If you go to your local computer store (or E-commerce site) looking for budget laptops, you’re bound to stumble upon Dell Inspirons. Not that all of them can be categorized as cheap, most still sport the bargain price tag many are so eager to find. Dell Inspiron i3541-2001BLK is one example of those wallet-friendly notebooks you might locate in your favorite computer shops. Without further ado, let me tell if you can get quality laptop for mere 300 bucks!
There’s no familiar Intel inside this Dell. Rather, the processor is AMD A6-6310, a quad-core CPU with 2.4GHz clock speed (turbo boost). The performance is comparable to many Core i3 processors which means also power users would probably be happy with it (not to mention everyday home users). The main culprit is of course the graphics chip that is no good if gaming is your main hobby on computers.
The system features 4GB RAM, a healthy amount that is suitable for almost anyone even today. More can be installed if you want, just keep in mind there’s just one RAM slot so you’d have to replace the existing chip with bigger one to upgrade. The maximum supported memory is 8GB.
For storage, Dell Inspiron i3541-2001BLK offers 500GB space. That comes on 5400RPM hard drive, which is slightly slower compared to 7200RPM ones and lots slower than current solid-state drives. However, if you are not used to SSDs, you’ll see no difference in the speed. On the bright side, the size of 500GB is rather plenty for laptop, and can house tens of thousands of music files or images from your vacation.
Display & Graphics
There is nothing special about the screen of this Dell. It’s typical 15.6″ non-touch display. It’s not a disappointing resolution, but for power users 1366×768 might be too low. However, if you’re just looking for simple laptop to perform everyday tasks with, you’re good to go with this cookie cutter resolution. You probably have the same resolution on your old laptop, and it’s perfectly fine for home use. It will also play Full HD movies although downscaled versions that will fit to this screen and resolution.
The processor itself might be quick, but same can’t really be said about its graphics chip. It’s called AMD Radeon R4 and can be compared to slower models in the popular Intel HD Graphics series. It wouldn’t be wise decision to play modern games with full settings on this rig. That being said, if you’re keen on lightweight games like Sims 3, you can probably get over 20 FPS on around medium settings.
The laptop has in total 3 USB ports. One of those is USB 3.0. As expected, also HDMI out (but no VGA or DVI) is available if you want to use the Dell through external display.
Connectivity is handled well, there’s a WiFi card with Bluetooth 4.0 support installed. Also regular RJ45 port is available if you want to connect to Internet with wire.
Like most 15 inchers, also this Dell has optical drive which burns and reads CDs and DVDs. Memory card reader is likewise available, with support to SD format cards.
While it’s not mentioned in the description, Dell Inspiron i3541-2001BLK comes with microphone and front-facing webcam.
What else to keep in mind?
Weight of this laptop is 6 pounds, slightly over what I’d consider average weight for 15.6″ notebook. However, battery life is solid 6.5 hours which beats many competitors whose battery lasts mere 4 hours.
The non-backlit keyboard contains numeric pad on right. Consider this as plus if you require frequent access to number keys.
The operating system is Windows 8.1 (64-bit). There’s also other software installed, such as Microsoft Office and antivirus program 30-day trials.
Like somebody commented, Dell Inspiron i3541-2001BLK is durable and consistent laptop. I must agree with this: there is nothing very good or bad about this notebook, it should do its job well. Hardcore gaming is of course something you can’t do on it, but that stands true for any budget laptop. Its performance for everyday tasks, long battery life and good networking options make me recommend this Dell for home/office users and students alike.