REVIEW: Dell Latitude 131L AMD dual core laptop

This week I recieved a new Laptop at work. I actually got to spec it out and I wanted to get away from Intel in a laptop for once so I chose the Dell AMD line. I specifically chose the Dell Latitude 131L with the Dual Core Turion64-X2 processor. I also opted for the standard screen instead of the silly reflective shiny screen that so many laptops are coming with. My first impression is that this laptop is BIG, D810 Big. it is at least 2 inches wider than my old C640 but lighter. It feels so light that you think that something is missing. The screen has almost 1/2 the weight of the laptop in it making it top heavy in a lap but fine on a table. It also seems to not get anywhere near as hot as my old C640 or the old D810 I had before (The Latitude D810 would almost burn your hands if you used it for a few hours and then touched the underside) Battery life is about 3 hours, not what I want but for the class laptop this is that is 1/2 way decent. Dual core processing is not about long battery life.

It has a SD card reader in the side as well as a ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the screen brightness, you can override it by manually adjusting backlight settings. Running in low backlight mode gives you another 15-20 minutes of run time showing that the power draw is not the screen on this monster. It came with a DVD+-R drive and a 80 gig SATA 7200 laptop drive which was a suprise as this was not an option from the ordering website. The screen is bright but low resolution at 1200X800. I really like high res and a real 1080 screen would have been nice. The wireless card is under the keyboard and is a mini pci-e card. Making it harder to find a good atheros replacement to go in there to get rid of the crappy Dell broadcom card.

The nice part is this laptop can take 2 gig of DDR2 ram. making windows XP fly and Linux absolutely rock. It is incredibly fast compared to my older 2ghz C640 and way faster than the 2ghz Pentium M D810 I had at comcast. I am convinced that the Pentium M processor is a backward step and should be avoided.

My only wish is that the laptop came with a better video card. the ATI express 1150 is Ok but I like Nvidia, and having an option for a faster ATI card would be nice. also it seems that Dell is making all their laptops look similar now, the Latitude Line always looked different from the Consumer line, now all the dells look the same, only the Corperate latitudes are missing the silly media keys and "ooh shiny" blue and white led's for power and drive indicators.

Overall for the price the laptop is a good buy. get your ram and a better wifi card elsewhere to save money and you have a killer laptop that will do most of what you need. Gaming excluded.


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