The Bottom Line
Apr 29 2011 - Dell's refreshed Inspiron R line includes the midsize 15.6-inch model aptly named the 15R. This system is available in several configurations, but the $699 model features a 2nd Generation Intel Core i5-2410M dual-core processor with 3MB of cache and integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics. While you won't want to use this laptop for serious gaming, it does make a peppy model for very light run-throughs in non-intensive games, such as World of Warcraft.
- Low Cost
- Blu-ray Drive
- Economical Hardware
- Integrated Graphics Aren't Good for Gaming
- 2nd Generation Intel Core i5-2410M (2.3GHz with 3MB of Cache)
- 4GB Dual Channel 1333MHz DDR3 Memory
- Integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 up to 1.6GB Dynamic Video Memory (Sandy Bridge Chip)
- 15.6-Inch 720p HD LED Display with TrueLife
- 500GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Combo Drive (Reads Blu-ray, Writes to DVD/CD)
- Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1030
- HD Webcam
- 6 Cell Battery
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
- 5.84 Pounds
Review - Dell Inspiron 15R 2nd Generation Sandy Bridge 2011 Laptop
Dell has updated their entire Inspiron R line, which includes three screen sizes – 14-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch. The refreshed 15R features a 2nd Generation Intel Core i5-2410M processor, which is a dual-core chip with a 2.3GHz clock speed and Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.9GHz. This chip features 3MB of L3 cache, so it isn't nearly as powerful as a quad-core Sandy Bridge Core i7 CPU, but it holds its own and is much more affordable. Speaking of price, this notebook can be found for $699 so it's definitely geared for users on a budget. If you're looking for high performance in games, this notebook isn't for you. It's not particularly customizable, and there is no dedicated video card.
Instead of a graphics card, the Inspiron 15R utilizes the Intel HD 3000 GPU found on the Sandy Bridge Core i5-2410M chip. This means you can run casual games that aren't particularly graphic-intensive at reduced settings. The machine also fills a niche if you enjoy watching movies on your system. The $699 Dell Inspiron 15R features a Blu-ray combo drive that reads Blu-ray discs but writes to a CD or DVD. Unfortunately, the LED display is only a 720p model, meaning you can't take advantage of full HD (1080p) resolution. However, if you are trying to stay on budget, it's nice to have the optional drive in a low cost system.
The Dell Inspiron 15R also comes with 4GB of DDR3 memory, which is average for a laptop in this price range. At this time, the average user can get by with 4GB of memory, but it doesn't make the system future-proof. One nice feature is to see that Dell included a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive. It was disappointing to see that the $899 Inspiron 17R only has a 5400RPM hard drive. You'll definitely want a 7200RPM drive for improved performance and load times.
Overall, the Dell Inspiron 15R offers a portable solution at a budget friendly price of $699. At just under six pounds, it's not difficult to tote this notebook around, which is nice. However, due to the aggressive price point, performance is limited, and the graphics are not suitable for anything more than very light gaming. If you're looking to game without spending a fortune, it's worth considering the 17R, which is a sister model to the Inspiron 15R but with a larger display and dedicated graphics card.