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Pros: First off, I should say that the first thing I did with this out of the box was to put DD-WRT on it, so I CANNOT speak to the quality of the factory firmware.
I had done my research before buying this model, and was reasonably confident that there was good compatibility. I found some posts on the DD-WRT forums suggesting build 23919, and it's worked perfectly.
+ Throughput is great
+ Connection is solid
+ I even got my USB printer hooked up as a network printer without too much trouble (and it didn't require any SSH or Telnet hacking either!).
+ Gigabit Ethernet ports
+ Got it on sale for only $40
Cons: - Can only host a USB external HDD at speeds of about 5 MB/s. I think this is a result of the weak single-core processor, but regardless, it's too slow to be used for a media NAS. Not enough to knock an egg off, since it wasn't one of the reasons I went with this model. If you just wanted to save documents or small stuff, it'd be fine doubling as a NAS.
- The model with 450 Mbit 5GHz radio just went on sale for only $5 more than I paid for this. Oh well.
Other Thoughts: DD-WRT makes this thing a beast. Make sure you do the factory-to-DD-WRT flash FIRST, and you'll have no issues.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Got this laptop for my fiancée to replace her dying 15" HP laptop. Newegg was having a sale on this one, so I decided to take a gamble and pull the trigger, despite there being no reviews. I'm pleased with the result.
+ Attractive chassis, very nice silver color
+ Great webcam--smooth video and pretty good in low light
+ Fast, low-TDP i5 CPU makes for great performance without the battery drain of a 35-watt part of previous generations
+ 8 GB of DDR3L 1600 RAM is plenty for a laptop, and lends a lot to a crisp, snappy user experience
+ Battery life is really good, about 8 hours of light use (web browsing + spotify) on a full charge, thanks to the aforementioned CPU
+ 10-key number pad is really nice. In my mind, there's no excuse for having a 15" or larger chassis and NOT having a numpad.
+ Dedicated L/R touchpad buttons, especially since I dislike the tap-to-click functionality of most touchpads... I always seem to be clicking when I don't mean to with them.
+ Has the option to switch the default behavior of the F1-F12 keys and their alternate FN key invoked functions in the BIOS. This means tapping those keys performs their media functions, and holding the FN key triggers F1-F12 behavior. Nice to have the choice.
Cons: I like this model a lot, hence the 5-egg rating. But no product is without flaws, so here are the ones that I found:
- Does not come with any media discs. It's exceedingly rare for a manufacturer to include Windows media, but I was irked that it didn't even come with a driver disc. You can easily get the drivers on Dell's site, though.
- Dedicated L/R touchpad buttons have a little more of a hard click than I would prefer. Definitely a nitpick, but something I noticed.
- Keyboard is not backlit. Can't drop an egg for that, since it's usually only on more expensive notebooks and ultrabooks.
- 1366x768 resolution. Why this became standard, I struggle to understand. I'm glad to see more and more computers (though not this one) with higher resolutions, because I'm tired of seeing every single 5" phone on the market having a higher resolution than most laptop screens. It makes no darn sense to me. Would have been nice to see this one have 1600x900 or thereabouts.
Other Thoughts: The first thing I did was swap in a Samsung Evo SSD with Windows 7 on it. After I disabled Secure Boot in the BIOS, it runs just fine. Windows 7 did not readily have the drivers for either network interface, so I had to grab them from Dell's site with another computer and bring them over on a flash drive. After that, I downloaded the rest of the missing drivers--mostly for chipset and USB 3 stuff. I was able to get all the drivers I needed for Windows 7 x64 from Dell, even though the model comes with Win8 installed.
I wanted to include details about this item that were either missing or incorrect on Newegg's full details page for this item:
> Battery is 6-cell, NOT a 4-cell as the description indicates.
> Laptop weight is right around 5 lbs. As I said, I swapped out the HDD for a slightly lighter SSD right away, so the out-of-box weight is probably about 5.1 lbs.
Pros: Laptop is exactly what my fiancee wanted. She needed a new computer, so I took a risk and bought this one with no prior reviews because it had everything she wanted:
- Silver Color
- Optical Drive
- 10-key numpad
- Built-in webcam (but everything has one of those)
- Touchpad with dedicated L/R click buttons
Full disclosure: I didn't even bother to boot up the default Windows 8 install. I had gotten and installed a Samsung Evo SSD in her prior machine, so I swapped it over into this one (and reactivated the existing Windows 7 x64), disabled Secure Boot in the BIOS, and was off to the races. I had to install a bunch of drivers that Windows 7 couldn't get automatically. These included both network interfaces, so I had to grab those from Dell's site and bring them over on a flash drive.
The machine, now with SSD and W7, runs very nicely. Battery life seems really solid. It reported about 7.5 hours left after half an hour of light usage (web browsing with spotify running, then a little bit of Netflix). The low TDP i5 makes a big difference when it comes to getting awesome battery. Most laptop makers seem to feel that having a processor and GPU that take less electricity is a great excuse to put a tiny 4-cell battery in, meaning you still only get ~5 hours on it even with the reduced power consumption. The thicker chassis on this one allows for a nice 6-cell, and therefore a healthier battery life.
Overall, great machine for someone looking for a nice 15-inch laptop, as long as it's important to you to get an optical drive. If you don't care about not having optical, there are probably thinner, lighter models available.
Cons: Would have been nice if it had a backlit keyboard, but usually that only goes to the premium batch of models. Can't knock it an egg for that, since this model instead seems to sit right at the top of the budget range of laptops.
No issues, but incomplete and incorrect information on Newegg's site make it hard to judge this one before buying. My own corrections are below.
Other Thoughts: Battery is listed on Newegg as a 4-cell. WRONG. It is a 6-cell. I neglected to look at how many watt-hours, but the label on it clearly states that it is a 6-cell battery.
Weight is not listed on the specs. The laptop by itself is right around 5 lbs. The exact figure is skewed because I didn't weigh it before I swapped out the HDD for the SSD, which is slightly lighter.
The memory is DDR3L (low-voltage), and comes in the form of 2x4GB dimms.
A note to a prospective buyer: if you're considering grabbing this model, check into the Ivy Bridge version. The specs are VERY similar, and it's probably a decent bit cheaper than this one. I ultimately decided to invest and get the marginally better CPU and GPU, and slightly lower power consumption of the Haswell.