1280 x 800 ( WXGA )

Widescreen: Yes

Audio & Video

Graphics Processor: ATI Radeon Xpress 1150

Sound: Stereo speakers

Codec: STAC9200

Compliant Standards: High Definition Audio

Input

Type: Keyboard, touchpad

Communications

Wireless: 802.11b/g

Wireless Controller: Dell Wireless 1390

Network Interface: 10/100 Ethernet

Modem

Protocols & Specifications: ITU V.92

Max Transfer Rate: 56 Kbps

Battery

Technology: 4-cell Lithium Ion

Capacity: 29 Wh

AC Adapter

Input: AC 120/230 V ( 50/60 Hz )

Connections & Expansion

Slots: 2 x memory ( 0 free ) ¦ 1 x ExpressCard/54 ( 1 free )

Interfaces: 4 x USB 2.0 - 4 PIN USB Type A ¦ 1 x display / video - VGA - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15) ¦ 1 x network - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX - RJ-45 ¦ 1 x modem - phone line - RJ-11 ¦ 1 x microphone - input - mini-phone mono 3.5 mm ¦ 1 x audio - line-out/headphones - mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm

Memory Card Reader: 3 in 1 ( SD Card, MultiMediaCard )

Software

Software Included: Drivers & Utilities, Microsoft Works 8.0

Microsoft Office Preloaded: Includes a pre-loaded image of select Microsoft Office 2010 suites. Purchase an Office 2010 Product Key Card or disc to activate preloaded software on this PC.

Miscellaneous

Features: Security lock slot (cable lock sold separately)

Localization: United Kingdom

Dimensions & Weight

Width: 35.6 cm

Depth: 26.5 cm

Height: 3.7 cm

Weight: 2.8 kg

Manufacturer Warranty

Service & Support: 90 days warranty

Service & Support Details: Limited warranty - 90 days - pick-up and return

Environmental Parameters

Min Operating Temperature: 0 °C

Max Operating Temperature: 35 °C

Humidity Range Operating: 10 - 90%

Shock Tolerance: 122 g @ 2ms half-sine pulse (operating) / 163 g @ 2ms half-sine pulse (non-operating)

Vibration Tolerance: 0.9 g @ RMS (random) (operating) / 1.3 g @ RMS (random) (non-operating)

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