For performance testing the 1525 was put through our usual suite of tests, including: PCMark 05 and Vantage, our in-house Photoshop Elements and Virtual Dub tests and Mobile Mark 2007. Overall results were very encouraging, with the Inspiron 1525 putting in an excellent performance. Its faster hard drive meant it edged our test machines in some of our tests, though the XPS M1530 obviously won where any graphics intensive tasks were concerned.
Most interesting, though, were the battery life tests - or rather ‘test' since Mobile Mark 2007 continues to drive an otherwise sane journalist round the bend. Running the Productivity test using the Balanced profile and default brightness level, the Inspiron 1525 managed four hours and 10 minutes. This, with a six-cell 56WHr battery, was very impressive; so impressive we felt compelled to run the test again, but found no discernable difference. Subjective use provided further evidence of its longevity, being able to watch a two hour long film with no problems, while the machine ran cool and quiet throughout.
This solid performance and outstanding battery life sealed the deal as far as the Inspiron 1525 was concerned. For the price it looks and feels great to use, while the feature set is comprehensive. Are there any real faults? As mentioned before the USB ports are a little crowded, while the ‘Street' design of our system isn't the best, but there's loads of choice available and a USB hub could solve any port issues. One other niggle would be the speakers, which are average at best, but at this price it's a fault we could easily forgive.
Overall, the Inspiron 1525 is a wonderfully balanced entry level system, offering something for almost everyone - the only exception being gamers. Superb battery life and decent display options are married to a great selection of features, making this one of the best options in the value 15.4in sector.