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If you’re after Windows 8 laptop, getting one with touchscreen might be good idea. Even though the difference between Windows 7 and 8 is not big, you must have a touch display to use the features Microsoft’s latest has to offer. Dell Inspiron i3542-5967BK, a budget notebook reviewed here, comes with touchscreen and Windows 8 pre-installed. Tempting, especially for the price, but is it worth the money?
Dell Inspiron i3542-5967BK is powered by Intel Core i3-4030U, a dual-core processor with 1.9GHz clock speed. The Intel i3s are basic processors meant for any kind of activities home or even some power users might have. Professional benchmarks give them good scores, and dub this particular model as CPU that works with most applications. One step up, the Core i5 offers lots more performance, but comes with a greater price. There is no logic in getting that if you’re everyday user with basic performance needs: Core i3 processor is all you need.
Other specs of this Dell are rather unsurprising 4GB system memory. That’s good amount to start with, and only if you notice it’s not enough, upgrade it. The laptop allows for 8GB maximum memory, so getting RAM boost is definitely possible afterwards.
There’s 500GB storage in this Dell. It’s available on 5400RPM hard drive, not the fastest one in the bunch but understandable choice for budget laptop. As I’ve said before, it’s very generous amount for you unless you keep thousands of photos or hundreds of movies on your drive. Most home users probably don’t, so assume half terabyte good storage amount to begin with.
Display & Graphics
The biggest selling point of this Dell is undoubtedly the display. It’s touchscreen, some people love it and will definitely get laptop with it. The size of this one is 15.6 inches. The maximum resolution is basic 1366×768, not Full HD, but goes for budget machine.
The Core i3 CPU has alright processing speed, but graphics performance isn’t that good. The processor contains Intel HD 4400, a chip that handles the graphics of Dell Inspiron i3542-5967BK. There is no dedicated graphics card, and as you might already know, the performance of these integrated chips is average at most. The Intel HD 4400 is slight upgrade from the dime in a dozen HD 4000 chips, but in the big picture difference is negligible. Expect games like Thief, Assassin’s Creed IV and Battlefield 4 run with barely playable 20FPS even on low settings. If you’re happy with older titles (WoW, Minecraft, Sims), you’ll get far better FPS on high settings/resolution.
Connections of Dell Inspiron i3542-5967BK are typical for low-end laptops. There are 3 USB ports of which one is USB 3.0. For external displays, there is no VGA, but HDMI output is available on the left.
Media card reader supporting SD, SDXC and SDHC formats is available on right. Next to it lies optical drive with DVD burning capabilities.
10/100Mbps Ethernet and 802.11a/b/g/n are available, so accessing Internet with wired and wireless is possible. Bluetooth is likewise supported.
Something else to keep in mind?
The computer weighs 6 pounds. I consider that average for 15.6″ notebook sporting touchscreen. It’s much heavier than lightest notebooks of 2 pounds, but having touchscreen takes its toll. Battery life would be up to 6.5 hours, better than the 4-5 hours you usually see in budget rigs.
As expected for a 15.6″ laptop, the keyboard features 10-key numeric pad on right.
720p webcam is located on the top of the screen, allowing you to have Skype video calls.
Dell Inspiron i3542-5967BK’s price point around 400 bucks combined with touchscreen capabilities make it attractive choice for many. The i3 CPU will take home users far, and its integrated graphics chip allows for some limited gaming if you’re in the mood for entertainment. The connectivity can’t be criticized, there’s everything you would require from budget laptop. The people I wouldn’t recommend this laptop to are heavy users and gamers due to obvious limitations, but for those home users looking for touchscreen laptop for cheap, this Dell Inspiron would probably be something to think about.