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Tech News 101: Brand New Laptop, To Buy Or Not To Buy

Dell Inspiron 1501 Buy Laptop

To buy or not to buy a brand new laptop when the company already provided me with a good laptop – that is the question which been running through my mind for the past few days. Image source: Notebook Check


I have good news and bad news…

The good news is Dell (as Din mentioned) is worth the buy. I checked with my friend who been using for the last 2 years (heavy usage) and the notebook is still going strong. It is a good investment.

The bad news is Dell have just revised it’s promotion (just 2 days days after I confirmed my order). Now it is giving away free delivery, 15.4″ screen with Truelife and a 120 GB HardDisc and if I add couple of ringgit (to get RM3,380) and I can get 9 cell battery (instead of 6 cell) and Vista Home Premium (instead of Vista Home Basic). Fuck!!

I will be going off to Dubai soon for a two months assignment (my 3rd trip to the place so far) and although the client will be providing us with the necessary facilities and my company is providing us with a notebook for work, somehow deep down in my mind, I know that I need to have my own notebook for my blogging and work needs.

I have been mulling about buying my own notebook for some time now but often decided not to spend the hard earn cash for it simply because there was no urgent need in the past. Both my work and home desktop PC is in excellent working order (although my home Pentium 3 powered PC had some problem with the OS and way past due for a replacement). Further, whenever I am on an overseas assignment, I did not have any problem getting an Internet to enable PC to do my blogging updates or checking my emails.

But this time, it seems different. With more assignment being lined up for me at the office, having a notebook makes sense. Imagine this – there is a meeting at work and most of the consultant bring up their notebooks, hooked it up to the projector and start showing the details to the audience. It is a different story for me – I bring in hardcopy files and photostat copies of documents to the audience. Ha, somehow that did not represent good sense professionalism. Worst – it looks outdated too – with the hardcopy files and copies of papers.

So, when last month pay came in with something “extra”, I decided to order one. It was not part of my original plan but this time, I need to make an exception. With a lot of choices of notebooks in the market, my choice boiled down to only one – a Dell type notebook. The reason is simple – all notebooks in my office were purchased from Dell and for any implementation at a customer site, we would always recommend a Dell server. Further, Dell allows customization of the system specification before it is purchased – something good if we want to add additional RAM or change the processor type.

After running through some of the models at Dell website and trying to get best among the cheap one, I decided on a Dell Inspiron ™ 1501 model that has the following specifications (after my own customization):-

AMD 64 x2 dual TL50 core processor (some say it is suppose to be better and cheaper than Intel’s dual core processor but the review in the net says otherwise)

Windows Vista Home Basic (yes, the premium one was way too expensive and needs at least 2GB of RAM – more money for the RAM)

1024 MB DDR2 SDRAM (that is 2 x 512 MB and could have gone up to 2GB. My house PC works well with only 192MB RAM)

ATI Radeon Xpress 1150 256 MB Hyper memory Integrated

15.4” Wide Screen XGA TFT Display

80 GB SATA Hard Disc

8x DVD +/-RW with Dual Layer Write Capabilities

6 cell 53Whr Lithium Ion Battery

RM300 Instant Cash Redemption

Total cash burned is RM3,380.00 but since I opted to pay by credit card, it is paid via 12 months 0% interest instalment. That should be soft on my credit card limits for the next 12 months. Expected delivery is 7 working days and me already anxious to start using the notebook for blogging (and ya, sometimes for work too). Although I could have put in extra cash and could have gotten a better spec laptop, I decided to go for a cheap one with sufficient spec for normal use.

Talking about the 1501 model, a check over the net reveals that it was designed for beginners – cheap and fewer features. It has its pros and cons but having a tight budget, I don’t have much choice. I might as well use it to the maximum until I can save up for good spec notebook (perhaps in 2 years time and definitely after I had purchased a DSLR). I need it mostly to surf the net and writing up proposals (and blogs). Review of 1501 varies from one site to another. In Notebookreview site, it was sized up as follows:-


Very respectable battery life

Quiet under normal use

Cool running

Good keyboard

Overall very good build, sturdy in its feel


Not much of a looker in terms of design

Price compared to higher end e1505 doesn’t make sense — this should be cheaper

Lots of annoying pre-installed software (AOL, NetZero, MusicMatch etc.)

No DVI port, no S-Video, no FireWire — a serious lack of media ports in other words

No media shortcut buttons at all

Now, waiting for the delivery is killing me!

6 thoughts on “Tech News 101: Brand New Laptop, To Buy Or Not To Buy”

  1. Bala,

    Hope the notebook would help to blog more at home..Yeah.talking about DSLR, it is getting cheaper by the day..Entry level such as the Nikon D40 would suffice and as at now the rrp is RM2,400 and even cheaper at some shop…Maybe you can survey the price in Dubai n hopefully CWP would be kind enough to give you a hefty bonus and allowance..But since yr bonus is dependable on yr immediate boss appraisal I wish you luck..Maybe you should act like some staff who went to see the boss whenever they are not happy.. 🙂

  2. been using my Inspiron 6000 since 2005, still going good today, though I may be tempted to get something lighter, cheaper and much much better come next year. 😀

    That laptop cost me in excess of RM5000 then. Ouch.

  3. macha, i know this must be a late reply but…

    waiting for the right price for the right piece of technology is waste of time. the longer you wait, the cheaper it gets, but, how long are you going to and willing to wait? 🙂 there’s no end… my ipod cost me RM2K when i bought it 2 years ago, and now days i see that a better version (can play movie etc) is RM 1700. Should i’ve waited? boss of ferrari once said, “the best model, is the next model, not the current model”… so, you did a smart thing on making up your mind to buy one… dell, always revise their offer 🙂

    since this is your first notebook, it is good that you bought a reasonable one(i know budget is important). trust me after using notebook for few years, you’ll look at them from different point of view… it will be more on truly mobility – lightwieght and longer battery powers… anyway welcome to the world of notebook. there’s no better feeling than owning a notebook.

    perhaps owning an ipod is cooler…. hahaha 🙂 take care macha!! and keep on blogging 🙂

  4. Nilesh…you are right. It is the same as buying a handphone. My boss bought one for RM1,500 but a few months later, it was down to jusr RM700.

    Anyway, I just heard that the notebook been delivered. The fun can now start.

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