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Dell Inspiron 17 17-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)


Dell Inspiron 17 17-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC

Dell Inspiron 17


The Bottom Line

Jan 21 2010 - Dell's Inspiron 17 gets some needed improvements thanks to the new Intel Core i5 processor that helps boost overall performance compared to the previous generations Core 2 Duo offers. The addition of an optional TouchScreen display is also welcome for those willing to pay for the upgrade. The problem with the Inspiron 17 though is the graphics and display. Relying on the integrated graphics means that system is not capable of 3D gaming and the panel uses a below average resolution for a 17-inch display.


  • Solid Performance From New Core i5 Processor
  • Available In Multipe Colors
  • Optional Multitouch Display


  • Integrated Graphics
  • Low Panel Resolution


  • Intel Core i5-520M Dual Core Mobile Processor
  • 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
  • 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
  • 17" WXGA+ (1440x900) WLED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
  • Intel GMA X4500 Integrated Graphics
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
  • Three USB 2.0, FireWire, VGA, ExpressCard/54, 7-in-1 Card Reader
  • 16.4" x 10.9" x 1.6" @ 6.8 lbs.
  • Windows 7 Home Premium, Works, McAfee Security Center

Guide Review - Dell Inspiron 17 17-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC

Jan 21 2010 - Dell's latest revision of the Inspiron 17 looks pretty much identical to the older generations of Inspiron laptops. The big different with the new model is the new Intel Core i5-520M processor. This small change produces a huge performance boost over the less expensive versions that rely on the Core 2 Duo and Pentium Dual-Core processor. The processor is still dual-core but has a higher clock speed, improved cache and a built-in DDR3 memory controller. All of this is well worth the price increase over the non-Core i5 models.

While the processor and memory have been upgraded, the graphics on the latest Inspiron 17 keep the same overall panel and integrated graphics solution. The 17-inch panel is bright and colorful thanks to the LED backlit but the resolution is disappointing. Most desktop replacements now features 1680x1050 or 1920x1080 resolutions. This panel only comes with a 1440x900 resolution. The lack of a dedicated processor is the big disappointment though as the system cannot be used for even casual PC gaming. One nice aspect though is the optional multi-touch display but for many there isn't much benefit yet to the interface.

Storage is actually quite good for the Inspiron 17. Dell packs the unit with a very large, high performance 500GB hard drive. If that isn't enough storage, there is a secondary hard drive bay that can be loaded with a second similar sized drive or users can opt instead for two 320GB drives for 640GB of total space. Users are limited to a standard dual-layer DVD burner but this isn't really an issue because putting Blu-ray on the system without a 1080p compatible display would be a waste.

Battery life on the Inspiron 17 with a 6-cell battery is a bit below the average desktop replacement that tend to use more batteries. Users can expect just under two hours of running time when using it to watch a DVD movie. Standard web usage will net roughly two and a half hours of running time. Users should opt for a 9-cell battery if they need more running time.

With a $1250 price tag currently, the Inspiron 17 is a bit less expensive than similarly equipped desktop replacement laptops. The problem is that for just a little more, users can get a system with dedicated graphics and a Core i7 quad core processor. Still, if you want a fast 17-inch laptop that isn't going to be used for graphics, the Inspiron 17 is capable and functional.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
Would probably be OK if it worked..., Member chrisharjes

Computer showed severe freezing and shutdown problems early on, so I called Dell to try to fix it. Thus began a nightmare of long hold times, clueless customer service reps, multiple transfers and LOTS of my time spent filling out online forms and waiting for responses from Dell- all the while starting school with a laptop posessed by demons. This is not the only problem I've had recently with Dell- I ordered a spare battery from Dell, received the wrong one, and spent over 40 minutes haggling with customer service and sales reps, then had to send four emails (each requiring me to fill out a lengthy and redundant form,) before finally getting the right battery and a return authorization for the wrong one they sent. They still havenít credited my account, even though I first contacted them about the issue almost a month ago. I also had the same problem trying to return a copy of Microsoft Office which they informed me would be over a week behind the rest of my order (which was already late by then.) Dell is exceptionally difficult to deal with, and has no concept for the value of their customersí time. I will never buy anything from them again. I can't believe it took me so long to figure out.

12 out of 15 people found this helpful.

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