A lot of new Dell laptops have been brought to market recently. Indeed, the demand for these things is never-ending. People want the latest and best products especially if they also happen to offer excellent bang for the buck. One new candidate is Dell Inspiron 17 i7746-3125SLV, a high-end 17.3″ laptop powered by Intel Core i5 processor. It’s not as affordable as your basic notebook, so in this review we’ll explain if the laptops’ features are really worth its price.
The unit’s Core i5-5200U processor is a new release, a member of 5th generation Intel CPUs. Promises have been made to offer ~10% better performance in comparison to the older i4-4200U model. Both processors sport a dual-core setup, although the i5-5200U comes with nice 2.2GHz clock frequency that is increased up to 3.0GHz with turbo feature. It’s a very fast CPU, beating mobile Pentiums and Core i3s by a mile, although for this high price even a faster Core i7 could have been justified.
Dell Inspiron 17 i7746-3125SLV features 12GB memory. It comes on 4GB and 8GB chips, taking both memory slots on the motherboard. You’re free to swap the 4GB module for another eight gigabytes chip, so you’d be totaling at 16 gigabytes RAM. However, the current 12GB should be more than enough for everybody, so I can’t vouch for adding extra memory.
It looks like there’s a hybrid hard drive installed. So you benefit from both: the huge 1024GB storage of a mechanical hard drive and speed of an SSD flash drive. However, it’s still not as fast as a true SSD. Some people don’t settle for anything but the best, so they might want to remove the hybrid one and put a solid-state drive in. Everybody else should be happy with the improved user experience compared to hard-drive-only machines.
Graphics and screen
The screen of Dell Inspiron 17 i7746-3125SLV is large 17.3 inches, and for this price, you could expect high quality. That it seems to offer, featuring 1920×1080 resolution to please digital artists and many techies. It’s also a touch screen, which some people like, although I know many don’t care. Anyway, you now have the option to use Windows 8.1 without keyboard and mouse.
You can play many games on this laptop. Granted, it doesn’t have dedicated graphics, but the integrated Intel HD 5500 isn’t so bad if you are fine with low settings and resolution. Popular games, like Fifa 15 and Sims 4 will average ~30FPS even on higher details. Bit heavier titles like Battlefield 3/4 require low settings to reach similar frame rates.
A minor disadvantage, Dell Inspiron 17 i7746-3125SLV contains just one USB 3.0 port. The rest two are USB 2.0 which obviously offer slower transfer rates. It’s not year 2000 anymore, more USB 3.0 should be present especially for this price. At least HDMI out is available, so you’ll be able to plug in an HDTV or PC display.
Networking is golden, Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 and 802.11 A/C WiFi offering everything you need. Bluetooth 4.0 is enabled by default.
A DVD burner is installed on the laptop’s right, meaning you don’t have to get an external drive for discs. The 8-in-1 media card reader accepts virtually all kinds of memory cards, so you can upload photos from cameras without issues.
The laptop’s 1280×720 webcam can be used for video chatting on Skype and other communications software.
What else to keep in mind?
Dell Inspiron 17 i7746-3125SLV weighs 7.3 pounds, and it’s quite heavy compared to other 17.3″ notebooks. I can’t vouch for this unit if you’re looking for a laptop to travel with. However, for home or office it doesn’t matter. The 4-cell battery will probably last for four hours, no better or worse than other bulky notebooks.
Keyboard is backlit on this model, quite honestly the only option for such a premium price. On the right hand side there’s also a numeric keypad available.
Now, I could see mostly good things about Dell Inspiron 17 i7746-3125SLV. In the performance section, the new Core i5 processor, 12GB memory and hybrid hard drive should offer enough oomph even for demanding users. Also display is nice on this one, with Full HD giving plenty of screen estate to play with. Bad thing would be one USB 3.0 port, although it’s nowhere near a catastrophe. But in my opinion, for what the laptop offers the current price is not great. I’d wait a bit before buying this Dell unless you’re able to get it on a discount.