Dell Inspiron i3451-1001BLK Review

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February 10, 2015
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Dell Inspiron i3451-1001BLK is a new laptop manufactured by the electronics giant stationed in Round Rock, Texas. Probably its most interesting features is the low price so comparing it to a Chromebook might make sense. The laptop is powered by a low key Celeron processor and little amount of RAM, so huge performance can’t be expected anyway. But could this notebook be useful to somebody? We’ll try to find answer to that below…

Performance

Intel Celeron N2840 is the processor of this Dell. That CPU is usually seen on entry level laptops due to its low price and performance. It has two cores and a clock speed up to 2.58GHz with burst frequency. The N8240 reaches around 1000 points in CPU Mark benchmark, while mid-range Core i3s get ~3000 points. As such, Celerons can’t be recommended for heavyweight use, but for web surfing and browser gaming they work fine.

The laptop has 2GB DDR3L memory available. That’s not much to begin with, since the operating system Windows 8.1 (64-bit) would run smoother with 4 gigabytes of RAM. According to specifications, there’s one memory slot on the mainboard supporting a 4GB chip, so doubling the RAM from the current two gigabytes is possible.

Compared to Chromebooks, Dell Inspiron i3451-1001BLK has much more storage. There’s a half terabyte 5400RPM hard drive that can host tens of thousands of small files. The speed is of course worse than with Chromebooks’ quick solid-state drives. But for somebody who appreciates storage space, a good old hard drive is a preferred pick.

Display and graphics

The screen of Dell Inspiron i3451-1001BLK is 14 inches big, a little smaller than the typical 15.6″. It has 1366×768 resolution which works alright for this size. The screen is probably not a high quality one, but should suffice for everyday computing. The small size also contributes to better portability.

Intel HD (Bay Trail) graphics engine works best for very lightweight games. It’s a 2013 release and the worst performing member of the Intel HD family. The famous Minecraft should have ~30 FPS on low settings, but most 2014-2015 action titles would drop below 20 frames which makes them rather unplayable.

Connections

Dell Inspiron i3451-1001BLK enjoys (or suffers from?) the same connectivity than other budget laptops. There are one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0s ready to serve your peripherals. Likewise, HDMI output is also available, good if you want a HDTV to work with the laptop.

Networking is wireless-only, with a 802.11 b/g/n WiFi adapter that supports Bluetooth 4.0.

Some merchants say this model has a DVD drive, but that’s not true. If you take a look at the product images you can’t see any optical drive on the sides. On top of that, there’s no mention of a DVD drive in the official Dell manual. So you’d have to use an external optical drive if it was discs you wanted to work with. Or you can use the SD media card reader if you prefer memory cards.

Despite of being a no-frills notebook, there’s a webcam and microphone installed. The camera has 0.92MP still image support and for videos works with 1280×720 resolution.

Some other things to keep in mind?

Thanks to some missing features and small screen size, Dell Inspiron i3451-1001BLK can be a good pick for people on the go: it weighs just 4.19 pounds (according to official specifications) while many full-featured 15.6″ laptops are 5 pounds and more. The battery is a 4-cell 40 WHr one and should allow for 3-4 hours running time when browsing the web.

The keyboard is pretty basic, with no backlight or numeric keypad on the right hand side. The missing 10-key pad can also be a good thing, since the actual keyboard and trackpad are not pushed to left on this model.

Summary

Dell Inspiron i3451-1001BLK could be a good option for somebody who’s looking for a basic laptop on a shoestring budget. The Dell does its job for web browsing, text editing and some video streaming fine, and allows connecting the peripherals (HDTV, USB gadgets etc.) without effort. However, don’t mistake it as a power laptop because it certainly isn’t one: Celeron and 2GB RAM will only take you so far. Doubling the RAM will help with performance a bit. Other good sides include Bluetooth 4.0 support and low weight for portability. If it’s a simple notebook you want, by getting this Dell you wont certainly spend too much money.


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