Dell Inspiron 15 i5545-1250sLV, a laptop barely fitting to the budget category, features a 15 inches screen, AMD A8 processor and 8 gigabytes system memory. According to some professional tests, Dell as a brand is usually ranked somewhere in the middle, right between HP and Samsung laptops. Keeping these things in mind, for this notebook we expected suitability at least for basic tasks at home and office. Well, let’s see what we thought about it…
The main things
Like said above, Dell Inspiron 15 i5545-1250sLV doesn’t have an Intel processor but an AMD one. It’s called AMD A8-7100 APU, the end abbreviation meaning accelerated processing unit because the chip integrates actual processor and graphics engine. It has clock speed of just 1.8GHz, although there’s a turbo feature that takes it up to 3.0GHz. There are four cores in it, and according to benchmarks, it sits just below the slowest Intel Core i5 processors. Especially in multi-threading it does a great job, a good news for somebody into multitasking, and naturally the processor handles everyday computing with flying colors.
The laptop sports 8GB RAM, a very respectable amount these days. More system memory can’t be added because the memory maxes out at 8 gigabytes and there’s just one SODIMM slot on the mainboard anyway.
Hard drive storage is plenty at 1000GB. Easily hosting all of your files, games and multimedia (tens of thousands of images for example), the drive itself isn’t that fast at 5400RPM. You won’t get fast user experience the SSD-enabled laptops such as Chromebooks have, but you’ll get some nice storage space for sure.
Display and graphics
Unfortunately for some, Dell Inspiron 15 i5545-1250sLV doesn’t come with a touchscreen, which would also go well together with Windows 8.1 (64-bit). The display is a regular 15.6″ one, featuring a basic resolution of 1366×768. Purists won’t find much joy in the less than 1920×1080 resolution, but the current 1366×768 should suffice for home use just fine. Full HD content will naturally show on the screen, although as a downscaled version.
There’s no Intel HD graphics in this laptop because it’s AMD-based computer. Instead, it has AMD Radeon R5, which is also integrated, but generally performs better than many Intel HD chips. The performance can be compared to some low-end dedicated cards such as GeForce 710M. As such, playing most games – even the newest ones – is possible, although with very demanding titles you should keep the settings and resolution low to reach playable FPS levels. With games from 2012 and before, you can easily up the settings to medium or even high.
Dell Inspiron 15 i5545-1250sLV has in total three USB ports, with two of them being USB 3.0. Using the laptop with HDTV is also possible through its HDMI out connection.
For networking, the notebook features the usual combo of 10/100Mbps Ethernet and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi. The wireless card also supports Bluetooth 4.0, so you don’t have to install that separately.
Over Dell they made the tough decision to leave optical drive out of this laptop. As such, if you want to use CDs and DVDs, you must use an external drive. As consolation, they included a 5-in-1 media card reader supporting SD, SD 3.0, SDHC, MS and MS Pro formats, although it’s not a true replacement for the optical drive.
A microphone and webcam with 0.92MP still image and 1280×720 video are available, allowing for convenient Skype calls and video meetings.
Other things to consider
Dell Inspiron 15 i5545-1250sLV weighs 5.25lbs, which sounds like an average weight for laptop with 15.6″ non-touch screen. The battery life isn’t listed in the manual, but some vendors give it over 7 hours life, which I’d take with a grain of salt. If you get that, it’s excellent, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a regular 4-5 hours battery life on this laptop.
Typical for a 15.6 incher, the keyboard features numeric pad on right, which is either convenience or just in your way, depending if you require access to number keys often or not.
Dell Inspiron 15 i5545-1250sLV stands between true powerhouses and the rock-bottom price subnotebooks, allowing you to deal with all the daily tasks without breaking a sweat. Gaming on it is also possible, thanks to the Radeon R5 chip, if you have patience to play demanding games on low settings. Professionals would probably gripe about the resolution, but for the uses these entry-level laptops are intended, a 1366×768 resolution goes just fine. The only missing feature that could really hurt is the DVD drive – if you absolutely need that, going for some other laptop is advisable. However, if optical drive is of no importance to you, this notebook would probably be something to think about.