A History Of The Dell Inspiron Line

Dell Computers has led the ‘custom built’ PC market since the early 1980s. Michael Dell started his business from his University of Texas dorm room before laptop computers even existed. Dell has managed to establish a reputation for hitting the sweet spot of price and performance for most users, and regularly updates their brand lines to match the latest specifications.
Dell’s laptop lines come in two flavors – the business-centric Dell Latitudes, which usually boost RAM, battery life and disk drive space at the expense of video card, and their Inspiron line, which trades battery life and RAM for a better video experience. (Inspirons are geared towards college students and ‘consumer’ laptops).
Starting from the first Inspirons in the early ’90, the line has sold well. They were never the cutting edge of performance for Dell laptops, but they were usually comparable to a 6 to 9 month old ‘top of the laptop’ at a good price point. Early Inspirons came with the Celeron 1.4 GHz processor, and then got a line refresh in the early 2000s with a Pentium M, which was quickly supplanted by the Centrino processor. During this span of time, the motherboards also grew in capabilities, adding more USB ports, onboard power management, and the batteries grew denser in terms of their energy storage capabilities. It was the higher density batteries that caused the laptop recall of mid 2006, as the new batteries could result in significant overheating, damaging internal components on the motherboard, or potentially, burst into flame on a high run charge cycle.
A persistent problem with the Inspiron line involves a tab applying pressure to one of the chips on the motherboard. When pressure is applied consistently to the left side of the lower edge of the keyboard is slowly breaks soldering links from the chip to the motherboard. Symptoms included random shutdowns of the computer. This was eventually settled with a class action lawsuit, and many Inspiron 5150s were recalled as a result.
Subsequently, Dell completed a thorough overhaul of their manufacturing facilities. Indeed, there was talk about selling some of their manufacturing plants and hiring third party manufacturers to cover the costs. The overhaul of their manufacturing process has seemingly paid off. The newest lines of Dell Inspirons have not suffered from the same problems. There are currently several Inspiron models available, ranging from the budget conscious 13″ notebook market, to the behemoth 17″ widescreen laptops. These models are typical Inspirons: they are not geared towards the cutting-edge consumer (Dell acquired the Alienware brand for that market). Dell Inspirons are meant to be a good value notebook.