jmahon wrote:Any Dell laptop is a "real" laptop?
The Latitude D series generally are excellent road warriors. If you avoid the ones with Vista pre-installed, or put Win7 on there instead, what you will have is a very durable workhorse that will last forever, and if you do break anything the parts are cheap easy to replace by the user.
The one I have, a D620 Core2Duo with Nvidia graphics, has a serial port, four USB ports, VGA out, Cardbus, two PCI-E slots (one of which is designed to take a WWAN card, and there's a SIM slot on the mainboard, the other has an N150 card), a Smartcard reader, ambient light sensor, lighted keyboard (the light has burned out but I'm due a replacement keyboard anyway), DVD/RW, bluetooth, HD audio, SATA hard drive, and a dual trackpad/pointing stick. That's a hell of a lot for a machine I paid just over $200 for refurbished.
In fact, the only thing it lacks is stereo speakers (headphone out is stereo but there's only one onboard speaker). Given that it's a business machine and not an overpriced, bulky multimedia donkey I'm pretty damn happy with it. It converts video at nearly twice the speed of my 3.2GHz H/T P4 desktop, it runs cool and quiet, the frame and most of the casing are metal and not plastic, and it's highly upgradeable considering its age.
Of course, I wouldn't touch a Dell Inspiron or XPS laptop for any amount of money. In fact if I were given one of the above I'd strip it for upgrades and part out the rest. The Vostro, Optiplex and Latitude lines are the way to go if you want a quality machine from Dell.