Of late, we’ve been seeing quite a few netbooks and at first glance, it looks like the Dell’s M101z also falls in the same category. However, Dell claims it to be the size of the netbook, with the performance of a notebook. The M101z is basically aimed at students and youngsters who are looking for a netbook with good performance and at the same time portable enough to carry around.
Design and Build Quality
The M101z has a very standard netbook design but in terms of looks, the black glossy finishing of the lid gives it a touch of class. The glossy finish also means that the top is prone to smudges.
Once you open the lid, you’ll notice that the 11.6-inch LCD screen is quite sturdy and can open at a convenient angle to view if you’re keeping the notebook on you lap.
A nice design overall
While all ports are well placed on the either sides of the netbook, probably the VGA port at the back and the adapter port on the left side of the M101z should have switched places. However, it’s not a big problem as such.
The M101z’s keyboard follows the Chiclet design and the soft and firm keys are nicely spaced ensuring comfortable typing. Also, the brush metallic finish of the panel around the keyboard shows that it attracts fingerprints as well. The trackpad below the keyboard is small but, very responsive. The buttons are very well designed and are soft to press leaving the typical clicking sounds you get from standard netbooks at bay.
Cool colour options
Overall the design and build quality of the M101z is quite impressive.
For a notebook, the M101z should have given us a little more in terms of features, but, it only does that in terms of portability. Considering that there are very few notebooks that are this small, this one scores really well in terms of portability.
There’s a provision for three USB 3.0 ports and a RJ45 Ethernet port on the sides. The notebook also has an HDMI port something that is a special addition for a netbook. This means you can directly plug the device to an HDMI capable device and play High Definition content.
Keyboard is easy to use
The notebook is well equipped in terms of connectivity with Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. The rest of the specs of the notebook are that it has an AMD Athlon II Neo K325 Dual Core processor clocking at 1.30 GHz, 4 GB of DDR3 RAM and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4225 GPU.
The specifications of the notebook look very average on paper and not very surprisingly, performs quite as bad. Processor performance is superior to most Atom netbooks we’ve seen. File transfer tests were quite low with only 32 MB/s for writing a single 4 GB file and a further drop to 22 MB/s for an assorted 4 GB file set. Even the PCMark Vantage benchmark saw the M101z record a poor score of 2897 which is quite low in comparison to the Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 which recorded 4609.
Scores say it all..
Speaking of viewing angles, the one thing you’ll notice is that the screen doesn’t give you good viewing angles. Although the screen is quite bright and clear otherwise, opening/closing the screen shows that the colours change.
Also, the battery test saw about 2 hours 32 minutes which the M101z can run continuously after charging the battery fully. In terms of battery life, the M101z does well for an average notebook.
The M101z is priced at Rs. 29,900, which is probably one of the cheapest price brackets for a notebook. However, you have better performing notebooks like the IdeaPad Z570 which can score way better in performance and will only cost you a few thousands more. Also there’s a chance that if you like or want the portability that the M101z offers, you should rather go for a netbook like Toshiba’s NB520 which won’t give you as good a performance but at the same time will cost a lot less.
Should you buy it?