Dell’s Inspiron range has always been the go-to notebook whenever you’re looking for something cheap, but reliable. The series has always managed to offer a great balance of features and performance without costing a bomb which is why it's so popular. The Inspiron line up gets its annual dose of upgrades and every year we see a refreshed design with new internals depending on what Intel has to offer. At the start of 2011, we reviewed Dell’s new Inspiron 15R notebook, which featured a funkier design (huge upgrade from the old drab one) and new innards at an attractive price.
USB 3.0 ports offer good future proofing
The ports have also been shufled around a bit. The right side now has the DVD burner, headphone and microphone jack and a USB 3.0 port, a first in the Inspiron series. The rear has another USB 3.0 port along with LAN jack, charging port and a VGA port. On the left, we have a multi-card reader, a USB 2.0 port and an ESATA/USB port, which can also charge any USB device when the notebook is off. There’s nothing on the front other than the status lights.The build quality very good. Although, it’s primarily plastic, I didn’t find any creaking parts, or too much screen flex.
The screen has a glossy finish to it which makes the picture pop a little, but also introduces reflections. The area around the keyboard has a matte finish and there’s plenty of space around the palm rest for the largest of hands. Dell has included a chiclet keyboard which makes typing very comfortable even for long durations. The keys are sized well and have sufficient spacing around them. They also have a better response than the older Inspiron 15R and the flex issue is slightly reduced. The trackpad is very large giving you ample room to work with.
Large screen is perfect for movies
The 15.6-inch screen gives you plenty of real estate to work with, although we wish the resolution would have been a little higher than 1366x768. It also features Intel’s WiDi (Wireless Display) technology which allows you to mirror your screen on a compatible HDTV. Along with this you get the regular software suite from Dell like PC Restore, DellSafe, Dell Webcam Central, McAfee Antivirus (trial), etc pre-installed.
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