Dell Inspiron i5558-8574SLV is one of the new notebooks featuring Windows 10. I’ve seen reports saying that Microsoft’s latest is like Windows 7, easy to use with trackpad and keyboard, unlike the attempt to confuse people with touch features of Windows 8. Under the hood, the Dell sports a nice i7-5550U processor, 16GB RAM and a huge (but slow) 1024GB hard drive. Let’s see what this notebook is made of, and if you might find it an useful toy to play with…
What programs can it run?
Be it a basic web browser, Office programs like Word/Excel or more advanced stuff such as Adobe Photoshop, Dell Inspiron i5558-8574SLV should handle the task without hiccups. It contains the Core i7-5500U, an upper mid-range, dual-core processor with 2.4GHz clock speed and up to 3.0GHz turbo boost. It’s tad faster than low-voltage i5s, reaching around 4000 CPU Mark points (with i5s getting around 3500). The i7-5500U is about as fast as an energy efficient processor can get, and another positive thing is minimum heat build up – you should be able to use this laptop without issues in bed or on your lap.
The notebook has a plenty of RAM. At 16GB (DDR3L 1600MHz), I’d call that even a bit of an overkill. Many casual users would be fine with 4GB, power users perhaps with 8GB, and there is only a handful of people that would need 16GB. At least you won’t run out of memory, yet don’t think it will make the laptop fly, because there is one possible bottleneck component here…
And that is the storage drive. See, Dell Inspiron i5558-8574SLV features a 1000GB 5400RPM (SATA 6 Gbps) hard drive. It offers a lot of space for your data, yes, but in 2015 where a lot of files are stored in cloud or other online services, the local storage size might not matter so much. Indeed, one might find a smaller but faster drive more suitable for his needs. That would be a solid-state drive which the current drive is sadly not. You won’t experience blazing fast program load times with this mechanical drive, however if you’ve never used a faster SSD before you wouldn’t be able to tell this, obviously. Also, you can always buy a solid-state drive separately and install it inside if you’re tech-savvy enough.
Are there any games it can play?
Dell Inspiron i5558-8574SLV is able to play a great selection of games, but in exchange you will need to keep details and resolution quite low. The integrated Intel HD 5500 graphics engine can’t keep full eye candy with many titles, for example GTA 5 will get 20-25FPS on 720p and medium settings. Trying to play that on high and 1080p would yield only less than 10 frames per second. The laptop is however good for older games, types like Counter-Strike: Go, Minecraft and League of Legends are no challenge for it, no matter what settings you use.
Anything special about the display?
I don’t think there’s much to be said about the 15.6″ display. It sports 1920×1080 resolution, just like a screen in this price category should. Touch is supported, although the new Windows 10 is supposed to work fine without one. Refresh rate is the usual 60hz. The display won’t rotate more than 135 degrees, so you can not use this laptop as 2-in-1 device (tablet mode).
What peripherals can I connect?
Just like the majority of 15 inch laptops, also Dell Inspiron i5558-8574SLV comes with three USB ports. But unfortunately only one is USB 3.0 – this price suggests that two or even all three would be USB 3. In addition, there’s also HDMI output if you prefer to use the notebook with a PC display.
The laptop features a tray-load DVD burner, so you don’t need an external drive for your disc reading/writing efforts. SD card slot is there too, you can insert a memory card from your camera and upload photos that way.
Accessing Internet shouldn’t be problematic, you can utilize either the RJ-45 port (10/100Mbps) or excellent dual-band AC WiFi. Bluetooth 4.0 works as well.
Do you like Skyping, and especially video chats? No problem, you can attend those, the laptop comes with a front-facing 1280×720 webcam.
Anything else to keep in mind?
Dell Inspiron i5558-8574SLV weighs 5.27 pounds, about the same than other 15 inch models. The laptop features a 40Whr 4-cell battery, I guess it lasts at least 4 hours. The battery is a removable type so you can easily replace it in case of malfunction.
There’s a backlit keyboard in this unit, a feature often seen in these pricier notebook models. 10-key pad is available, too.
Dell Inspiron i5558-8574SLV is one of the faster computers, there are powerful things like i7 CPU and 16GB RAM speeding things up big time. They can take any program you attempt to run, although the system is lacking a dedicated graphics card, hence playing games with full eye candy is unlikely. Another thing to ponder is the hard drive, it’s huge in size but swapping it for a quicker one might be a good idea. Appropriate for this price, the screen is Full HD, so enjoyable movie nights should be possible here. Also other premium features like backlit keyboard and AC WiFi are present. In short, if you know you indeed require i7 and a lot of RAM and can accept the mechanical hard drive, this Dell should offer acceptable value for heavy-duty use.