Ah, a budget laptop, one of the most sough-after items on earth. Everybody these days needs a mobile computer (be it a notebook, tablet or phone) and often you don’t want to pay much for your unit, either. Well, let me introduce you to one cheaper laptop, Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK, and tell if it’s really a great choice or something to stay away from…
Is it good for everyday computing?
You might’ve noticed Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK is quite an inexpensive model, and doubts arise whether it runs programs without slowing down. Well, for your daily dose of web surfing, cute cat videos and writing papers, this laptop is all you need. The main component, the quad-core Intel Pentium N3700 processor, comes with a low 1.6GHz clock speed which is however upped to 2.4GHz with the turbo boost. The CPU Mark (a popular benchmark) score is ~1900, rather low, but indeed sufficient for the aforementioned uses.
The storage drive is magnificent for the price; you’re getting a real solid-state drive here – although quite a small one, just with 128GB capacity. It will considerably speed up the computer compared to older drives, and you should experience snappy loading of programs and Windows itself. It’s hooked to a SATA 3 port, no extra slots are available, so if you want to add a new drive you’ll need the remove this SSD first.
Memory is not wonderful but will get a casual user going. The laptop sports one 4GB DDR3L (= low voltage) RAM stick. The motherboard has just one memory slot in total, so the most RAM this machine should take is 8GB.
How about gaming?
The gaming aspect of Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK is limited to very lightweight titles such as browser games, Steam (Counter-Strike: Go etc.) and League of Legends. Those all run smooth, even with some eye candy turned on. But heavier games will struggle because the graphics engine is an integrated (= slow) Intel HD chip, and the low-end processor isn’t exactly helping, either. So games with fancy graphics, such as Metal Gear Solid 5, Far Cry 4 or GTA 5 will not run here – or they will, but FPS is going to be too choppy to call it playable.
What ports does it have?
As you could expect from a budget laptop, the selection of ports is pretty basic. Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK includes all in all three USB connectors, just one is USB 3.0 while two other are slower USB 2.0. The obligatory video output is HDMI, you can plug in most kind of monitors – including HD televisions – to that.
The laptop can be connected to Internet with the WiFi card (802.11n standard + Bluetooth 4.0). For some reason they didn’t include Ethernet RJ-45 port, so if you want to use cable for Internet access, you need to get USB to RJ-45 adapter first.
This model comes with a tray-load DVD burner. Size is the usual 9.5mm, it’s connected to a basic SATA 1 port.
One SD card slot is available, meaning that you can upload pictures from various smaller devices like digital cameras.
The webcam operates at 1280×720 video resolution and can be used to chat with your buddies or film stuff for YouTube.
Other useful information for you
Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK has a standard size screen, the 15.6 inches. Resolution is unsurprisingly 1366×768, understandable for this price. It’s not a touch-supported display. The screen will rotate to a maximum 135 degrees. Viewing angles are 160 degrees, not as great as with more expensive IPS panels.
There’s a removable 4-cell 40Whr battery in the bottom. It’s going to last for ca. four hours if you’re web surfing, less if watching videos.
The keyboard doesn’t have backlight feature.
Operating system is Windows 10 Home (64-bit).
Summing it up
The value Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK offers is actually very good. The system costs peanuts but boasts a solid-state drive: very rare for this price. Of course, the processor and RAM aren’t the fastest here, but this combination will get you through a day of web browsing, video streaming and office work. Just don’t expect this thing to plow through demanding apps like video editors and virtual environments – oh, and new graphics-heavy games too – and you’re good to go. Definitely recommended for basic home and office use!