I see, you’re a real power user. No Celeron or Chromebook is useful to you. You’re looking for some real power. In that case, Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-2500SLV might look tempting to you. It comes with 5th generation Core i7 processor which looks quite good according to early benchmark tests. But CPU is not all it takes to make a great laptop, so we need to examine this computer a bit more.
Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-2500SLV has a powerful Intel Core i7-5500U as its processor. It is clocked at 2.4GHz while turbo boost increases the frequency up to 3.0GHz. Core amount is still two, and it can be debated if a quad core setup would’ve been a better choice. Anyways, this model seems to do well in benchmarks, beating many Core i5s as expected. Performance is plenty, so even users with demanding applications should find this Core i7 pleasant to deal with.
The memory amount in this laptop is 8GB. It’s installed on two 4GB DIMM modules and it’s my understanding the system supports up to 16GB memory. As such, installing more will work, but starting with the default eight gigabytes will be enough for almost everybody.
When it comes to storage, it’s either big and slow or small and quick. This one has the former, a conventional hard drive, with nice 1024GB size letting you store all of your data there easily. Flipside is the speed of 5400RPM which is much slower than solid-state drives (and even somewhat slower than 7200RPM hard drives) have, so if you want fast read/write rates you should do the swap for an SSD.
Display and graphics
For the price Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-2500SLV doesn’t seem to have a great screen. It’s 15.6″ big and has a resolution of 1366×768. For the money a Full HD screen could’ve been expected. It’s not a touchscreen either which means you’ll be left out of Windows 8.1’s touch features. But frankly, that’s only a small concern, while the resolution might be a bigger problem for some.
A graphics engine named Intel HD 5500 is installed in the processor. It’s a new release, with performance above the old HD 4400 however below HD 4600. It’s alright for playing most games, even the new ones, if you can turn off the eye candy and keep resolution low. Expected FPS for the popular Battlefield 4 would be ~30FPS and for Thief around 20. Games with lower system requirements, like Minecraft, would run much more smoothly.
Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-2500SLV seems to have two USB 2.0 ports and just one USB 3.0, a bit disappointing given the higher price. HDMI output is there too, and it can be used for HDTV or PC monitor connection.
Networking is not bad, with a 10/100Mbps RJ-45 port and dual-band AC wireless card with Bluetooth 4.0 support.
Optical drive is left out, so you must use an external one if it’s discs you desire. There’s also a media card reader for SD, SDHC, MS and MS PRO cards available if you’re happy with that medium.
Webcam and microphone are installed too, although I couldn’t find resolution for the former.
What other things to keep in mind?
Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-2500SLV weighs 5.2 pounds, no less or more than your average 15.6 incher. The 3-cell battery with 43Wh energy might be able to give only ~3 hours operating time, not really satisfying needs of road warriors.
There’s a backlit keyboard on this model, definitely an advantage. Also 10-key pad is installed so hitting number keys is no problem.
Summing it up
Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-2500SLV is a powerful laptop with a hefty price tag. Its new Core i7 processor with respectable 8GB RAM definitely offer enough performance for demanding use, but some will be disappointed due to lack of a Full HD screen. Backlit keyboard is a positive thing, although having just one USB 3.0 port is not. The battery life is also questionable, although that only concerns those who plan to travel with their laptop. Anyway, the Dell is priced quite high, and in my opinion, its features and performance hardly justify the cost. For example, this Acer offers very close performance with better features (like a 1920×1080 screen) and it costs less.