The Bottom Line
- Blu-ray Drive
- Excellent Peripheral Port Selection
- Software Installation Free Of Much Bloatware
- Hard Drive Size On The Small Side For Price Range
- Exterior Shows Fingerprints And Smudges Easily
- No Option For 1080p Compatible Display
- Intel Core i5-2410M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 6GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Reader And Dual-Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 17.3" WSXGA+ (1600x900 LED Backlit Display With 1.0 Megapixel Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, eSATA (Shared), HDMI, VGA, 8-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.5" x 11.3" x 1.2" @ 7.2 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, McAfee Security Center
Guide Review - Dell 2011 Inspiron 17R 17.3-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC
Jul 7 2011 - Dell's 2nd generation or Inspiron 17R laptop doesn't really appear all that different from the first generation. Externally it is pretty much identical to the last version except for two of the four USB 2.0 ports being converted to new USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external storage. This gives it one of the best overall peripheral port selections for a 17-inch consumer laptop.
The big change with the new Inspiron 17R is the move to the Intel 2nd generation Core i processors. For the high end Inspiron 17R's, this means the Core i5-2410M dual core processor. For the majority of users, this will provide more than enough performance for the tasks they need. Only those looking to do heavy multitasking or desktop video should really look into a different laptop that features a quad core i7 processor instead. The processor is matched up with 6GB of DDR3 memory which seems to be typical of most laptops in the $1000 price range.
Storage features are mixed on this version of the Inspiron 17R. The hard drive remains a 500GB capacity model which is a bit small now that more laptops are moving towards the 750GB capacity rating. It will probably be enough for most people but at least it has the eSATA and USB 3.0 high speed external ports for fast storage options. This model does include a Blu-ray compatible drive that allows the system to be used for high-definition movie watching. It also supports playback or recording to CD or DVD media as well.
Display wise, the new Inspiron 17R is no different from the past models. The 17.3-inch display uses the same 1600x900 resolution that falls just short of full 1080p high definition video support but is typical of most laptops in this price range. Brightness does seem to suffer a bit which puts it at a disadvantage when used outdoors because of the glossy coatings. The graphics system has switched away from AMD in the 1st generation model to NVIDIA's GeForce GT 525M graphics processor. This is a modest graphics processor that is capable of Direct X 11 gaming but more at a casual level then serious gaming. Resolutions will have to be reduced to keep frame rates up.
The system still comes equipped with the standard six cell battery pack with a 48WHr capacity rating. The move to the more energy efficient 2nd generation Core i processors should help out a bit with the battery life though. In DVD playback tests, the system now gets a bit more than three hours in playback time before the system goes into standby mode. Blu-ray playback will yield roughly 30 minutes less running time while more traditional usage should yield closer to four hours. An optional nine cell battery pack is available for longer running times but it does add extra bulk.
Dell continues to provide a much more minimalistic software installation with their latest models. It comes equipped with a few key applications but doesn't not get cluttered with a large amount of bloatware as seen in some competing systems.