Friday, March 30, 2007

Dell Inspiron 640m Review

I have bought this laptop for few months and I think it is time for me to review this guy. As for all the good things, I am not going to mention them here because you can check them out from the Dell website. So, I only list down the things what this guy screw up and you can decide whether you want to buy it or not.

1. Memory leak in PCMService.exe

If you open your tasks bar and you will notice this PCMService.exe consumes a lot of memory resources. That is okay but the problem is if you check few seconds later, the memory used by this guy is increasing. What the heck? If you leave your laptop for few hours, it shoots up to 1G bytes of memory. What is wrong, Dell? Why this simple thing can’t be caught by Dell? So the solution I did is to disable this service during Windows startup. Honestly, I don't know what the use of this PCMService.exe but anyway my laptop still operate perfectly without this thing.

2. No Build-in Microphone

I’m aware of this before I bought this guy. The problem is Dell does not mention this at all in their website. Again, what’s wrong Dell? How hard to have a build-in microphone? As for myself, I’m still okay with it because I seldom use microphone. If I must use it, I can use the microphone in port instead but it may not be that convenient. However for those who wants the build-in microphone for whatever reasons (e.g. chatting or recording) and you don't want to plug in the new microphone, please do not buy this Dell Inspiron 640m product. I’m sure you will regret.

3. Incompatible Sonic Drivers with Vista

Hmm… When you boot up your windows and you always have the “This Driver is blocked due to compatibility issues” Now I think there is already a solution for this. Not a big deal, just to search around and I think you will able to find the patch to download.

4. Display Resolution Change after wakeup from Sleep

Ok, what is wrong Dell? Or should I say, what is wrong Intel? But I prefer to blame Dell as they do not test this properly before they introduce the product even though this is Intel Chipset Graphic issue. The problem is when you put your laptop in sleep mode and wake up later, the resolution change from 1280 * 800 (My original Setting) to 1024 * 768 (which is lower). Strangely, sometimes it doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, I do not have time to figure this out in what condition it triggers this. Anyway for the solution, I just change back to 1280 * 800 whenever this happens or I just shut down my laptop instead of put my laptop into sleep mode. This is what Dell people recommended me too.

In summary, if you’re okay with the top 4 issues above for Dell Inspiron 640m (perhaps it also applies to other models), then this laptop is a good buy. The main advantages for Dell product at least the reason I buy it is cheap and less expensive as you compared to other brand. Also another advantange to buy from Dell is you have more freedom to customize it (e.g. add extra memory, change your LCD screen display and etc.). Anyway this laptop is my baby now and I will bring him with me for all my vacation.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm.. I bought the Inspiron e1405 (which is supposed to be basically the same as the 640m, but for the home user) last month and haven't run into any of these problems yet.. Except for the one about the microphone, which is a minor annoyance.

ChampDog said...

This is great for you. Maybe most of the issues have already been resolved.

The Display Resolution is the most annoying part. The reason is I don't shutdown the laptop that often. Normally I would like to close my laptop and turn into sleep mode and re-open it again later from time to time. This is very efficient by saving the the boot time and also restore my intermediate progress of my work.

I suspect you need to plug in your power cable to trigger this. I can't be sure. The last time I talk to Dell, they mentioned they aware of the issues but do not have the solution yet.

Ya, the microphone is a minor annoyance. Actually this was my major consideration factor not to buy it during the research stage before I bought this guy. :)

ChampDog said...

I just found another problem that I can't slot-in my SD card. I tried the Dell Inspiron 64000 which belongs to my brother and able to slot-in the SD card. Weird thing is if I use some other SD cards, they work. It looks like the issue only happen to my one particular SD card.

Before I stop writing, it pops out in my mind that I actually still have another issue with my USB mouse. Every time I click once it becomes double clicks. This is really annoying. I have no idea why.

ChampDog said...

In the past few weeks, it seems like I get a lot of traffic searching for the keyword related Dell Inspiron 640m Review and lead to this post.

Does this post helpful to you guys? If you have any questions regarding the usage for this, you can post a message here. I will try my best to give you the answer.

Other issues that I tried out as I compared to other the laptop brand, is the keyboard of this guy. The keyboard is not really that comfortable to press. You may want to consider this. That's all for now. :)

Anonymous said...

Since you asked about your review: Alot of the problems your citing are software problems. A laptop review should really be more focused on the system itself.

ChampDog said...

Yes, you're right. Most the problems are the software issue except with the microphone that do not come with it. I'm reviewing from the user experience point of view that what are the problems that you might face if you buy this product. This is more like a sharing than review the specification. Yeah, probably I should say this is the laptop review and probably change it to “Dell Inspiron 640m User experience”? Anyway, thanks for your comment. Even though this laptop has the weakness, I have already treated it as my baby.  Since most of the issues are software issues, I hope it is no longer a problem in the near future after applying the software patch.

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