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Dell Inspiron 1520 - Dell Inspiron 1520

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Happily, it isn't all doom and gloom for the Inspiron. As one might expect for a company with a strong foothold in the PC LCD market, the screen on this Inspiron is very impressive. It has a glossy finish which boosts contrast levels, producing pleasing black levels for excellent video viewing. Though this model has a 1,440 x 900 resolution screen, you can also opt for a lower resolution 1,280 x 800 panel or a more expensive 1,680 x 1,050 panel – an option I'd be sorely tempted by.

Another particularly impressive feature of the notebook is the keyboard, which is both nicely arranged and lovely to type on thanks to some crisp and responsive keys. There is very little by way of compromise to be found, with the Page Up/Down, Home and End keys arranged down the right hand side, with a slight gap between these and the Return key to avoid any tedious accidental presses.

In addition Dell bundles a very smart looking Bluetooth headset, which features a convenient fold away design and is charged via mini-USB to USB cable. Pairing the headset is relatively simple and on the right hand cup there are control buttons, allowing you to adjust volume, skip tracks and Play/Pause. Audio quality isn't too bad either with some decent bass production, though things can get a little muddy in the mid-range. All in all though they're quite a nice sweetener to the package, and will doubtless please the great majority who aren't too concerned with audio fidelity.

Still, a pair of headphones doesn't go too far to remedying the fact that the new Inspiron doesn't represent great value. As noted earlier, our review sample sports a somewhat unbalanced specification, but even configuring different options doesn't do much to improve the value of the range. If, for example, you spec something as near as possible to that of Acer's Aspire 5920 you'll be paying around £150 more, and that's without Turbo Memory, HDMI, S/PDIF or Dolby Home Theatre. To be fair to Dell this isn't a straight comparison since its systems are built to the buyers spec, but the Acer is the competition and that competition is fierce.

For me the ace up Dell's sleeve is without a doubt its display options, which are far more varied than those of its competitors. Were one, for example, to take this system and remove the HSDPA but upgrade both the CPU to a Core 2 Duo T7300 and display to a 1,680 x 1,050 panel, you'll still pay slightly less, at around £1,085, and gain greater performance and superior desktop real estate. Obviously options for a Blu-ray drive may also be attractive, though with the format wars still in full swing it would take a brave person to invest in it just yet.

Paul Tasker

July 19, 2008, 5:09 am

At the price you reviewed it at I agree there's plenty of more desirable competition.

However I bought mine in January for 𧽁.99 inc VAT which made it a bit of a bargain.

I've got a graphics card capable of playing all the latest games in medium to high detail (8600m GT), a large hard drive, DVD RW, 2GB memory and a speedy core 2 duo processor.

It makes a great desktop replacement. I decided I'd like something portable I could use everywhere rather than have to go up to my room and boot up the desktop. Compared to a desktop the graphics performance is poorer but so long as you drop the detail a bit its fine! On a small screen (15.4 inches) you don't need such high resolutions.

Runs cool too and has been reliable. The only problem I've had has been the hard drive. Avoid samsung if you get the choice. It beeped and clicked loudly and smart values got worse. I've converted that into an external backup device and have purchased a western digital scorpio 320GB. Makes it quicker still

Brian 13

September 8, 2009, 10:02 am


I bought a wonderful Dell Inspiron 1520 in July, 2007, and I really love it. Even today this laptop is the best performing laptop I have ever had. It is fast, the display is extremely bright, clear, and sharp. The build quality is exceptional, and the performance of my 1520 is second to none. My 1520 is tweaked out with features. The connection, Bluetooth, built-in webcam and mic, are all also exceptional and perform extravagantly. I recommend this laptop to anyone. With the right configurations, which is what I have, this laptop can be used for anything, from basic computing to advanced pc work to gaming. it is also an extremely fast machine. Thanks for reading!!

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