Hmmmm, I guess it's time to post a review.
So I've had my "baby" for 3 days now. Let's see.... I got the 8600 with 1.7ghz and the WUXGA screen. I have the 128mb ATI Radeon 9600 Pro Turbo and 512mb RAM, 60gb HD, 2100 Intel mini-PCI card.
When I first opened the box, my first impression was, "Oh my god. It's HUGE!" All my other major reactions were size related as well. When I turned on the computer and got to the desktop, my reaction was, "Oh my gosh... Everything is so tiny...." For a while there, I thought I was going to go blind, but I discovered that after a while, you just get used to it. And even though I've adjusted some fonts to be bigger, I like having everything small so that the screen is not cluttered. I looked at my other laptop set at 1024 and I was amazed at how much better the WUXGA screen is.
So far I've watched some anime and looked at some DVDs. The widescreen is so great for anime. It's a little stretched, but it still looks great. The DVDs were a bit disappointing. I think that's just because the quality of DVDs are not as crystal clear as I'd like them to be.
My screen has a little bit of light leakage... You can't notice it at all unless the screen is completely black, and then it doesn't really affect clarity. I'm wondering whether I should ask for a new one since I don't know if they could possibly be better. BTW, I got the Sharp screen.
All in all, I love the widescreen! I will never go back, even if it means I have to lug this heavyweight around with me.
I tried Neverwinter Nights and Warcraft 3, and both look really good and play seemlessly. I was disappointed that WC3 doesn't have a 1920x1200 resolution setting though.
I was impressed by the speakers, actually. It's also a lot louder than my other laptop, which is great because I could never get the other one loud enough. It's about twice as loud as my Sony and the sound isn't tinny at all.
Also, I love the volume/play/pause buttons. And speaking of buttons, the buttons on both the stick and pad are really spongy. They don't click at all. They squish. The play/pause buttons are spongy too. I don't like how it feels when I push them; they seem like rubber and they move around.
The keyboard isn't as great as my Sony's. I loved the keyboard on my Sony. It was perfect. I find the Dell keyboard a bit hard and it's true that one part of the keyboard sounds and feels different from the other side, like it's lose or something.
Another complaint is that when I close the lid, the internet connection is cut off. When I open it again, my windows are resized and my icons are reorganized. On my Sony, when I closed the lid, the only thing that happened was that the LCD turned off. On the 8600, the screen takes a moment to shut off and turn on. I set the LCD to "do nothing" instead of go on standby, but it doesn't work too great. Maybe I'm being nitpicky, but I like being able to leave my computer on to download overnight or stay on AIM, and I don't like having the LCD being on.
The 8600 is so much quieter than my other laptop. You can't hear it until you put in a CD or the fans kick in. When the fans kick in, it's really loud, and when they turn off, I always jump and wonder if it's going to crash or something because it's suddenly so quiet. It gets hot on the left side after a while, especially on the bottom.
After I got it, I turned it on to check things and then did a clean install. I installed the drivers from the CD, and it was really easy because the program tells you which things are installed on your computer. Things seemed a lot faster after this.
The problem I had was when I tried to update the BIOS. I had version A02 and I flashed to A04, and after I rebooted, it told me that it was unable to detect my AC adapter type, and when I looked at the BIOS, it said my system was running at 600mhz. I called Dell, and they said they're sending me a new AC adapter. I had the 65w, and they're sending me a 90w, so I'm essentially saving $30. Anyway, hopefully it solves the problem. I was told that there's a chip in the adapter that gets erased or something when the BIOS is updated.
I experimented a bit with font settings and resolutions. Basically, the only good resolution is the 1920 x 1200, and the fonts generally are small when viewing webpages. It shouldn't be a problem for nearsighted people, but farsighted people should probably try it out first. I don't have a problem with it, but then I'm only 19 so my eyes should be pretty good.
It's hard to get wallpapers for the widescreen though. I just use regular high resolution wallpaper, and you can hardly tell it's stretched. I'll post a screenshot in the gallery in a while.
I haven't tried the battery yet, so I can't comment. I'm probably missing something, but... I'm done for now. Feel free to ask questions and I'll answer them if I can. Also request pics or screenshots if you want.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. I mean, the only real drawback is the size and weight. The other things were just nitpicky details, really. I look forward to watching lots of anime and movies on it and playing all those new games coming out, now that my computer can actually handle them. I read that thread on the March 5th update on the 8600... Don't know if it's true or not, but I'm going to wait, and if there is an update, I'll probably send this one back for a new one.
I don't think laptops can get much better than this right now, though. This is as good as it gets.