Interesting, an affordable laptop with entry-level Pentium processor and a fast solid-state drive? What is such a combo? Well, it’s Dell Inspiron i3552-8040BLK, a new notebook featuring a real SSD despite its cheap price. That’s certainly an advantage, but are there some obvious drawbacks that might make getting this laptop a bad idea? We’re here to tell that to you!
The processing power of Dell Inspiron i3552-8040BLK is not excellent. The processor is nothing but Intel Pentium N3700, yes it has a quad-core setup and turbo boost up to 2.4GHz (base speed 1.6GHz), but it’s still just a Pentium. The truth is revealed in benchmark tests, this unit receiving mere ~1800 points in CPU Mark. That’s a very low score, not really suitable for more advanced software – however all the basic things like web surfing, streaming videos and writing papers/emails are not an issue for this Pentium-powered system.
The other important thing affecting performance, the memory, isn’t that high either. The laptop contains 4GB DDR3L RAM, and because there’s just one SODIMM slot on the mainboard the maximum would be 8 gigabytes. Now, I don’t say you should upgrade right away – the 4GB is good for 99% of people – but if you’re indeed a power user, having more would be a very good idea to keep things running smooth.
Storage is the strongest point of Dell Inspiron i3552-8040BLK. The specifications say it has 128GB SSD. The thing is, it’s small in size so you might need to store some of your data on cloud or external drives. But at the same time, the solid-state drive is darn fast: it’s going to open Windows and other programs in no time.
Is it suitable for gaming?
I won’t recommend Dell Inspiron i3552-8040BLK as your number one gaming machine, for the simple reason it has poor graphics performance. There’s an integrated graphics engine available, and while all of those are slow, especially this one – called Intel HD Graphics (Braswell) – is an absolute basic model. For example, very fancy titles like GTA 5 and The Witcher 3 are out of question, those would lag too much even on low settings and resolution. However, all the browser-based ones work fine, so does Counter-Strike: Go and League of Legends if you don’t need to play with maximum eye candy on.
How is the display?
User reports about the screen aren’t available, but I wouldn’t expect wonders from a budget laptop’s display. The 15.6″ screen offers 1366×768 maximum resolution and no touch support. The resolution isn’t magnificent – having two browser windows next to each other hardly work – but for everyday use it should do.
What about the ports and connections?
The usual ports are found in Dell Inspiron i3552-8040BLK, you’ll get one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 connectors for various devices. Of course, a standard HDMI-out is there as well, you can plug in a monitor or HDTV and use the laptop through that.
The notebook has no optical drive which made me to think one of the storage drives is installed in place of DVD burner. So, if you want to use discs, you’ll need to get USB-connecting, external DVD drive. But if you don’t need discs, there’s also SD card slot for transferring data between the laptop and memory cards.
By default, the only way to connect to Internet is the 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0 adapter. If you want to use cable, a cheap USB to RJ-45 dongle is your friend.
The webcam offers 1280×720 video resolution.
Something else to keep in mind?
Dell Inspiron i3552-8040BLK is not heavy for a 15.6″ laptop, it weighs 4.85 pounds (most are 5 pounds or more). Another good thing, the 4-cell 40Whr battery can removed if you’re not happy with it. I’ll think you’ll get more or less 4 hours, the “standard” duration, out of that battery.
Keyboard is not backlit, yet numpad is included on the right hand side. Operating system is the pre-loaded Windows 10 Home (64-bit).
Summing it up
Dell Inspiron i3552-8040BLK is not too powerful a laptop as far as processor or memory is concerned, but there are other things that make it a worthwhile option. The most obvious thing is the storage solution, that allows you to store large files on the computer but also put smaller files there for swift access. Gaming performance is poor and you can’t do anything about it, so don’t get this if you have a big knack for gaming. But the best thing is the low cost, you can’t really beat this price if you want a decent home laptop that also sports a full-blown SSD.