Dell Inspirons are often associated with solid quality and affordable price. That is well understood since these notebooks tend to receive positive reviews again and again, despite many of them belonging to the cheap laptop category. Dell Inspiron 15 i3531-3225BK is one of those notebooks made for the budget hunter crowd. Its vital stats are 15 inches display and quad core processor. In this post we’ll tell you if it keeps up with high quality of the other Inspiron laptops!
The main things
The laptop being priced at around 300 bucks, strong performance can’t be assumed. The processor is quad-core, 2.16GHz Intel Pentium N3530 with turbo speed up to 2.6GHz. The performance is similar to many Celerons and below slowest Core i3s. As such, this Pentium could be recommended especially for lightweight use, but naturally any kind of modern processor would also work for occasional heavier use when slowness isn’t huge issue.
The biggest hurdle for that processor would be gaming. As it is, it integrates Intel HD Graphics whose gaming performance is unsatisfactory to say the least. It’s not the friends of high end games like BF3/4, Skyrim or Thief who would enjoy this chip. FPS would fall well below 20 with them. Minecraft and other easy-on-the-system games should have smooth frames especially if you can sacrifice the high settings.
System memory for Dell Inspiron 15 i3531-3225BK is 4 gigabytes. It’s good amount for basic and power users alike. One of my computers is 5 years old desktop with 4GB memory and it still does fine with everything, even some image editing that is usually considered heavy use.
There’s 500GB storage space in the laptop on one 5400RPM hard drive. It’s enough for everyday use, most users won’t ever reach the limit. Those who download might, so upgrading the drive might have to happen later. For the price, though, it’s hard to complain.
The screen is dime-in-a-dozen 15.6″ display. The resolution is 1366×768. Getting it for home use is fine, you don’t usually see higher resolutions with this price anyway. Full HD content will work, just the downscaled version fit to this screen will be shown. The display is not a touchscreen, so utilizing Windows 8’s touch features is impossible on this laptop.
Dell Inspiron 15 i3531-3225BK has two USB 2.0 ports. However, no USB 3.0 is present. This is what bothers me bit: if you have USB equipment you’d like to use with the Inspiron, you’d have to resort connecting them to slower USB 2.0. It’s definitely not huge deal, rather slight disadvantage.
HDMI output is available, thus you can use external display (like HDTV) as the screen for this laptop.
Unlike some cheaper Inspirons, this one features Ethernet and WiFi. Bluetooth is also supported out of the box.
Other things to keep in mind
Perhaps to keep the price low, Dell Inspiron 15 i3531-3225BK doesn’t have optical drive. This might be factor against the notebook for some. External DVD drive can still be used for reading and writing discs. Another remedy is the available media card reader whose capacity is much bigger than DVD’s.
The laptop weighs good 5.3 pounds. The battery life is around 6 hours. These specs make it good choice for people on the go who don’t enjoy the user experience of smaller subnotebooks. The keyboard is non-backlit one but contains numeric pad for quick access to numbers.
Dell Inspirons have been reviewed here, and on the other sites, many times before. In general, they turn out to be viable choices for budget laptop hunters. I see no difference in this particular model. Its performance is suitable for everyday users, while enjoying some basic games is also very possible. The lack of USB 3.0 and optical drive are the biggest turnoffs, but if you can live without them, you’ll probably be happy with this budget Inspiron.