Dell Inspiron 15R
Price: $649 online (special) Contact: Dell Phone: 1800 812 393
One of the cheapest mainstream notebooks with decent performance going around, we originally tested the Inspiron 15R from Dell last month with the price sitting at $799.
Since then, Dell has dropped the price to $699 and now is on special at $649. Not only that, it has also kicked up some of the components to higher grade, speed or capacity.
At this price, the processor is now Intel’s first-generation Core i3 380M. Clocking in at 2.53GHz, this dual-core chip is another step up from the 2.4GHz Core i3 370M chip being offered in February.
The unit features a 15.6-inch LCD panel with 1366×768-pixel resolution and instead of the 500GB Seagate ST9500420AS SATA2 hard drive we originally saw, Dell is now offering a 640GB model. Throw in the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium and there’s some pretty decent value here. You also get DVD burner and a swag of peripheral extras including HDMI output, 802.11n wireless and three USB2.0 ports.
The unit also features 4GB of DDR3-1333 RAM, and thanks to that 64-bit OS, you’ll get full use of that memory too.
The battery here is a six-cell Lithium-ion type. That said, the Inspiron 15R delivers only average battery life at around 2hr15mins with full screen brightness, permanently on and “balanced” power management. And as Dell ramps up the CPU changes, the battery life will also likely drop back slightly as a result.
What’s missing is 3D gaming of any real note. The graphics option here is just Intel’s HD integrated graphics, which is enough to push Unreal Tournament 2003 demo to 40fps at 640×480-pixel resolution. Good enough for occasional low-level gaming but not much more. However, for general application speed, this will be one of the better value notebooks going around at the moment and will have no trouble playing back 1080p H.264 video.
PC User says: Decent all-round value from this budget performer.