The Bottom Line
Oct 21 2011 - While Dell's Inspiron 15R isn't going to distinguish itself from the competition in terms of performance for an under $600 laptop, it certainly makes up for it with flexibility. Most companies tend to skimp on peripheral ports, but Dell gives both USB 3.0 and eSATA for those looking to expand their laptops storage. It also features Bluetooth and WiDi wireless display adapters for connecting a wide range of other wireless peripherals including an HDTV. This gives it an edge for longevity because of the ability to upgrade compared to most budget laptops.
- USB 3.0 and eSATA Ports
- WiDi 2.0 Wireless Display Capable
- Customized Dock Software Features Adware
- Not Really Custom Built To Order Like Past Dell Models
- Intel Core i3-2310M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Laer Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With 1.0 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, eSATA (shared), HDMI, VGA, 8-in-1 Card Reader
- 14.8" x 10.2" x 1.3" @ 5.4 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, McAfee Security Center
Review - Dell Inspiron 15R
Oct 21 2011 - Dell's Inspiron 15R comes in a wide variety of configurations. I have looked at this laptop previously, but it was priced a fair bit more than most budget oriented consumers are looking for. Today, I look at a more budget friendly configuration that can be found between $550 and $600.
Exterior wise, the Dell Inspiron 15R remains unchanged from the more expensive versions and this is actually great for those on a budget. Specifically, the peripheral port selection on the Dell is one of the best to be found in this price segment. It provides two USB 3.0 and one eSATA (shared with one of the USB 2.0) ports to allow for a wide range of high speed external storage options. If that isn't enough, the laptop also comes equipped with Bluetooth for use with wireless peripherals such as keyboard, mice and even headsets. This gives it much more room for external expansion that the typical $600 laptop can provide.
To keep the costs down for this budget version of the Inspiron 15R, an Intel Core i3-2310M dual core processor is used rather than the more powerful Core i5. This means that it may not be the best suited for demanding computing tasks such as desktop video but it is more than capable for the average consumer that uses their PC primarily for the web, productivity and media viewing. It is matched up with 4GB of DDR3 memory that should allow it to deal with tasks just fine. Overall, this puts it pretty much on par with the majority of its competition.
The storage features within the Inspiron 15R are common to most of the budget laptops on the market. This includes a 500GB hard drive that should provide sufficient space for most users and a dual-layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media. As mentioned previously, the real difference is in the external ports that allow for greater external expansion that most budget systems lack.
As with just about every other budget laptop, the system relies on built-in or integrated graphics. With the new Intel Core i3 processor, this is the new Intel HD Graphics 3000. It is an improvement over past integrated graphics for the company but it still lacks real 3D performance for any real use even as a casual PC gaming platform except at the lowest detail and resolution levels. What it does provide though is the ability to accelerate media encoding tasks when using QuickSync compatible software programs. It also features the WiDi 2.0 functionality to wirelessly transmit video to a WiDi receiver for wirelss HDMI to a HDTV.
As with the other versions of the Inspiron 15R, Dell includes a standard six-cell battery pack with a 48WHr capacity rating. This is fairly typical of most 15-inch laptops regardless of their overall cost. In DVD playback testing, the laptop is able to run for two and three quarter hours before going into standby mode. Once again, this is pretty much on par with just about every laptop with a similar configuration. Expect roughly another hour worth of running time in more typical and less demanding usage.