The Bottom Line
- Blu-ray Drive
- Good Performance
- Software Installation Free Of Much Bloatware
- Exterior Shows Lots Of Fingerprints And Smudges
- Display Can't Handle 1080p HD Video
- 3D Graphics Best Suited For Casual Gaming
- Intel Core i5-450M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- Blu-ray Reader And Dual Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 17.3" WSXGA+ (1600x900) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5470 Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Four USB 2.0, eSATA, HDMI, 7-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.5" x 10.9" x 1.4" @ 6.7 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Works, McAfee Security Center
Guide Review - Dell Inspiron 17R 17.3-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC
Jul 8 2010 - Dell's Inspiron 17R is their latest revision of their consumer desktop replacement laptop. This includes a new external case design that has a sleeker look and profile that the last version. The glossy exterior will quickly pick up fingerprints and smudges but the interior is a bit more resistant albeit still glossy.
Powering the Inspiron 17R is the new Intel 2010 Core mobile processors. In the unit reviewed, a moderate level Core i5-450M dual core processor is teamed up with 4GB of DDR3 memory. This provides for a very smooth overall experience in most computing tasks. It will fall short of higher end Core i5 and Core i7 processors but most people probably won't see the difference unless they do video editing or similar heavy computing tasks.
While the majority of the Inspiron 17R units come with a standard dual layer DVD burner, this $1000 version includes a Blu-ray combo drive. This allows the system to be used as a mobile high definition Blu-ray player or for playback and recording of CD and DVD media. The 500GB hard drive is fairly typical of the desktop replacement market now and provides a good amount of space for applications and data. It does spin at a more traditional 5400rpm spin rate rather than the faster 7200rpm desktop rate which impacts performance slightly.
With the inclusion of a Blu-ray drive, a high resolution LCD panel would be expected. The 17.3-inch panel uses a 1600x900 resolution that falls short of providing full 1080p HD video support. The panel does use an LED backlight that provides a good level of color but a tad bit more subdued in brightness. It uses a standard glossy coating like most laptops do now that can be prone to glare and reflections in certain lighting conditions. It does use an ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5470 dedicated graphics with 1GB of memory but series gamers will want to look elsewhere. It is sufficient for handling all HD video streaming and casual PC gaming but will likely have to play 3D games below the panel's full resolution.lt;/p>
To keep the profile slimmer on the Inspiron 17R, Dell ships most with a standard 6-cell battery pack. In my DVD playback tests, this resulted in under three hours before going into standby mode. In more traditional computing usage, this should translate to roughly three and a half to four hours of usage. This falls squarely in the middle of the desktop replacement laptops in terms of battery life. An optional 9-cell battery pack option is available that will give it more running time but add to its bulk and cost.
One nice aspect of Dell's latest computers is the limited amount of software installed on them. The Inspiron 17R comes with a few key applications but without as much bloat as competing systems which clutter the system and performance.