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Dell Inspiron 1545 - Dell Inspiron 1545
As has become the fashion, the 1545 has a slightly-recessed wide-aspect touchpad and its matte textured surface is pleasant to use. Its buttons, meanwhile, though a tad noisy, are well-positioned and feature good feedback.
Thankfully, Dell hasn't done much to alter the keyboard and it's pretty much identical to the excellent one found on the Inspiron 1525. Keys have a pleasant matte surface and are shaped well. Though feedback is a little light, it's quite deep for a notebook and has a nice positive 'click' to it. Layout is also excellent, the only quirk being that the special functions (such as volume up/down, wireless on/off, etc) on the F1-F12 keys are now the default action, with the F1-F12 functions themselves being relegated to secondary status and requiring the Fn key to be pressed. This probably makes life easier for computer novices, but will doubtless cause anyone who uses F-key combinations regularly no end of frustration.
Dell's Inspiron has joined the 16:9 aspect ratio crowd, as the 1545 sports a glossy 15.6in 1,366 x 768 screen. It's a somewhat below-average display overall; though it doesn't suffer from banding or excessive backlight bleed, text isn't quite as sharp as we're used to and terrible viewing angles means its contrast performance is often pretty poor too. In terms of entertainment, however, if you can get past the reflections in a lit environment and are looking at the screen from the 'ideal' angle, it certainly does an adequate job even with dark material.
The speakers also strike a positive note. To be honest, they sound a lot better than the rubbish we encounter on most budget 15-16in notebooks. They do lack some depth and obviously bass doesn't have the kind of punch the best notebook speakers provide, but everything comes across with surprising vibrancy and without distorting at either end of the range.
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