Dell Inspiron I3558-5501BLK Laptop Review

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November 29, 2016
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Buying an inexpensive notebook doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a bad product. Surely these cheaper models don’t have top-notch performance or components, but they should suffice as a home notebook without a doubt. Enter Dell Inspiron I3558-5501BLK, an inexpensive, basic level laptop. Below is my detailed take on it.

Is it fast enough for me?

Microsoft Office, Google Chrome browser, YouTube. If those are the programs/applications you mostly use, then Dell Inspiron I3558-5501BLK is suitable for you. Its processor, the Intel Core i5-5200U, is a late 2014 model yet still a noteworthy pick for your general-use laptop. There are two cores in it and the clock speed is 2.2GHz. However, turbo boost propels it up to 2.7GHz. Benchmark bearing the name CPU Mark gives it ~3500 points, much more than starter level Pentiums and Celerons.

The 8GB (DDR3L 1600MHz) memory won’t be a bad choice, either. It’s very sufficient for the aforementioned programs. On the motherboard resides two SODIMM slots, meaning that upgrading to 16GB RAM is possible. However that is unnecessary for most, going above 8GB is rarely a required move.

Not a surprise, but laptop in this price category doesn’t offer thrilling storage solution. Just a hard drive, a 1TB 5400RPM one attached to SATA 3 interface. The insides provides no space or slots for extra drives so if you want to upgrade, you need to remove the old one first.

Can I use this for gaming?

Surely some games run on Dell Inspiron I3558-5501BLK, but don’t ever think it’s a full blown player’s machine. You see, the graphics engine is just Intel HD 5500, a tiny chip with rather weak “muscles”. Older titles such as League of Legends, Minecraft or even World of Warcraft won’t be an issue for this rig. However, the so-called Triple-A games will hardly run, GTA 5 having FPS around 25 and The Witcher 3 even less. Counter-Strike: Go being a popular yet less-demanding game will run good even on high presets.

Ports and connections

You might think a cheap notebook offers poor connectivity but that isn’t exactly true. Dell Inspiron I3558-5501BLK covers the basics, such as two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port for your favorite devices. Furthermore, if you don’t enjoy the laptop’s screen, you can enhance the computer by connecting a PC display or HDTV to its HDMI output.

This model allows for burning of CDs and DVDs, an optical drive is installed. You can also use memory cards with this model since it has SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot. For example digital cameras save their photos on those memory cards.

The networking options are two, just the ones you need: a 100Mbps Ethernet circuit with RJ-45 port (connection with cable) and 802.11ac wireless card with Bluetooth support.

What other relevant things does the notebook have?

Dell Inspiron I3558-5501BLK sports a cookie-cutter 15.6″ display, offering 1366×768 resolution. It responds to touch, and viewing angles are around 160 degrees. Refresh rate is the usual 60hz and the maximum operating angle 135 degrees (meaning it does not turn into tablet). A 720p webcam is installed on top.

This laptop draws power from the 4-cell battery, you should expect it to last around 4 hours once it’s charged.

There’s no backlight on the keyboard, it’s understandable given the affordable price.

Final thoughts

Should you want a decent laptop for lightweight use, Dell Inspiron I3558-5501BLK is not a bad pick at all. It runs the videos, excel sheets and multi-tab browsing without problems and offers a huge (if a bit slow) storage drive for your many files. You can create DVDs with this unit and connect to Internet via the fast wireless adapter. Surely there’s nothing fancy in it, but if “normal” is enough for you, do check this Dell out!


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