Multimedia Interaction: Locally/Near
Display –The horizontal viewing angle has a fairly wide range. If there are three people watching a movie side by side, there shouldn't be any problems. Each person will see a bright crisp image from the screen. Once you add a fourth person (unless they are sitting behind), the fourth person (sitting on the end of the line) will not be able to see the movie clearly.
Left to Right: Harry Met Sally Divx movie via network, The Patriot via DVD, Harry Met Sally Divx movie via network
Audio Setup for Movies - At a 90% volume level, you get a good theatrical volume. This is the volume setting we watched Matrix Reloaded and other movies/TV at. There was no distortion that we were able to detect.
The audio experience ranks as one of the best for a notebook. Watching movies and or TV offers a superb experience. While, it isn't the best, it is ranks as on of the better ones. The harmonics, tremble, and bass ranges are clear and crisp.
On the possiblity that one or two people are watching movies with you, and you want to use headphones, you will need a headphone line splitter. Using headphones cuts output from the built in speakers. In a three person horizontal arrangement (the person sitting directly in front of the notebook should be about 2 to 3 feet from the screen), there are no audio weak spots if you chose to listen to the built in speakers.
Dedicated Multimedia Buttons – Notice that the front buttons light up in an aesthetically appealing neon blue hue, which are very reminiscent of the LEDs for the buttons on Dell's Digital Jukebox MP3 players. In all likelihood, Dell just migrated the idea over. The LEDs themselves are fairly bright (as bright as those on the Dell DJ MP3 players) and do make it easier to find that right button when you are watching a movie in the dark. The only problem is that these buttons only turn on once you press them, and then they have a three second delay until the LEDs turn off.
Dell should have a BIOS setting available to leave these LEDs on all the time, as that makes more sense. Having the LEDs light up after you press them in order to identify them somewhat defeats the purpose. Of course, we also want to see the same BIOS function give the ability to turn off the LEDs to conserve more power and a few other preset delay settings, i.e. 5, 7, etc. Other than that the buttons themselves feel natural and are similar to those on the Dell DJ MP3 players.
LEDs - Note that the audio lights do not turn off once you plug in headphones. All of the LEDs, minus those for the buttons, are constantly on. There is no way to turn of the lights, less going into the BIOS and changing the settings. Its good to see that Dell had the tack to give the option to the user. The multimedia fan will probably be more grateful than the gamer.
We did not feel that the LEDs took away from the visual experience in a totally dark room. Actually the LEDs were the only light sources faintly illuminating the keyboard. Its too bad that the multimedia buttons aren't visible in the dark. In a well lit room, the LEDs were somewhat of a distraction. This is going to be a matter of preference, though.