Dell have announced a new 17-inch laptop, the Inspiron 17, and while it's unlikely to win any prizes for either appearance or power, it's a serious budget contender if you want a big screen for a small price. Starting at $499, the Inspiron 17 has a choice of Intel Pentium Dual Core or Core 2 Duo processors, with RAM starting at 2GB and storage from 160GB.
The standard 17.3-inch display runs at 900p resolution, but Dell will make a 1080p-capable version available in September. Up to 4GB of RAM is supported, and graphics range from Intel GMA X4500HD through an ATI HD 4330 256MB and up to a 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 which won't arrive, again, until September this year.
Elsewhere storage can be cranked up to 500GB (though there's no SSD option) and the standard DVD burner can be switched for a Blu-ray drive. Connectivity includes standard WiFi b/g (optional draft-n and Bluetooth 2.0) together with three USB 2.0, 10/100 ethernet, a 54mm ExpressCard slot, VGA and audio in/out. A 1.3-megapixel webcam is also an option.
Batteries range from 4, through 6, to 9-cells (the latter available from August) and the whole thing measures 16.4 x 10.9 x 1.2 inches and weighs from 6.8lbs with the smallest power pack. The Dell Inspiron 17 is available to order now.