Review - Dell Mobile Precision M2400

Dell Mobile Precision M2400

Summary

Dell refers to the M2400 as an "High-performance workstation performance in an ultra-mobile package" laptop.  The M2400 features a Core2 Duo processor and advanced OpenGL graphics in a < 5lb laptop.

The predecessor M2300 laptop was the standardized platform in my office environment and I was hoping for another good performer.  After several weeks with the Mobile Precision M2400 in my office environment, my opinions on the M2400 are mixed, but primarily positive.

Specifications

Hardware: Intel Core2 Duo CPU, 14.1" LCD display, Built-in Wifi, up to 8GB of RAM, NVidia Quadro video card, GigE ethernet, ~4.8lbs.

Operating System: Vista (I recieved an XP downgrade with my 2400), and Dell's website lists RedHat v5.1 as well.

Likes

Let us start with the positive.  Without bringing out the scale, the new AC Adapter is a nice suprise.  Spec-wise it is the same adapter, but it feels slighltly lighter and features a wider/flatter shape providing a nicer fit when stuffing in my cramped laptop bag.  Physicallly the laptop seems sleekier and lean & mean compared to the M2300.

My favorite new "addition" is the 5-in-1 SD Card reader.  I use SD cards as my new "floppy disk" for taking work home, backup, etc.  The inclusion of a trackpoint pointing device is convenient so you do not have the heal of your thumb accidently clicking you off to another window or moving your cursor around.

Moving the battery back to the "rear" of the laptop is nice switch so the extended battery is no longer hanging out the front of your laptop.  The eSATA connector may be useful for those of us with external eSATA devices we wish to connect.

The new Dell included applications seem to be a bit more user friendly.  While nice for novices, I still prefer less "helper applications" on my systems.

Dislikes

Personally, I feel like the Dell Mobile Precision M2400 is actually a cousin of a Thinkpad T series.  The weird "wavy" top is just plain odd to me.  While I am a fan of innovation, I feel the model overhaul that occurred is a bit overboard.  Batteries, plastics, keyboards, etc. are not interchangable between the M2300 and M2400.

The embedded network adapter is not recognized by my boot CDs / flash drives.  Somewhat disappointing but not unexpected, the hardware is substantially different enough for my M2300 image to be incompatible.  So with the network adapter and imaging issues, I had to create an M2400 image using an external USB drive.

Summary

If I had not used the M2300 previously I would be exceptionally happy with an Dell Mobile Precision M2400.  However even as I write this, I cannot get that wavy patter top lid out of my head.  Hopefully it will not bother you as much as me.  The M2400 has a sleek new appear and is a complete new frame design compared to the M2300 and some of the recent D series systems.

Also read my review of the new Dell E-port replicator.