Heat, Weight, Connectivity, Display and Audio
Heat, Weight and Connectivity

The internal temperature of the Dell Inspiron M101z was determined not to exceed 60 degrees Celsius and not to drop under 52 degrees Celsius. This actually is a bit warmer than most laptops I’ve recently tested, but it isn’t cause for alarm.

The brunt of the laptop’s heat is directed towards the bottom of the laptop rather than the top. Extended use on your laptop may make your legs a bit toastier than you’d like, but isn’t uncomfortable. The palmrest feels warmer than room temperature but was never warm enough to cause sweaty palms.

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Weight is one of the M101z’s strong points. Although the M101z looks chunky, Dell quotes a minimum weight of only 3.44 pounds and my review unit showed 3.6 pounds on my scale. It also passes the “where the heck is my laptop?” test – when placed in my backpack there is no way for me to tell if the M101z is inside by simply picking up my backpack and judging its weight.

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The M101z’s connectivity is basic. It has 3 USB ports, one HDMI, one VGA, one Ethernet, a SD card reader and, of course, a Mic and Headphone jack. This is what you’d expect on any modern entry-level laptop. Firewire or eSATA would have been nice, but their absence isn’t alarming.

Display and Audio Quality

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The Dell Inspiron M101z’s display is one of the laptop’s greatest strengths. Although this is an 11.6” laptop the display has a resolution of 1366×768, the same display resolution commonly found on 13.3” and 15.6” laptops. This means that you don’t lose any usable space if you choose the M101z over a larger laptop. Do remember, however, that the high display resolution relative to the display’s physical size will make text appear small. The M101z probably won’t be a hit with the elderly.

Resolution isn’t the display’s only advantage. While the contrast of the display is typical for a TN panel the black levels are extremely good. This gives the display a rich texture that is missing in many other laptop displays, which often have a washed-out appearance. The M101z’s display makes the laptop a pleasure to use for entertainment.

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The display is very glossy, but the backlight is bright enough to compensation unless you’re trying to use the M101z in direct sunlight. In a darkened room you’ll likely have to turn the display’s brightness down significantly.

The M101z is surprisingly capable of rocking out. The laptop features SRS Premium Sound produced by two 1.5 watt speakers located on the bottom front of the laptop’s chassis. These speakers are not capable of producing much bass, but they are capable of filling a room with sound that won’t make you want to cut off your ears with garden clippers. That’s more than can be said for most laptops of this size.

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