Choosing the right manufacturer is crual: you simply don’t want to get a bad laptop. When it comes to brand superiority, it seems that Dell is right in the middle, scored 5/10, with HP above and Samsung below. This might comes as a surprise for those who’ve always sworn on high Dell quality. To be honest, I’ve always regarded the Texan IT giant one of the best as well. Positive reviews for Dells are still plenty. So let’s see how well Dell Inspiron 11 i3148-6840sLV does in our critique.
The main things
The notebook contains Intel Core i3-4010U processor, an ultra-low voltage component supposedly contributing to longer battery life. It runs on dual cores and clockspeed of 1.7GHz, and these i3 CPUs are generally fine for running most software. As a bonus, it contains Intel HD 4400 for graphics which is a small level up from the older, generic Intel HD models (more about this later).
For memory, Dell Inspiron 11 i3148-6840sLV offers 4GB DDR3L RAM installed on one SODIMM slot. There are no additional slots available, nor does the laptop support more memory. So you have to get on with 4GB RAM, which if you ask me, is still fine for most uses. I happen to have a 5 year old laptop with same memory (and far worse CPU) which still works wonders for everyday computing.
You’ll get 500GB storage space on this Dell. Depending on how much you like to store files locally, the half a terabyte is or is not enough for you. As an estimate, such a 500GB drive could hold 10,000s of smaller files, like photos and mp3s. Also keep in mind it’s not a solid-state drive but a 5400RPM hard drive, so you won’t reach the ridiculously fast speeds those modern SSDs boast.
Screen and graphics
The 11.6″ display is undoubtedly the main selling point of Dell Inspiron 11 i3148-6840sLV. To start with, it’s a touchscreen. Thus, operating Windows 8.1 (64-bit) is a piece of cake. In addition, the screen turns 360 degrees, so you can also use the laptop essentially as a tablet. The keyboard part also acts as a tablet stand if you choose so.
The resolution itself isn’t Full HD, just a 1366×768, but considering the small size (11.6 inches) of the screen it should work well.
The graphics engine is called Intel HD 4400. As said above, it’s a slight upgrade from older models in that graphics chip family. However, don’t get too excited, it’s still a low-end integrated card. For lightweight and/or older games it suffices, something like Fifas, Sleeping Dogs and Diablo III would run smoothly at least on low settings. Conversely, if you enjoy latest games with lots of eye candy (Ryse: SoR, Watch Dogs, Thief) the FPS will probably drop below 20.
Dell Inspiron 11 i3148-6840sLV comes with two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port with PowerShare. One USB 2.0 is located on right, while the rest are on left. Next to the USB 3.0 you’ll find a HDMI output, which you can use with HDTV or other HDMI-in supporting device.
The laptop has Bluetooth tied to its WiFi card, although there’s no RJ-45 port for wired Internet access.
A small notebook has some compromises, such as a missing optical drive. Indeed, to operate CDs and DVDs on this Dell, you’d have to use an external drive that connects to a USB port. There’s however a little remedy found in the laptop: a media card reader which supports SD and MMC formats.
The webcam supports 0.92MP still image and 1280×720 video at maximum 30 fps.
Other things to keep in mind
The weight of this laptop is just 3.1 pounds. To me, it sounds like an acceptable weight for a 11.6 incher. I don’t think anybody will have problems carrying this subnotebook with him. The 3-cell battery’s life isn’t listed anywhere, but keeping mind the low-voltage components and small screen size, it should surely surpass the 4-5 hours threshold usually seen in laptops.
Dell Inspiron 11 i3148-6840sLV has a non-backlit keyboard without 10-key numeric pad. A very common setting for a small notebook, you won’t be missing that numeric pad unless you often require access to number keys.
Some software is installed in the system. There are, among other things, McAfee LiveSafe and MS Office trials for 30 days.
Dell Inspiron 11 i3148-6840sLV seems to be more of a 2-in-1 computer than a conventional laptop. You can use it however you wish, be it the old school laptop style or the tablet way. This naturally means versatility, low weight and (probably) longer battery life. The performance is also far better than that of a pure tablet, sufficing for everyday computing but being a bit problematic for gaming. Also, missing Ethernet and optical drive, the quirks of a small laptop, must be accepted. Other than that, this Inspiron seems to be a solid laptop-tablet hybrid. If you can’t decide which to buy, why not to get this Dell and have them both in one package!