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I'm currently in college, and the college offered us Dell Latitude D600's at discounted prices. I agree with their choice at picking this laptop, because it's a great all-purpose laptop for a wide variety of uses.
Okay, first, hardware. This laptop is not the lightest out there, for those of you wanting featherweight laptops, but I carry mine with me all the time in my bookbag and I don't feel the weight to be an issue. The matte screen gives crisp, vibrant images that are easy on the eyes, without any annoying glares.
The DVD ROM is excellent because you can use it to burn CDs and DVDs, in addition to playing them. Perfect for students (or just anyone in general) who have limited room on their dinky desks and don't want eighty plug-ins sticking out from all over the place.
There is NO floppy disc drive, but those are becoming outdated anyway. There is a USB port, and you can use the USB storage devices easily. Simply plug it in, and you're ready to save stuff onto your USB storage without having to go through any new hardware install processes.
The keyboard is very quiet, which is a plus when you are typing (as I am) at 4 in the morning while your roomate is asleep. In addition, the keyboard has both the trackstick and the touchpad, so fans of either will be satisfied. Also, both of them (yes, even the trackstick) include the tap-clicking function, which is a small nuance, but nice. Basically, you tap once on the touchpad or trackstick and it'll be as if you clicked the left mouse button. Saves time!
The battery lasts about 4 hours if you're running minimal programs, such as Microsoft Word. (When you run on battery power, the screen automatically darkens a notch to conserve power.) If you play music or watch DVDs on battery power, it's about a 2 hour duration.
There is wireless Internet already installed here, which is a big plus for people who have to carry their laptops with them. If you are going to someplace with wireless Internet, you can have a pretty good 3 - 4 hour surfing session running on battery power. Saves the stuff you have to bring!
All the RAM, drivers, and system requirements are up-to-date. I don't know any hardcore technical details. All I know is that everything works pretty fast, hehe. (Check with the stats on this site for more info.) Start-up is fairly fast.
The speakers are mediocre. It doesn't play very loudly, which is understandable, because this is a small laptop with limited speaker space, and the sound is flat and tinny. So I recommend using earphones. The sound is much better through earphones if you are playing music, and you can hear the bass a lot more.
As for software, this laptop comes with Windows XP. I'm not going to describe it in detail, but basically it has all the essential programs, such as Word, Internet, Windows Media Player, AIM, that you need. It doesn't include an image editing program other than Image Preview and Paint, so for people like me who like to do computer graphics, you'll have to buy extra programs.
So far, after 2 months of using, I haven't experienced any malfunctions. The laptop has never frozen on me, knock on wood. :-) I use it very frequently, always leave it on, and carry it around (sometimes not as carefully as I should, I admit) and it is remaining sturdy and problem-less, despite my abuse.
This feature-loaded laptop works as well or even better than PCs, and all in all, it is a great investment for an all around laptop. I recommend it!