Dell i3542-6003BK Review

June 30, 2015
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Dell i3542-6003BK is a touchscreen notebook featuring 4th generation i3 processor and 4GB memory under the hood. Considering these facts it looks like a decent pick for many home (and perhaps office) users. But are there some bad things you should know about? Might be, you can read more from this review…

How is the performance?

The processor of this Dell goes by the name Intel Core i3-4030U. It is a dual-core model, boasting a 1.9GHz clock speed without turbo. It reaches ~2700 CPU Mark points, the same than other mobile i3 processors. It’s not blazing, as somebody put it, but does a good job with web browsing, paper writing, emails and other lighter activities.

There’s a 4GB DDR3L RAM stick installed in Dell i3542-6003BK. The mainboard contains just one memory slot, meaning that you can upgrade to maximum 8GB by replacing the old stick. It might be worth your while if you’re not happy with the laptop’s performance. But give it a try as it is first.

The storage drive is a very basic 500GB 5400RPM hard drive. It’s all you need for a home laptop, but many people are not happy with the performance of such a drive. Replacing it with a solid-state drive will make the computer work faster. Any 2.5″ SATA SSD will work here.

Is the display good?

Dell i3542-6003BK features a glossy 15.6″ screen. It’s a touch display which can be useful (although in no way required) with Windows 8.1 64-bit. The more technical side is 1366×768 resolution and 60hz refresh rate. To point out the obvious, you won’t get excellent quality with such a resolution, on the other hand this cheap laptops never come with a Full HD display.

It’s also worth noting this model has a 135 degrees turning screen. In other words, it doesn’t turn full 360 degrees, so there’s no tablet mode in this Dell.

Am I able to play games with it?

You can fire up some games on this computer. For graphics, it offers the integrated Intel HD 4400 chip that can run several titles fine – as long as you’re not greedy with eye candy and resolution. Even GTA 5 will have playable ~20FPS but only on low details. All the less demanding titles, such as DOTA 2 and World of Warcraft, run fine with higher settings.

What connections does it include?

Dell i3542-6003BK has three USB ports all in all. One of them is the faster USB 3.0 type. One HDMI out is also there, it allows you to connect a television or desktop computer display.

For network access the laptop offers 10/100Mbps Ethernet (RJ-45) port and 802.11b/g/n Wireless. The system supports Bluetooth 4.0 as well.

You can create and read CDs/DVDs on this computer, it features an internal optical drive. The laptop also accepts SD memory cards from music players, cameras and similar portable devices.

The notebook is no stranger to Skype video, there’s a 720p webcam + microphone for that.

Any other noteworthy things?

Dell i3542-6003BK weighs 5.5 pounds, not too much but still a bit more than these things usually are (~5 pounds).

The included 4-cell 40Whr battery lasts 5-6 hours according to several user reports.

Backlit keyboard is non-existent, it’s just a regular one. Numeric keypad is installed on the right side.


People have said they “love the laptop” and it “exceeds their expectations”. Well, I can believe that if you don’t have the expectations of a power user or gamer. Indeed, Dell i3542-6003BK has good enough components (i3, 4GB, 500GB HDD) for most common applications – including light gaming and video streaming. Heavy-duty software is too much for it, but the same is true for any laptop of such a low price. If you want a decent notebook for basic use, you don’t need to look any further than this Dell.

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