The Dell Latitude D505 wireless laptop computer is the first and only laptop I’ve ever owned. I received it as part of a college scholarship, and have had it for just shy of two years now. As of now I’ve had the motherboard replaced (surge problem, not Dell-associated), the hard drive exchanged, and the LCD inverter replaced. Bottom line: at only $1,357, the D505 has a surprising amount of features for the low cost (including a FireWire port and a swappable bay), but so-so screen and processor; buy for practical use, i.e. business or school, with a long warranty.
The big deal about the first emergence of the D505 was its use of the then-new 1.2-GHz Intel Celeron M processor chip. The chip, which helps contribute to the inexpensive cost of the laptop, is based off of its predecessor, the Pentium M, but only has half of the L2 cache (512K), and a slower processing time. The Dell Latitude D505’s memory (256MB DDR SDRAM) is slightly small but par for the price course.
The list price for a Dell Latitude D505 is $1,357, which makes the fact that it includes a side FireWire port both unexpected and pleasing. It comes with Windows XP Professional already installed, and also sports two USB 2.0 ports in the back, one of which might have been more conveniently placed on the side for easier access. Additionally, the D505 contains a swappable bay that can service an optical drive or a second battery (approx. $99), which more than doubles the battery life to 10 or 11 hours. Its combination DVD/CDRW drive is another plus for the cost. The Dell Latitude D505 laptop computer comes with a built-in 802.11g wireless card, providing strong, dependable wireless connections and easily portable and accessible Internet.
The touch pad may be a hassle easily circumvented by any type of USB mouse, although the former makes the laptop more portable and compact when there’s traveling and/or working in tight spaces to be done. At times the touch pad responds a split second slower than my finger motions, increasingly more so in the second year of laptop use, but for the first year it worked excellently. The Dell Latitude D505 is a thin laptop, but slightly longer than most of those on the market today, which is the other factor that could make for clunky transportation issues.
The D505’s 15-inch screen requires exact perpendicular positioning to allow its Intel 82855 GME graphics to be clearly viewed, which makes it hard to use for gaming or watching movies. I’ve seen other screens with much clearer and more distinctive focus. For the cost, however, the D505’s screen is sufficient.
The Dell Latitude D505’s battery life is approximately four and a half hours, which is about an hour less than other laptops of its size, but a good deal for the low price. The hard drive is 40 gigabytes, a sizeable amount for the cost, and more than enough to hold a vast amount of important documents and programs, as well as a fair amount of music and movies of choice. I’d recommend the dependable, affordable D505 to students and traveling businessmen, but I’d warn against gamers and others looking for a satisfying graphics and fast processor experience.