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Lilla's notes on Inspiron 7000 - Sound - Last updated 13Dec98

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Carry Case

Traditional Notebook Briefcase

A: The Targus 'Air' series CUN1A bag has proven quite acceptable here. We have several I7K's in them. The original 'Air' bags were quite tight for the i7k, but Targus has made the interior slightly bigger and it fits perfectly. They are quite rugged, with the air pockets all around the edges, and seem to hold up well. The original Cun1a's are very tight for the 15" screen...but the newer ones have a much larger's actually the PERFECT size for the 15" screen. David Girard, newsgroup

Link to the bag, dimensions of original and new bigger bag are at bottom of page.

A: I ordered the Dell leather case with mine ($99 extra). To anyone considering buying this system: skip the leather case. It is the worst designed case I've ever seen. Hard to get computer in and out. Bruce A. Mallett, Newsgroup

A: You made a smart move in not selecting the Deluxe Leather Case that Dell offers. While it is a beautiful-looking case, with the Dell insignia, it forces you to slide the computer straight down into the bag, past zippers that, over time, will scratch the unit. The case DOES NOT zipper down the sides to allow access to the computer, nor does it offer straps to secure the unit. I called Dell last Friday to complain about this poorly designed case. They were happy to have me send it back (at their expense). I swapped it out for the nylon case, which I received in two days.Peter Telep, webtalk

A: Dell Delux Nylon Case. It also has the Dell logo but offers much more protection for the computer with 2 velcro straps to secure the unit--and it DOES zipper down the sides. I found it strange that the more expensive case ($99) would be more poorly designed than the cheap one ($49). But I'm very happy now. I saved about $50 and got a much better case that makes securing and removing the computer very easy. Peter Telep, webtalk

A: Just got my CODi ambassador case...this is REALLY nice, and the air system fits my inspiron 7k like a glove. I feel much more secure with this machine (BTW, i have the 14" lcd). Anyway, it doesn't look like the 15" would fit...that was a factor in my not getting the 15", the lack of decent cases for it (hard enough getting one for the 14"), and it seems inevitable that any impact will be right on the overhanging edges. So, for those who have tossed the bucks at a 14", the CODi seems like a nice way to protect your investment. Count Scrofula, newsgroup

Convertable Backpack Briefcase (with hideaway backpad straps)

A: Kensington SaddleBag. Steve uses this bag for his i7000 15" and has a write up on it on his site.
Steve's Linux on Dell Inspiron 7000 Page at

A: If you like the convertable backpack concept but want an upscale solution, check out Willow-Design's Notepacks ($136+ US, they are in Canada) at These cases offer the ultimate in backpack/briefcase design. It has removable ergonomic backstraps, plus TWO nice padded hand carry handles on top and side, and well thought out organization features inside. The entire computer compartment is padded. The top is not squarish, but is rounded to fit your body, and it is *totally* designed to be easy on your body. This case is big enough for the 14-15" Inspiron 7000. 100% satisfaction guarantee. You pay for return shipping. No restock fee. The description says it looks at home in a boardroom. Darwin, theire biggest/heaviest weights 3.6 lbs. They have two that are smaller. The smallest, the thoreau will fit the 15" i7000 when turned on end.

A: Dell's Targus Backpack option (appears to be same as Targus) 13.5;H x 15.5;W x 9;D

A: Targus Backpac (appears to be same as Dell's) Exterior Dimensions (fully expanded) - 13.5; x 15.5; x 9; Computer Compatibility Dimensions - 13; x 15; x 2.5;

A: It's heavy, too.. I think this laptop and just one programming manual and that'll be all I can carry on my back. Mark Hilgart, newsgroup

Note: Mark reminds us that there IS a limit (and it will be different for each of us) to how much we can comfortably carry on our backs. Lilla

Computer Cases on Wheels

A: Port EasyRoller $150 says it accommodates most 14" notebooks. 15"? Weight is 11.6 lbs

A: For a quick look at some wheeled computer cases check out 1-800-Luggage at this link Prices from $99.

A: There is another alternative I've recently taken. I take my notebook to and from work every day.I also often have the need to bring home a lot of papers. I've tried all the various alternatives and found that either they had no room for papers or they totally killed my shoulder lugging it around or both. Anyway, I recently bought the Targus Pilot case on wheels. This is a case that looks like a catalog case briefcase except it is on wheels. You can roll it around like those carry on bags. If you don't want to use the wheels they are removable. I ordered mine direct from Targus. It was around $200 and has been a great decision. There is plenty of room inside -- yesterday I brought home about 500 pages of paper in it along with my notebook. This is so much more pleasant to wheel this around particularly given the weight of many notebooks. Katsmeow, newsgroup

A: The only caution I would pass on to a potential buyer is that the system, in its leather carry bag with a spare battery and not much else, is quite heavy so if you do an awful lot of running around airports you might think hard about a less powerful but lighter system. Mark Attwood, webtalk

A: I used to do a lot of running around airports and client offices and found that a power notebook with wheeled, padded custom container was my best bet ... not a smaller notebook. It held my notebook, printer, files and whatever else I needed and was easy to drag anywhere for any length of time. On the other hand, if you have to work in planes, a smaller nb is a better bet. I always opted to relax on the plane and got up extra early the next morning. Robert Siegel, webtalk

Portable Workspaces for Notebooks

The Lapper - buy ready made unit or buy plans to build it yourself

LaidBack - for working while in bed

Laptop Hood

A: For a good laptop hood for using in a car during daylight try links below. John560e

Major Motels Chains with Free Local Phone Calls

I am wondering if anyone has a list of which major motel chains have free local calls? This can be important to someone who carries a laptop. Larry Weil Lake Wobegone, NH

Additional Sources for Accessories and Supplies

Q: Is Sceptre the OEM for Dell's I7000's?

A: Yes... Sceptre is the OEM, actually Compal of Taiwan is, Sceptre is the name of their U.S. branch. They also OEM for HP, Quantex and all those thin Solis notebooks you see. Dell and HP just have more control on some design and internal issues. In fact, at one point I think HP had an exclusive on the combo floppy/CD drive on their older Omnibooks so Dell couldn't use it for the older Latitude LMs (and on the Inspiron 3000/3200) line. I guess that has changed for the I7000. Compare the HP Omnibook 7100/7150 and the Dell I7000... there is a great number of similarities. I think Dell has the exlusive on the 15.1" screen while HP gets the dual-pointing devices (or they just be a matter of preference). E., newsgroup

A: Sceptre offers a S6800 system that is very similar (but not identical to) to the Dell I-7000. Thus, this may provide an alternate source for accessories like batteries, port replicators, AC adapters, etc. Their Port Replicator S7500 is believed to be the same one Dell offers. And, their site says they offer a LS-120.

And, since you're probably just a little curious as to what the system differences are, I know I was, here's some observations:

GPS (Global Positioning System)

A: There are lots of posts on GPS for notebooks in the news:sci.geo.satellite-nav newsgroup. You may want to consider a Garmin III instead of the one from DeLorme. Much more versatile and works either as a stand-alone device or in conjunction with the DeLorme Street Atlas software. phil kenny, newsgroup

Q: I tried using my GPS receivers with Delorme Map&Go - it would not recognize COM1 - So I tried another DOS progam I have for my Garmin GPS Rx (Also have a Delorme "earthmate")- it would not work either - i.e. would not recognize COM1. These programs work fine on My WINBOOK and on my desktop. I have Palm Pilot running on my new I7K - and it connects fine to COM1. I have tried going into Accessories/Communication/hyperterminal etc and tried to set up a Test profile for COM1 at 4800,8,n,1 - it gave me the same response as I am getting from the Map & GO - "could not recognize COM1" (but COM1 does work with my Pilot). Bruce Green

A: You know, I just found the same problem using Delorme Street Atlas USA version 5.0 and my Garmin. The message is "unable to open com port". Later from Bill...Ah, I found the root of my com port problem. I was trying out a device (Cross Ipen) and even though there didn't *appear* to be anything running in the background (nothing in startup, iPen not even connected, task manager shows nothing) the problem immediately went away when I removed the iPen software. Check and see if you've installed anything that uses com1,whether you think it's active or not. Bill Herder, webtalk

Q: Bruce, have you tried a different physical location for the hookup? I am also having a problem with DeLorme Tripmate and Street Atlas 6.0 installed in my car. The Com1 reception works fine on the front seat, but stops working when I move it down to the hump under the dash (Where I used to run DeLorme on my previous laptop) I suspect my I7K Com port is susceptible to electrical or electronic interference that is blocking Com1 from picking up the GPS signal. I plan to experiment with different locations in my car and shielding and moving the computer and cables to see if I can get it to work in my preferred location down on the front seat floor hump. James Jordan

A: Later James writes... Whoops! I apologize to my I7K. After more carefully checking out my Com1 GPS recognition problem with my DeLorme Tripmate and Street Atlas 6.0 -- I found out my Tripmate power cord had gone bad. It makes me wonder how many times we harass the Dell tech support people with problems that are not theirs? James Jordan