So you’re looking to buy a new notebook. You have some criteria, perhaps the most important being price: It can’t cost too much. You might’ve heard about Dell Inspiron i3541-600BLK, a budget laptop with 15 inches display and dual-core AMD processor. You might’ve also been pondering if that computer would be worth your hard-earned money. This is where we, the Tech For Pennies review team, enter the stage and tell you our honest opinion about this Dell’s suitability for you!
The main points
Perhaps the single most important component in laptop is the processor. In this Dell, that is called AMD E1-6010. It runs on two cores and features just 1.35GHz clock speed. In benchmarks it does poorly, with the more popular Core i3 processors being way ahead of it. This translates to problems with power users who might want to use their laptop for heavier workloads, like image editing and programming. That being said, a home user who just browses the web and sends emails doesn’t necessarily need faster CPU than this AMD is.
RAM amount is solid 4GB. It maxes out at 8GB, but there’s just one memory slot all in all and obviously it’s already taken. That is a small problem if you want to add more memory, because you have to remove the existing chip. However, unless you’re planning to upgrade the RAM, this is not a concern of yours.
For storage, Dell Inspiron i3541-600BLK offers 500GB hard drive. It’s just fine for a budget laptop, although the basic 5400RPM speed combined with the sluggish AMD processor means the computer won’t feel too fast in use. That is one of the things you must accept if you’re after a budget laptop.
Screen & Graphics
The non-touchscreen display is 15.6 inches big with resolution of 1366×768. Don’t be fooled by the ads saying it’s HD – it certainly is High Definition but in no way a Full HD. These lower resolutions work alright, but the icons on the screen will be larger like on desktop displays from the 2000’s. Again, something a budget notebook buyer must accept.
Gaming will hardly happen on this Dell. Thanks to the Radeon R2 chip having similar performance as the infamous Intel HD Graphics chips, your only playing choices are pretty much older games like CS: GO, World of Warcraft and Minecraft. Newer games, especially those high on graphics, will have frame rates below 20.
Dell Inspiron i3541-600BLK sports both 10/100Mbps Ethernet and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n adapters. Bluetooth 4.0 is also supported, so getting access to networks should be effortless on this notebook.
For USB, there are in total 3 ports of which one is USB 3.0. That amount is often seen in budget Inspirons, and somebody with lots of (USB) equipment would have to prioritize the only USB 3.0 for the most important peripheral.
An external monitor, like HDTV, can be used through the HDMI output located on left side. No VGA output is available.
The system has an optical drive. It occupies the right side and burns and reads to both CDs and DVDs. Media card reader is likewise installed, although it supports only the SD format memory cards.
Webcam featuring 1280×720 resolution is available on top of the screen.
What else to keep in mind?
The laptop weighs 6 pounds, which is a bit over average for 15.6″ notebook I’d say. It’s not too much, but for ultimate portability a 15 incher is obviously not the best choice.
Average battery life is 6.5 hours. That’s good amount for a cheap laptop, although you might probably want to subtract an hour or so because the listed amount was measured in environments most favorable for the manufacturer.
Wrapping it up
To me, Dell Inspiron i3541-600BLK looks like just another affordable laptop. It doesn’t excel at anything, although it doesn’t suck at anything either save hardcore gaming. People have been commenting they use it for very basic computing which I can totally believe looking at the budget components. As such, getting this Dell for lightweight use at home would probably work fine.