It might be hard to pick a decent 15.6″ laptop, there are so many options available. And of course, each promises better features than the others. So which one to choose? Here’s one idea: Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-3335SLV, a new Core i7 powered notebook from the world-known, Texas-based manufacturer. Let’s see how this rig would suit your needs.
Thanks to its excellent processor, nobody should find this Dell too slow computer. The Core i7-5500U is a 5th generation, dual-core CPU with 2.4GHz clock speed and 3.0GHz turbo. In professional benchmarks, it gets around 10% better grade than its predecessor, the i7-4500U. The new model is one of the faster mobile processors available, and should tackle system-heavy software (like VirtualBox, image editors) without issues.
Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-3335SLV comes with 8GB RAM. A solid amount to begin with, it’s installed on two 4GB chips. Somebody wanting to go pro can remove these chips and add bigger ones in place, up to 16GB in total. That’s something I can’t recommend right off the bat, because most people feel comfortable in the range of 4-8GB RAM.
Storage size is abundant, the 1024GB hard drive makes sure of that. It’s not the speediest one at just 5400 RPM, and many people have found solid-state drives better. Installing one is possible on this model too, even by yourself, you just need some technical know-how for that.
Screen and graphics
The display of Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-3335SLV supports touch, so feel free to put Windows 8.1’s new features to good use. Size of 15.6 inches is the most popular choice for laptops, not particularly excellent for any task, but alright for most. A basic 1366×768 resolution is offered, keeping the price low but perhaps disappointing power users to a degree.
No dedicated graphics is installed in this model. Thus, most games are a compromise between FPS and settings. On this processor, the Intel HD 5500 graphics chip should be able to run games like Battlefield 4 with ~30FPS on low settings, but upping the details will quickly make those fast-paced titles unplayable. Less demanding ones, like Minecraft and various sports games, will however work with more eye candy on.
Not a surprise, there are three USB ports in Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-3335SLV. Luckily two of those are USB 3.0, some models only have one USB 3.0 and that’s sad in 2015. The obligatory HDMI out lets you connect a high resolution monitor, like HDTV, to this notebook.
Getting access to Internet shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll get a 10/100Mbps RJ-45 port, an excellent A/C WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 enabled by default.
This model contains no DVD drive, so an external optical drive is your only choice if you want to work with discs. The 5-in-1 card reader can be useful too if you have data residing on small memory cards.
Video conferences work fine on this laptop’s 720p webcam and microphone.
Any other things to keep in mind?
15 inch laptops are usually not known for their portability. Weighing 5.29 pounds, the same goes for Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-3335SLV. There’s a 3-cell Li-Ion battery included, and some sources give it over 7 hours of use. I’m amazed if you reach those levels. Most likely you’ll end up with the usual four hours.
The keyboard is backlit, giving this unit a premium look. In addition, numeric keypad is installed on the right.
Dell Inspiron 15 i5548-3335SLV is a modern 15.6″ laptop, offering somewhat upgraded performance thanks to the 5th generation processor. Other components aren’t bad either, although for better user experience one might want to swap the hard drive for a solid-state drive. Gaming-wise, if you can do with lower settings, many titles are within the reach of this notebook. You might like the touchscreen, but for 1366×768 resolution the laptop doesn’t get any extra points. All the essential connections are available, including two USB 3.0 and dual-band WiFi. For the money, this Dell seems to be a decent pick for homes and offices.