Basic 15.6″ laptops are plenty, and you might have problems with choosing from so many models. Well, here’s one option that’s possibly worth your money: Dell Inspiron 15 i3551-2600BLK. It seems like an affordable laptop from a well-respected manufacturer, making it a good pick for the review team of TechForPennies.com to take a look at!
There’s Intel Pentium N3540 processor in Dell Inspiron 15 i3551-2600BLK offering four cores and up to 2.66GHz clock speeds with burst frequency. Despite these good-looking specifications it’s not really as fast as common Core i3 CPUs, reaching around 1800 points in CPUMark tests. The Pentium is best suited for non-demanding use, including web surfing and video/movie watching from YouTube and other streaming channels.
The laptop contains 4GB memory installed by default which is an appropriate amount for all but power users. At the same time, that’s also the maximum memory this system supports so installing more is not possible.
There’s a 500GB hard drive in this model, less than expensive laptops with 750-1000GB drives but still plenty in my opinion. The speed of 5400RPM might be a problem if you want excellent system and program startup times. Making the swap for a solid-state drive should help in that.
The operating system is a pre-installed copy of Windows 8.1 64-bit.
Display and graphics
I can’t find anything special about the non-touch screen of Dell Inspiron 15 i3551-2600BLK. 15.6″ diagonal with 1366×768 resolution is the most common configuration, giving little bit of something to everybody but not really excelling at anything. One grievance in these budget screens is the image quality, particularly the resolution, so Full HD experience must be left for displays of heftier price tag.
No good news for gamers, the Intel HD (Bay Trail) engine happens to be a very slow graphics chip. Its integrated to the processor and can realistically handle only titles that don’t require much from the system. Those include the popular Minecraft and CS:Go, but not games like Battlefield 4 or latest Assassin’s Creed which can be considered heavyweight.
Dell Inspiron 15 i3551-2600BLK has three USB ports, just like many other 15.6 inchers. One of those is USB 3.0 so you should prefer that. A HDMI out is also offered, allowing for plugging in a HDTV or desktop display.
Networking of this Dell is WiFi-only, with a 802.11b/g/n wireless + Bluetooth 4.0 card. So no Ethernet port is built-in, but of course USB adapter can be used to get RJ-45 port on this laptop.
A DVD drive is lacking as well, so to use discs you must use an external optical drive. SD card reader can also be used, or then you can just opt for downloading all your data off Internet.
The laptop features a webcam with 0.92MP still image and 1280×780 resolution for video.
What other things to keep in mind?
Dell Inspiron 15 i3551-2600BLK weighs 4.85 pounds which is less than many other 15″ laptops have. The battery has 4 cells and 40 WHr rate, giving a maximum of 4 hours operating time.
The keyboard is non-backlit as one could expect from a cheap model. Numeric keypad for fast number key access is included.
Dell Inspiron 15 i3551-2600BLK is a budget laptop with appropriate performance for simple home or small office use. Some minor features like Ethernet port are missing, although to me they don’t seem like deal breakers. For the price, around 350 bucks, it constitutes an alright deal, so somebody not too keen on having a huge performance and gaming options should enjoy this affordable Dell.