Dell Inspiron 15R Review

by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (348,518)
Editor's Rating
7.57

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 5
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.57
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Great looks
    • Durable chassis
    • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
  • Cons

    • Some options not available on all configurations

Quick Take

The Dell Inspiron 15R is a 15-inch notebook that offers great looks and excellent build quality with a low starting price of $549.


The newly designed Inspiron 15R is the latest 15.6-inch desktop-replacement notebook from Dell. Equipped with the Intel Core i3 or i5 processors and Intel GMA HD graphics, this budget-friendly system is aimed at the masses. In this review we take an in-depth look at this new system and see how it performs.

Our Dell Inspiron 15R (N7010) Specifications:

  • Intel Core i3 370M processor (2.4GHz, 3MB cache)
  • 15.6-inch 1366×768 display with LED backlighting
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • 4GB DDR3 memory
  • 500GB 5400rpm HDD
  • Intel HD integrated graphics
  • 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11n wireless, and Bluetooth
  • Intel Wi-Di (wireless display technology) and adapter
  • 6-cell Li-ion 48Wh battery
  • Dimensions: 14.8 x 10.31 x 1.25-1.34-inches
  • Weight: 5.79lbs
  • MSRP: $599 (excluding Intel Wi-Di)

Build and Design
The newly redesigned Inspiron 15R offers a much cleaner and sleeker look and feel compared to past models. Similar to the Adamo-series, the layout has a hinge-forward design with the screen positioned just slightly in front of the back edge of the chassis. This has the added benefit of moving the screen closer to the keyboard and bringing the action to you. The outside appearance of the new 15R is very stylish, with a faux-brushed metal screen cover. The look gives the appearance of metal, although with an easier to clean painted surface. This look it also shared inside the notebook, with the palmrest and keyboard trim.

Build quality is great with a strong chassis and very durable feeling plastic. Even with its large footprint, the thin chassis resist flex and doesn’t creak when you lift it up from the corners. The keyboard and palmrest both have more than adequate support, and don’t sag under strong pressure. The screen cover has moderate protection for the LCD, with only strong pressure to the back of the panel causing ripples. The screen has no problem staying put with two strong hinges that get the display into position and hold it without any wiggle.

Users looking to upgrade the RAM inside the Dell Inspiron 15R will find the process quite easy.  There is only one access panel on the bottom of the notebook. With a few Phillips head screws removed, you can add or repalce to the system memory. Unfortunately, getting access to the hard drive requires a complete disassembly of the notebook chassis.


Ports and Features

For a budget 15-inch desktop-replacement the Inspiron 15R offers plenty of inputs. We counted three USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA/USB connection, HDMI and VGA-out , audio jacks, and Ethernet. It also featured a SDHC-card reader, but an ExpressCard slot was missing.

One feature Dell offers as an option on the Inspiron 15R is Intel Wi-Di (Wireless Display) that transmits 720P resolution video through wireless HDMI over a long distance to a receiver box that attaches to your HDTV. This technology is great for enjoying movies without needing to trip over wires draped across a living room. The downside is this technology requires a 2-3 second buffer, making it impossible to use for a second monitor where you need to actively control items on the screen. Browsing the web is very difficult when your mouse cursor is trailing a couple seconds behind. For watching a movie, its not a problem since you start it up and go hands-off.

The Intel Wi-Di option adds $100 to the price of the Inspiron 15R. In theory this is a great value, although at the time of this writing Dell only offers this on the highest configuration of the 15R. Our $599 model cannot currently be configured with Wi-Di on the Dell website. Instead, the lowest priced model with Wi-Di starts at $949.


Front: Activity lights


Rear: DC-input, one USB 2.0, VGA-out, one USB 2.0


Left: One USB 2.0, audio jacks, HDMI-out


Right: SDHC-card slot , optical drive, eSATA/USB combo port, LAN, Kensington lock slot


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