Pros: Quad Core processor, 4 GB of RAM, very low price, sleek design, 6 hour battery life, 500 GB of storage, Windows 10 out of the box.
Cons: The RAM is not user upgradable.
Not everybody needs or wants a state of the art laptop. Some people just want a trustworthy notebook with good battery life and good performance for everyday tasks and if that comes with a low price tag then that's even better. It's with this in mind that Dell has launched its new Dell Inspiron 3000 series, a series of budget laptops aimed at "everyday users" that need a laptop for "everyday tasks".
Today we're going to talk about one of such models, the Dell Inspiron i3552-5240BLK. A stylish laptop that stands out thanks to its robust build, quality components and very affordable price point.
That said, there's really no point in procrastinating this posts so let's cut to the meat of the issue and delve right onto the Dell Inspiron i3552-5240BLK review. Are you ready?
Modern Design and standard Display
First off, let's talk about the external aspects of this laptops. All in all, the Dell Inspiron i3552-5240BLK features a modern as well as slimming design. The laptop is quite light weighing in just 4.8 pounds and it's very slim thanks to its 22 millimeter thickness factor.
We don't have a backlit keyboard but this is standard within the price range. However, we do have a full chiclet keyboard which makes ergonomics on this laptop very comfortable overall when we want to spend hours on end writing
When it comes to the display, we're looking at a standard 15.6 inch LED screen that features a rather typical HD resolution (1366 x 768) and implements truelife technology to grant us a more vivid viewing experience, ideal for watching movies.
It's a very simple yet elegant design which lends itself to be considered as an ideal student laptop. Not too flashy as to draw unwanted attention yet still attractive enough as to feel we're in front of a mid range laptop instead of an entry level model. All in all, a rare impression that Dell has become an expert at conveying.
CPU, RAM and Graphics
Moving forward towards the more less subjective spectrum of our Inspiron i3552-5240BLK review, it's time to take on the CPU. Specifically, Dell's new budget laptop drops by stores with an Intel Pentium N3700 processor.
Make no mistake, this is a good CPU for average users but it's also an entry level CPU designed to take on simple tasks that don't go beyond browsing the web, watching movies and editing documents. Spec wise, this processor features 4 cores, it's based on the popular 64 bit architecture and has a working speed of 1.6 GHz that jumps up to 2.4 GHz when needed.
All in all it's a good choice if you know you aren't going to go beyond basic computing tasks, otherwise, for more advanced capabilities we would highly recommend looking at Core i3 models which are slightly more expensive ($50-$100 more tops) but could potentially save you from being disappointed in the long run.
In the system memory department we're looking at a 4 GB DDR3L module running at 1600 MHz. This is good for basic multitasking like having several browser windows open at the same time and running a couple of programs on the back.
However, for more intensive multitasking you should really aim either for a laptop that supports an upgrade to 8 GB of RAM or straightly towards a notebook that features 8 GB of RAM. On the other hand if you're not going to use your computer for heavy duty multitasking then you should be more than ok with 4 GB.
Finally, when it comes to graphics, we've got a standard Intel HD Graphics. It's an integrated graphics that works well with streaming HD vídeos, playing games that aren't very demanding and of course surfing the web. Basically it's a graphics card for average users who aren't going to need major horsepower in that department.
Summing it up: This set of key components reveal to us that we're in front of a domestic or student laptop. It's not meant to carry out heavy tasks such as running virtual machines or rendering Full HD videos but rather for more modest tasks like editing office documents for work or class, streaming movies and skyping. All in all if this is what you're going to do with the laptop then the Dell Inspiron i3552-5240BLK presents itself as a pretty solid alternative.
Storage and battery life
Aside from the key components, something a lot of people pay special attention to when picking out a laptop is battery life and storage. In this case the i3552-5240BLK doesn't disappoint and despite being a budget laptop, it comes with a 4 cell battery that offers over 6 hours of battery life. That's a leg up from the standard 4-5 hours that this kind of budget notebooks offer and it's definitely a pro in our book.
On the storage side, while we're not impressed we're not disappointed either. The newly released Windows 10 model comes with 500 GB of hard drive storage which works at a standard speed of 5400 rpm. We didn't expect much more and honestly I believe 500 GB is more than enough for most users nowadays.
Wrapping it up with the ports
Finally, on the connectivity side of things we should note that the Inspiron i3552-5240BLK doesn't come with a DVD reader. It does however implement the rest of the elements we've come to expect from a laptop by 2016.
That is; 3 USB ports (1 USB 3.0), WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth version 4.0, SD card reader and an HDMI output. It lacks however a VGA output for those who still use this feature though honestly I personally haven't used that port in years, using the HDMI port instead.
On the operating system we'll say that it comes straight out of the box with Windows 10 64 bit, no update needed and it comes with the typical set of limited time freebies like a McAffee 30 day trial, Office 30 day trial version and so forth.
So what's the verdict?
After conducting an extensive overview on the laptop and finalizing our detailed review of the Dell Inspiron i3552-5240BLK we're left with mixed feelings. While we do love the sleek design, the hardware is obviously geared towards basic users who either don't need a lot of horsepower or will use this as a secondary laptop. For this market this laptop is perfect, especially when you take into account the price.
We also love the 6 hour battery life and for students and less demanding users I would say this is definitely the way to go. We love Dell laptops as a whole since they offer solid performance, therefore a Dell laptop is generally a quality guarantee on its own.
That said there are other more complete alternatives in the market with very little price difference. In that case if you're a high specs user we would urge you to take a look at other options. But if you want a solid experience with no muss no fuss and you know you're going to use this laptop for rather "everyday" tasks and don't want to spend more money then you have to (check the price here) then we would definitely tell you to go for it.