One of the most affordable laptops in Summer 2016 is the Dell i3552-3240BLK. It’s around the price of a Chromebook but offers Windows-level performance with its Pentium processor. But, as you probably know, cheap and good are rarely found in the same package… Let’s see what is the case here.
The first and foremost advantage of Dell i3552-3240BLK is the price. It’s certainly the choice for somebody looking for a cheap starter laptop. True, the performance is not great, but there won’t be lag with web surfing or YouTube videos. Also the 15.6-inch screen is a good all-around size – not too heavy to occasionally carry with you, however not too small to be too uncomfortable.
Of course, the devil is in the details. The Intel Pentium N3700 is a low-end quad-core unit (1.6Ghz clock speed and 2.4GHz turbo) – it reaches ~1900 points in CPU Mark, less than 4th generation Core i3s had. In addition, the 4GB memory hardly works for a power user, although you can upgrade that to 8GB as there’s one SODIMM slot all in all. A professional might also want a solid-state drive instead of the current 500GB (5400RPM SATA 3) hard drive which can feel slow to use.
Heavyweight gaming is very off-limits for Dell i3552-3240BLK. There’s only a very low-end Intel HD 400 graphics chip integrated. Simple ones like Minecraft and League of Legends work with low settings, but new games (such as GTA 5 and Fallout 4) would lag too much. Even Counter-Strike: Go would be far from ideal. There’s nothing you can do about this (no dedicated graphics is available), so don’t get this laptop with gaming in mind!
Miscellaneous (yet important) things
Dell i3552-3240BLK features a non-touch 15.6″ screen, it supporting 1366×768 resolution (no Full HD). The display is not wonderful but suitable for day-to-day use. It has a webcam installed in the top bezel, the maximum video resolution for the camera being 720p at 30FPS.
There’s a removable 4-cell 40Whr battery installed. People have reported around 5 hours operating time when used for web surfing.
The notebook features three USB ports (two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0) which means hooking up peripherals works. There is also a video output for HDMI. For networking you must use the WiFi adapter (802.11bgn + Bluetooth) as RJ-45 is not built-in. However, it’s possible to buy a cheap USB to RJ-45 adapter.
DVD burner and SD card slot are included.
No backlit keyboard is available which is not a surprise for this price.
There are not many notebooks that are cheaper than Dell i3552-3240BLK. That’s the fact number one. The other fact is that the laptop offers only low-end performance – whether that is enough for you or not, depends what you use the computer for. A home, even a small office user, would be happy with this Dell’s performance for web browsing activities. On the other hand, a gamer would find lag everywhere. Thus, if it’s only light programs you’re planning to run and want to save some money, this Dell is a recommended choice for you!