Overall, the Inspiron 15 performed quite well during our tests. The Skylake Core i5 processor coupled with a solid 8 GB of system RAM allows this PC to handle everyday tasks such as web browsing and word processing with ease. The addition of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M discrete graphics with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 means that the Inspiron 15 note only has enough muscle for casual gaming but it can also handle most popular high-end games at high detail settings in full 1080p resolution.
The only notable complaint that we have about the hardware is the comparatively slow 1 TB hard disk drive with 8 GB of cache. Sure, casual shoppers looking for a family PC often appreciate the high capacity of a 1 TB 5400 RPM hybrid drive, but serious gamers will definitely want the improved speed of a solid state drive. The slow 1 TB drive translates into slow Windows boot times, slower than expected wake from sleep, and often sluggish launching of apps.
Speaking of apps, the Dell Inspiron 15 we reviewed comes with Windows 10 Home along with typical Dell software pre-installed like Dell Help & Support, Dell Audio and Dell Shop. Additional pre-installed bloatware includes a standard offer for 20 GB of free Dropbox storage space for 1 year and a free 30-day trial for McAfee LiveSafe. While we’ve seen a few notebooks with less bloatware over the years, we’re relatively happy that customers won’t need to spend much time uninstalling superfluous apps.
The Dell Inspiron 15-7559 we reviewed had the following specs:
- Windows 10 Home
- 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display
- 6th Generation Intel Core i5-6300HQ Quad Core 2.3 GHz (6M Cache, up to 3.2 GHz)
- 8GB Single Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (8GBx1)
- 1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive with 8GB SSD Cache
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M with 4GB GDDR5
- 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0, Dual Band 2.4 & 5 GHz
- Integrated 6-Cell Battery (74 WHr)
- Weight: 5.67 lbs
- Price: $799
PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
The Powermark “Balanced” battery life test that we use at NotebookReview is more demanding than a typical battery drain test; it includes web browsing, office productivity, multimedia and gaming tasks. Our review unit of the Inspiron 15 7559 lasted 4 hours and 9 minutes. Just keep in mind that time can be extended if you’re just visiting websites and typing a term paper, or you can cut the battery life even shorter by stressing the graphics with a modern game like Fallout 4.
Heat and Noise
The Inspiron 15-7559 delivers more than adequate thermal cooling for both the processor and graphics. Dual cooling fans, two extra-wide air intake vents, and three large heat exhausts with 240 thermal fins all work together to keep the notebook (and any part of your body that touches it) cool. The center of the keyboard and the underside of the Inspiron 15 heats up moderately after benchmark testing or serious gaming, but the heat is well dispersed across the bottom and out those three heat exhaust vents on the rear edge and left corner.
The noise from the dual cooling fans was relatively minor when you consider there are two large fans spinning inside this notebook. Still, we could hear a constant “woosh” measured between 30 and 43 decibels coming from the notebook … and that background noise was clearly a combination of both the cooling fans and the spinning hard drive. Again, this notebook is just begging for a SSD instead of a traditional HDD.