It’s a very easy task to find a budget laptop, but how about finding the budget laptop, computer that is exactly what you want? Reading reviews and user reports is one way towards that goal. In this post, I’ll let you know what I think about the Dell Inspiron i3542-1669BK notebook, and whether you should be getting it or staying away…
As you can expect, Dell Inspiron i3542-1669BK is not full of powerful components. The processor is Intel Pentium 3556U, a dual-core unit with 1.7GHz clock speed and no turbo. It’s also a low-voltage model, generating less heat than its faster counterparts, however also performance is pretty low here. The trusted CPU Mark test gives this processor only ~1700 points, you can compare that to mainstream mobile Core i3s that get around 2500-3000 points these days.
The notebook’s board has one SODIMM DDR3L slot, it has 4GB memory stick installed. You can replace it with up to 8GB module if you want to. Most basic software will run fine with 4GB, it’s mostly the power users that would benefit from 8GB RAM.
For storage the notebook has a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive (SATA 3). Being a cheap notebook, the Dell does not have any extra slots or M.2 connectors. Hence, if you want a solid-state drive you must remove that hard drive first.
Would it work for gamers?
Dell Inspiron i3542-1669BK is first and foremost a home/office laptop, not a gaming computer. That’s because there is no dedicated graphics card, only integrated, Haswell-based Intel HD engine. It will run fluently only older games such as Counter-Strike: Go (medium settings, 720p, around 40FPS) and League of Legends. New titles, like GTA 5 and Battlefield 4, wouldn’t be playable here.
Don’t forget that you can’t install a dedicated graphics card here, the laptop does not have PCI-e x16 slot.
What ports and connections are available?
A minimum set of ports is included: two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 for adding a couple of peripherals. The only video output is HDMI, however sufficient for most people. For audio you’ll get one headset port.
Dell Inspiron i3542-1669BK features a DVD burner, still important for many to install software and games locally. Also the regular SD card slot is available, you can transfer photos and videos from your camera using that.
Both wireless (802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0) and wired (100Mbps RJ-45) adapter are installed.
There’s a webcam that promises 1280×720 resolution for video image.
Something else to keep in mind?
The system’s display is pretty basic one, a 15.6″ screen featuring 1366×768 resolution. A good thing for some, it supports touch, you can swipe with Windows 10 Home (64-bit) that’s pre-loaded on the hard drive. The maximum operating angle of the display is 135 degrees, hence it does not work as a tablet, just laptop.
Battery is rated at 40Whr and 4-cells, you will get around 4 hours operating time when web surfing.
Keyboard is a non-backlit one.
Let’s just say that Dell Inspiron i3542-1669BK is a good starter/general use laptop. It’s not full of fancy hardware, but for surfing the web, watching YouTube or writing papers it’s certainly enough. You can spice the laptop up with a printer, scanner or connect your digital camera easily. Gaming is limited to browser-based ones or very lightweight titles such as Minecraft. If this sounds like your cup of tea, do take a closer look at this affordable Dell!