Dell Inspiron 15R Review
- Switchable screen lids
- Face detection support
- Useful proprietary software
- Free online backup for a year
- Good features and performance
- No Gigabit Ethernet - only 100Mbit LAN
- Entry-level processor
- No VGA out port
The Dell Inspiron 15R laptops with switchable lids start at around Rs. 35,000. At that price, the Inspiron 15R is a very good buy as a day-to-day laptop.
The new Dell Inspiron 15R (N5110) is the company’s attempt to reinvigorate its value-for-money consumer laptop offering. The new 15-inch Inspiron 15R sports the latest Sandy Bridge Intel Core i3-2310M processor and Nvidia GeForce GT 525M graphics with Optimus automatic graphics switching feature. The notebook also introduces a couple of new features to Dell’s Inspiron line, but does it still offer great value for customers? We try and explore...
Dell Inspiron 15R: Look and Feel
The Dell Inspiron 15R (N5110) isn’t drastically different looking in terms of design compared to the previous generation of Dell Inspiron 15R. The laptop has a similar protruding hinge on its back like the Dell Vostro V13 and Vostro V130 laptops. The previous Inspiron 14R and 15R laptops sported a glossy screen lid, but where the new Inspiron 15R differs is it allows you to change its screen lid with a variety of options Dell sells on its website. As a rule, Dell provides an extra glossy screen lid with every new Dell Inspiron 15R you purchase. We recommend buying a non-dark colour as dark colours with glossy surfaces attract a lot of fingerprint smudges. When it comes to switching the lids, the process is extremely easy and the lids fit and align onto the screen’s back panel elegantly.
The new Dell Inspiron 15R (N5110) sports a shiny black surface on its screen bezel, while the palmrest and the strip above the keyboard have slightly muted gloss on them -- they still shine though. The keyboard deck has a shiny metal-like strip which adds a nice touch to the Dell Inspiron 15R’s otherwise monotonous look. The laptop’s build quality is fine, given the fact that the Inspiron is Dell’s value-for-money laptop segment -- the twin hinges on the spine secures the screen with the rest of the chassis pretty well. The Inspiron 15R weighs about 2.4-kg with a standard 6-cell battery, which is good for a 15-inch laptop, but don’t have high hopes of carrying this to college or on your travels every now and then as it’s frame is bulky.
Dell Inspiron 15R: Screen
The laptop comes with a 15.6-inch glossy WLED widescreen display with a 1366x768 pixel resolution. Just like any other glossy screen laptop out there, the Dell Inspiron 15R’s screen reflects objects behind you -- especially light sources -- when its screen is black. Bright visuals diffuses the reflection a bit but you still have to train yourself to ignore the distraction. But glossy screens is pretty much the industry norm now, not an isolated exception on the Dell Inspiron 15R.
The laptop’s screen is quite bright and evenly lit. Colors are washed out though, they don’t seem optimally saturated. The Dell Inspiron 15R’s viewing angles are ordinary, with noticeable colour shift when you watch an image from three different positions in front of the screen. But watching movies and videos is a good experience due to the screen’s glossy layer -- gaming too, for that matter, at native resolution. Reading text is comfortable. The Inspiron 15R comes with a webcam with face-recognition support and it’s alright for video chatting.
Dell Inspiron 15R: Keyboard and Touchpad
Dell has completely replaced the Inspiron 15R’s keyboard. Gone are the previous closely-packed keys, instead you now find isolated, chiclet-styled keys on the laptop’s keyboard. The chiclet key’s touch on the Inspiron 15R is different from that on the Sony VAIO S, and it isn’t as great as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1's keyboard, but it’s good to use nonetheless. All the prominent and frequently-used keys are nice and big and work well, while the dedicated number pad on the right is a life-saver for someone who’s used to entering numbers in a spreadsheet -- nothing is out of place in the Dell Inspiron 15R’s keyboard layout, as well. Keyboard response and feedback is good overall and it has a good amount of shortcut buttons -- Wi-Fi toggle, turn of touchpad, multimedia buttons, etc.
The Dell Inspiron 15R’s touchpad is nice and wide -- it sits slightly shallower than the rest of the palmrest. It’s smooth surface feels good on touch and the touchpad is quite sensitive, requiring only soft impacts for manipulating things on screen. The touchpad’s multi-gesture enabled, allowing you to pinch to zoom, pan, scroll through pages and images. The Inspiron 15R’s two accompanying mouse buttons are alright and work well.
Click next to read more about the Dell Inspiron 15R, its hardware, features, performance, and our verdict...
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