Dell Inspiron i3542-3333BK Review

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September 28, 2014
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Dell Inspiron i3542-3333BK was released last May in the budget laptop market. Its main features include Core i3 processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and half a gigabyte hard drive. Looking at those specs (and the favorable price), one might think this Dell is not good pick for most demanding users. The integrated graphics card doesn’t necessarily make the notebook any better in the eyes of true gamers. But surely there are some good to be said about this Dell? Yeah, a lot…

The core

The processor is Intel Core i3-4030U, a Q2 2014 release mid-range CPU. It runs on two cores and has clock speed of 1.9GHz. According to the stats over at cpubenchmark.net, it runs rather fast. In case you don’t demand too much of oomph from your rig, the i3 CPU won’t be the bottleneck.

Another thing to consider is the system memory. While ridiculous amounts of 16GB and more can be regularly seen on many notebooks these days, the 4GB this Dell Inspiron i3542-3333BK has is probably enough for you. That’s assuming you’re not gamer or other kind of power user. However, as a remedy, you can expand the RAM to 8GB in case you feel you require the extra.

The hard drive storage is 500GB. You got lots of space unless you (illegally, tsk tsk) download lots of movies and other big files. The hard drive however is not SSD but a traditional HDD running on 5400rpm. Thus, don’t expect lightning speed from this Dell. You’re probably OK with that though.

Graphics

Monitor-wise, this Dell has got a bright 15.6″ screen. Bear in mind it’s not a touchscreen so there’s obviously no use for touch features of tge pre-installed Windows 8. The screen quality should however be decent, and the regular 1366×768 resolution suffices for most. Then again, if you’re “in the know”, you might want a laptop with nice 1080p resolution. With all that said, home users can do very well with the lower resolution as well.

Speaking about graphics, Dell Inspiron i3542-3333BK sports Intel HD Graphics system. That is synonym for insufficient if you’re a serious gamer. There are extensive tests over Notebook Check for this particular graphics card. Lots of the newer games would indeed have problems with this Dell, thanks mainly to the graphics card. However, if you’re gaming sessions mainly consist of lesser-graphics games such as Sims 3 or Fifa 13, you are good to go.

Other things

Weight of this laptop is 6 pounds. Considering it also has a 15.6″ monitor and cheap price tag, the weight is justified in my opinion. The battery life is sweet 6.5 hours which is more than average for laptops at this price point. That’s definitely good news for travelers and other unfortunate souls without access to a power socket.

In case you wonder about the connectivity, I got good news for you. Dell Inspiron i3542-3333BK comes with a HDMI port. In another words, you can connect it to a HDTV. There’s no direct VGA port provided but a converter for the HDMI port can be used. In addition, number of USB 2.0 ports is 2. There’s also one faster USB 3.0 port included.

About other small things I can think off, this Dell doesn’t have backlit keyboard. Somebody using laptop a lot in the dark might dislike it. In my opinion though it’s not a dealbreaker – not many laptops in this category have one. In addition, you’ll find Ethernet port included for extra connectivity to Internet. A basic webcam with microphone is also there for Skype sessions and such.

Conclusion

Dell Inspiron i3542-3333BK is another example of laptop that’s aimed for home users not requiring too much extra power. The laptop does it job of running basic programs flawlessly, and even some games, provided you keep the eye candy at minimum and skip the most 3D heavy titles. Taking this notebook with you shouldn’t be too much of a hassle thanks to the 6 pound weight, and the 6.5 hours average battery life really rules if you don’t have wall plug nearby. As a power user, I’d certainly pick something else (mainly due to basic resolution of 1366×768), but if you don’t know what that means, you have nothing to worry about in my opinion. Go for this Dell if it’s affordable laptop for home or small home office you’re looking for.


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