Dell has recently released a new set of laptops. Some fall in the budget notebook category, making them a perfect pick for the Tech For Pennies review department. Those new models also have latest 5th generation processors (and graphics engines), suggesting some performance improvements. So we chose one of them, Dell Inspiron 15 i3543-000BLK, and examined it more. Below are our findings and recommendations for you!
Intel Core i3-5005U is a 2015 CPU release, belonging to the 5th generation of Intel processors. It has two cores and clock speed of 2.0GHz, and compared to the previous i3-4005U, it features ~20% better performance. As such, the i3-5005U is a very capable mobile processor, with no issues dealing with heavier software (like image editing tools) or easier games. Daily tasks, like surfing the web, are a smooth sail for that CPU.
Dell Inspiron 15 i3543-000BLK has 4GB DDR3L memory installed. Not a huge amount, but adequate for everyday computing nonetheless. The mainboard has just one memory slot supporting up to a 8GB chip. In another words, if you want to add more, you have to replace the installed RAM module.
A 500GB hard drive is offered, giving sufficient amount of storage for most users. It’s the most common size of budget laptops, with space enough for ~100 DVDs worth of data or closer to 100,000 vacation snapshots. The 5400RPM speed is nothing spectacular, with 7200RPM hard drives and especially SSDs easily beating that in performance. There’s no space for an additional drive, but of course you can take out the installed drive which leaves you with one unoccupied 2.5″ slot.
Screen and graphics
Dell Inspiron 15 i3543-000BLK has a 15.6″ non-touch display. Featuring a 1366×768″ resolution, it suits casual users, although professionals with higher requirements don’t usually accept anything less than a Full HD. Some people commented the screen is dull, so it’s probably anti-glare one: good for bright rooms, harder to see in the dark. That’s how most laptop displays are.
As the processor is an upgraded one, so is the graphics engine. The new Intel HD Graphics 5500 should be tad faster than the HD 4400 model, although dedicated graphics performance is still unheard of. For gamers, this means low settings on many games if decent FPS is desired. As an example, Battlefield would average around 25 frames on low details, the same applying for most newer, graphics-heavy games. However, old titles – like Steam-powered ones, including CS:Go – will get a nice 60FPS on low and even 30FPS on high details and 1366×768 resolution.
Just like the majority of 15 inchers, Dell Inspiron 15 i3543-000BLK also comes with three USB ports. One is USB 3.0, located on the right side as far as I know. A HDMI port is also offered, so you can hook the computer to a HDTV if you wish to.
Networking includes wired (100Mbps RJ-45) and wireless (802.11 b/g/n) options. Bluetooth 4.0 is enabled as well.
The laptop features a DVD burner, acting as a back-up if you can’t get all your files from Internet. If you have a digital camera, you can use the Dell’s built-in SD card reader to upload your photos.
There’s a 1280×720 webcam on the laptop. Using it for Skype video works.
Any other things to consider?
Some people called Dell Inspiron 15 i3543-000BLK heavy. It’s all relative: the weight is 5.3 pounds, around the average what these 15.6″ models are. The 4-cell battery is dubbed as a “long-lasting one”, which in reality means 3-4 hours of web browsing with a single charge.
There’s no backlit keyboard in this model. Somebody complained you can’t work in the dark. Well, you certainly can, because the display anyway illuminates light. A 10-key pad is also fixed on the right hand side, giving you quick access to numbers.
Windows 8.1 (64-bit) is the operating system of this computer.
Summing it up
Dell Inspiron 15 i3543-000BLK is an inexpensive laptop for home or small office users. There should be nothing really wrong about it, but a cheap notebook like this won’t probably satisfy the needs of professionals and hardcore gamers. But other people, those not requiring so much from their computer, will find the 5th generation processor, upgraded graphics and 4GB memory adequate to work with. Connections are also solid, allowing for USB 3.0 peripheral and HDTV to be plugged in. Dells are usually quality products, so I see no reason not to recommend this model, either.