If I had to pick a laptop series that is most often featured on online tech stores, it would probably Dell Inspiron. One thing that attributes to their popularity must be the price point. Expensive ones exist, but mostly these Dells cater to the needs of a budget laptop hunter. One example of an affordable notebook of theirs is Dell Inspiron i5545-2500sLV, sporting a quad-core processor and 8 gigabytes system memory. Below we’ll tell you whether the laptop is actually solid choice or something to avoid…
The core of this Inspiron consists of AMD A10-7300 APU. It’s indeed an accelerated processing unit, meaning there’s also a graphics engine besides the regular processor. It has four cores and clock speed of 1.9GHz, with turbo feature overclocking it up to 3.2GHz. It’s also an ULV, an ultra low voltage processor, which should attribute to longer battery life. Sometimes these power efficient processors are poor performers, but professional benchmarks indicate this AMD reaches almost similar levels than the slowest Core i5 CPUs. As such, it’s safe to assume this processor won’t become the bottleneck even on heavier use.
Also RAM is plenty. The laptop features 8GB system memory, which is double from what you usually see in notebooks. It’s not upgradeable, but most likely you wouldn’t have to do that anyway.
Characteristics of the hard drive are big but slow. It has 1000GB storage, certainly enough for a budget laptop, an amount that’s usually seen in desktop computers. The speed of 5400RPM will not however gather any extra points, but if you’ve been using older laptop for now chances are it also sports similar drive, so you’ll see no chance in the speed for better or worse.
The non-touch screen of Dell Inspiron i5545-2500sLV could be described as a cookie-cutter one. Its size is 15.6 inches with 1366×768 resolution. That is fine for basic use, but the resolution would be too low for professionals, especially if they edit images or videos.
While the graphics performance is nothing compared to true gaming laptops, even most modern titles are playable on this rig at least on low settings. The graphics chip is AMD Radeon R6, rather fast for an integrated one, whose performance sits somewhere between popular Intel HD Graphics 4400 and 4600 models. In case you’re only into older games like Diablo 3, upping the settings to medium or even high should be possible.
Often times you see more USB 2.0 ports than USB 3.0s in budget notebooks. However, in Dell Inspiron i5545-2500sLV it’s the other way around. It features one USB 2.0 on the left and two USB 3.0s on the right. Next to the USB 3.0 ports there’s also a HDMI output, which allows connection to a device supporting HDMI-in (like a HDTV).
The laptop has 10/100Mbps Ethernet port and 802.11 b/g/n wireless for Internet access. The WiFi card also supports Bluetooth 4.0.
On the left hand side, there’s a media card reader which reads from and writes to SD, SD 3.0, SDHC, MS and MS Pro cards.
What else to consider?
One possible drawback of Dell Inspiron i5545-2500sLV is the lack of an optical drive. By default, it doesn’t read or write to CDs and DVDs. If you want to obtain that, you should resort to external, USB-connecting optical drive.
There is a webcam in this laptop. The resolution for still image is 0.92 megapixels and for video 1280×720.
The Inpiron’s weight is listed as 4.81 pounds on the manufacturer’s page. I’d consider that an average weight for a laptop of this size. The battery life is not listed in the manual, but on some other sources it’s said to be around 7 hours.
The operating system of this notebook is unsurprisingly Windows 8.1, the 64-bit edition. It should also include access for Microsoft Office and McAfee anti-virus programs, but only for 30 days.
Dell Inspiron i5545-2500sLV operates faster than rock-bottom laptops of 200 dollars. It is, naturally, priced accordingly. For around 500 bucks you’ll receive (almost) Core i5 level performance coupled with a solid amount of memory. What you won’t receive is an optical drive and a touchscreen for Windows 8. As such, this laptop is far from perfect, but with limited budget some compromises have to be made. If you’re fine with that, and want more power than the very cheapest laptops can offer, you won’t probably go wrong with this Inspiron.