Dell's middle-of-the-road 15-inch Inspiron laptops have long been an excellent go-to choice for basic computing, especially if you take the time to configure a system to your needs via Dell's online configurator. Fixed configuration versions available in retail stores have been more hit-or-miss, sometimes undercutting the price of built-to-order versions, but also missing some key features.
The $649 Dell Inspiron I15-157Bgives you a powerful combo of an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 4GB of RAM for not too much more than a decently configured Netbook. At the same time, it's about as stripped down as a laptop gets, with no media control buttons or HDMI port (which previous versions had).
Read the full review of the Dell Inspiron I15-157B.
Note: This review is part of our Winter 2009 Retail Laptop Review Roundup, covering specific configurations of popular laptops that can be found in retail stores.