Pros: 128GB of SSD storage, Windows 10, 8 Hour battery life, lightweight, very affordable.
Cons: Not suitable for gaming.
One of our main complaints when looking at mid range laptops is that most of them feature a hard drive instead of an SSD. There's a reason for this; SSD's are still relatively expensive. Sometimes we would find an affordable laptop with 32 GB of SSD storage but that just wasn't enough for us.
That's why today we're really excited to talk to you guys about a new Dell entry level laptop - with an entry level price- that sports 128 GB of SSD storage. Have we spiked your interest? Then strap on for our in depth review of the Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK.
What do buyers like and dislike about this laptop? Find out here!
Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK Review of an entry level laptop with 128GB of SSD
Lightweight Design and standard screen
One of the first things that impresses us about the Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK is it's sleek and lightweight design. Of course it doesn't compare to the build quality we've seen on MacBooks or some more refined Ultrabooks but it does make a good impression by feeling incredibly lightweight and sleek with less than 5 pounds and under an inch of thickness.
All in all, the notebook is comfortable on the touch though it's clear that its body is built from plastic and not metal alloys. The keyboard, as expected, is a fully fledged chiclet style keyboard with a dedicated numeric pad and an ample trackpad. It's worth noting that this is not a backlit keyboard, though at this price range that's the norm.
Moving on to the screen, the Inspiron i3552-8043BLK boasts a standardized 15.6 inch LED-backlit display with a resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels. Again, Dell didn't really push it when it comes to the overall construction of this notebook centering most of its efforts on the overall ergonomics of the device, made lighter thanks to the absence of a hard drive.
Let's talk CPU and Multitasking
As we said upfront, this laptop is an entry level gadget with an added bonus which is the SSD storage. That said, its "entry level status" really shows when we take a look under the hood. Specifically, the i3552-8043BLK houses an Intel Pentium N3700 processor. This is Intel's last generation entry level CPU's and it's a good model for basic computing.
Moving onto specifics, the N3700 works on two cores, clocks in at 1.6 GHz and can reach a maximum processing speed of 2.4 GHz when performing more demanding tasks. It's also worth noting that it has 2 MB of cache.
Honestly, this CPU isn't the fastest in the market as you might expect. It's about 20% slower than an i3 and in terms of power it's designed mainly towards tasks such as web surfing, editing docs, watching movies and so on. Anything that goes beyond that such as running a virtual machine or rendering video won't really perform well and you'd be much better suited with an i3 or even an i5 laptop.
When it comes to the System Memory we've got 4 GB of DDR3L SDRAM. Again, this is good for basic multitasking but as the processor implies this is not a laptop you use to do your heavy lifting and that also applies for multitasking. This means that you can run 2-3 programs at a time but anything more could lead to an overworked machine.
The SSD makes all the difference and Impressive battery life
Now that we've covered our basics it's also important to note that this laptop is incredibly smooth and quick to boot up and boot down. As long as you're doing tasks that aren't very demanding this laptop will be fast and efficient, mostly due to the presence of a 128 GB Solid State Drive (SSD).
I should note that the system takes about 20 GB of storage space right off the bat so you've got a little over 100 GB of free space, for some people who mostly have their stuff on the cloud that's fine but others may require an external hard drive which you can get at a very reasonable price right now.
The battery life is also very impressive and another big selling point when this laptop is aimed at mobile users since its 4 cell battery can provide you with up to 8 hours of continuous battery life. In a market where most laptops die out after they hit the 4 hour mark that's pretty impressive, more so when you take into account the pricing.
Can it play games?
Considering that the i3552-8043BLK is equipped with an integrated Intel HD graphics card the short answer would be; no, it can't play games. This is by no means a notebook designed for gaming.
What may I plug in?
Finally, we can't really call this a review of the Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK if we don't at least give an honourable mention to the connectivity options available. In this regard we've got a single USB 3.0 port, a couple of standard USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI entry, SD card reader and you're standard ethernet port.
We should mention that this particular variant of the 15 3000 series comes with a DVD tray but there's also an identical model without the DVD tray that is generally cheaper; the Inspiron i3552-8040BLK
It's also important to note that the i3552-8043BLK comes with Bluetooth 4.0 support as well as WiFi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity.
Some final thoughts...
In the end, after reviewing the Dell Inspiron i3552-8043BLK we've gotta say that in general we're pretty contempt with it. Sure an i3 processor would've made it significantly more powerful but that would be at the expense of an increase in the price.
As a laptop aimed at students or people who need to work on the go, the i3552-8043BLK is an excellent companion. It's light, sleek, affordable, quick to boot up and boot down and has enough horsepower to perform our everyday tasks, all with the added benefit of an SSD over a much slower hard drive. In the end it's a pretty good choice for the less demanding and more budget conscious users.