Pros: 8 hour battery life, 4 GB of upgradable RAM, stylish design, cheap price point.
Cons: Aimed at "light" users.
There are two types of people: those who need a DVD reader and those who don't. More and more we're witnessing how the latter is becoming more and more popular and therefore manufacturers are creating entry level laptops especially geared towards that segment of the population. Today's case is just that, an entry level laptop with an affordable price and no DVD tray, but it's also a whole lot more.
Without further ado we give you our review of the Dell Inspiron i3552-4041BLK, which is essentially the exact same model as the 4042BLK we reviewed earlier sans the DVD reader. Now that we've got that cleared up, let's jump right to it.
Dell Inspiron i3552-4041BLK Review of a cheap entry level laptop
Clear cut design and a standard display
We're gonna kick things off over here by taking on the design, one of the laptops most prominent features. It's not that we're looking at a premium level design but we gotta admit that Dell did a pretty good job over here. The Dell Inspiron i3552-4041BLK is sleek with roughly one inch of thickness and it's quite light with approximately 4.7 pounds.
We really love how light it looks and feels and though it's body is built on plastic that's not really something that we're going to hold against this model. The keyboard is not backlit, as expected, but it's spacious with a good separation between keys that allows for a comfortable experience when typing away in the middle of the night.
The display, as our headline points out, is just your standard screen with a 15.6 inch diagonal, an image aspect ratio of 16:9 and a WLED-Backlit technology over an HD resolution. That is to say that we're looking at a mostly standard display since this is what you'll find on most of the market's offerings nowadays.
How about the performance and multitasking capabilities?
The performance on the Dell Inspiron i3552-4041BLK is speared by an Intel Celeron N3050 processor. Technically speaking, this is a 64 bit processor that works with 2 cores at a speed of 1.6 GHz and goes up to 2.16 GHz when the system demands it. Let me be blunt over here; this is not a very powerful processor.
Depending on your needs this processor may be up to your standards or be a complete disappointment. If you're looking for a laptop to google stuff, store pictures, watch cat videos and edit documents then you won't be disappointed since it's more than apt for that kind of activities.
However, more demanding tasks like editing video with high definition, for instance, will be a more arduous endeavour.
As far as RAM is concerned, we're not bad off, the Inspiron i3552-4041BLK features 4 GB of DDR3L SDRAM at 1600 MHz but - and this is a big BUT - it's worth noting that RAM may be upgraded at any given time to 8 GB.
In all honesty, if you're a heavy multitasker of simple tasks - the kind that this CPU can handle - then the RAM upgrade will be welcome. However, we do encourage you to try out the laptop first to see if the RAM increase is actually necessary in your day to day usage.
Is gaming even a remote possibility?
I'm not gonna sugarcoat it over here: no, there will be no gaming on this laptop. It sports an Intel HD graphics card which can handle stuff like SIMS 4 at a moderately decent frame rate at low settings but anything beyond that will just set you up to be utterly disappointed.
How many movies can I store? What's battery life like?
Regarding storage, the Dell Inspiron i3552-4041BLK comes with what's standard within entry level models today; 500 GB of hard drive working at a speed of 5400 rpm. If you're a big movie guy - or gal - who likes storing all their favourite movies then you should know that with around 40 GB already taken over by the system, that gives you a free space of 460 GB which in turn allows you to store around 600 HD movies. This is assuming that your movies occupy a standard 750 MB.
While this laptop doesn't feature very prominent key components we will point out that it's battery life is quite exceptional. Specifically, with a 4 cell battery the 4041BLK model offers up to 8 hours of battery life in accordance to the company's data. However, as we all know that company's are prone to "inflate" these numbers, we would argue that a good 6-7 hour battery life under normal usage seems to be the more "accurate" number.
Anything else worth knowing?
Finally, as we reach the end point of this review, it's time to recap some extra stuff worth mentioning. To the point we'll tell you that this laptop comes with 3 USB ports (two of them USB 2.0), an HDMI outlet, an ethernet port for a faster data connection, an SD card reader as well as Bluetooth 4.0 and your run of the mill 802.11 b/g/n WiFi connection.
We would also like to give a shout out to the HD webcam, MaxAudio speakers as well as the OS which, for this current model is Windows 10 in its 64 bit variant.
As we stated when we did the review of the 4042BLK model, on this review of the Dell Inspiron i3552-4041BLK we will say the same thing; this laptop is aimed at students and users looking to do some basic computing. Is it worth buying? That's going to depend entirely on your needs and your budget. If you can go the extra mile and push your budget a bit we would recommend you looking at the Asus F555LA-AB31.
On the flip side, if your computing needs are limited to surfing the web, Skype with friends, editing docs and watching videos then this laptop will suit you just fine. You can check for this model's availability over here.