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Recently, thanks to my school, Berea College, I was handed a new Dell Lattitude D820 laptop. My first impression was – well – impressive. Dell stepped things up a notch in the design department. The laptop showcases a silver matted top cover, similar to the laptop it replaces, but you will quickly notice a nice black trim and a pretty silver latch. Open the lid and you will be amazed to find a silver-trimmed black keyboard all outlined nicely in silver. A very nice two-toned approach that worked well for Dell in this case. The laptop sports a vibrant 15’4” screen fully equipped with ambient lighting technology. Abient technology allows a senor to detect the light in your surroundings and automatically adjust the screen’s brightness. A slick feature, but it can be turned off if you prefer. One should mention that this laptop is no feather by any means; at a whopping 6.5 lbs, it can be a hefty load to carry around campus. Then again, i am a dwarf, so that has it’s effects.

Under the hood, my configuration included one of Intel’s latest Core Duo Processor at 2.0 Ghz. This new core duo technology definately knows how and when to flex its muscle. Despite many reports of other laptops with this chip getting overbearingly hot, this laptop does not seem to do too bad. It is still key to what you can to keep it cool, such as elevate the rear corners of the laptop so that you create airflow below the laptop. My configuration also included 1 GB of RAM; this memory that the computer can quickly access while you are using your computer and is essential for overall speed. Most computers – especially laptops – are still shipping with 512 MB of RAM. If you are just doing the basic emailing, and web surfing, 512 MB would suit you pretty well. The laptop sports a really nice 60 GB hard drive. Now, 60 GB isn’t the most space you can get in a hard drive; however, it is the fastest (at 7,200 RPM) laptop hard drive on the market.

Other key features include both an on-board wireless internet capability and bluetooth – another wireless technology that allows you to use specific bluetooth headsets and mouse to communicate with the computer wirelessly within a short range. Also included is wireless technologies that allow you to connect to Cingular data networks (given that you have a data access plan, of course.) This laptop comes with 4 USB ports for mice and digital cameras as well as Firewire 800 which is great for video importing from that digital camcorder.

All in all, this system is pretty much packed. While the pricetag is not cheap ($1099 base price, my configuration was over $2100) it proves to be a very well suited laptop for students and businesses alike. The weight can be a drag (literally, haha) for those traveling a lot, but if you are a business person willing to sacrifice a pound or two for a powerhouse machine and a 15” screen, it is well worth it. If my school wasn’t so generous in handing these out to all sophmores this year – and if I wasn’t such the Apple freak craving their new MacBook – I would definately consider the Dell Lattitude D820.

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