The Bottom Line
- Very Affordable
- Competitive Level of Performance To Intel Based Laptops
- Heavier Than Most 15-inch Budget Laptops
- Lots Of Preinstalled Software That Slow Down The System
- Plastic Feels Quite Cheap
- AMD Athlon II X2 P360 Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With VGA Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 4350 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 3-in-1 Card Reader
- 14.7" x 9.6" x 1.5" @ 6 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Guide Review - Dell Inspiron M5030 15.6-inch Budget Laptop PC
Mar 25 2011 - While many budget laptops now sport Intel Core i3 processors, most previously used the AMD mobile processors because they were more affordable. Dell is one of the companies that still offers AMD based laptops with the Inspiron M5030. It uses the AMD Athlon II X2 P360 dual core processor. This gives a fairly competitive level of performance to the Core i3 models but it does trail behind more recent Intel Core i3 offers such as the 380M. The 4GB of DDR3 memory is typical of most new laptops but it doesn't help too much with multitasking because Dell has preloaded so much software that it does impact performance. Users will really want to clean up the installed software to try and correct this issue.
The storage features for the Inspiron M5030 are pretty much exactly what you will find in just about every budget class laptop priced between $500 and $600. The 500GB hard drive provides it with a fair amount of space for applications, data and media files. It spins at the more traditional 5400rpm rate which gives it modest performance. A dual layer DVD burner is included to handle playback or recording of CD and DVD media. Finally, a 3-in-1 card reader handles the most popular forms of flash media.
The graphics and the display of the Inspiron M5030 are certainly nothing special for a budget class laptop. The 15.6-inch screen provides a relatively standard 1366x768 resolution that also has a glossy coating. Color and brightness are acceptable but the viewing angles are a bit narrow. It is hard to use it outdoors because of the glossy coating that produces a fair amount of glare and reflections. The graphics are handled by an AMD Radoen HD 4350 integrated graphics processor. This is a bit better than Intel's integrated solutions but it still has very limited 3D performance that can only really be used for casual gaming at low resolutions and detail levels.
Like most budget classed laptops, the Inspiron M5030 comes with a six cell battery pack that is rated with a 48Whr capacity. In DVD playback testing, the system only yielded just over two hours or running time before going into standby mode. This is slightly behind what many Intel Core i3 based systems can achieve with a similarly capacity battery pack. This isn't necessarily a bad thing considering its price but something that buyer's should be aware of.
Finally, we come to the size and build quality of the Inspiron M5030. Weighing in at six pounds, the laptop is a bit heavier than many other 15-inch laptops that tend to weigh around 5.5 pounds. one would assume this would come from a sturdier set of materials but it uses a standard plastic shell that while functional feels quick cheap.