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Dell Inspiron 15R - Usability, Screen and Speakers

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

Dell’s keyboards have been a bit hit and miss recently, and its Inspiron 15R treads somewhere in the middle of the road. Good points include a logical layout with well-spaced keys, though there are no secondary functions on the cursor keys, as we've come to expect. Individual keys offer a comfortable shape and surface, and adequate travel with a nice click. However, the positive effect is somewhat ruined by cheap-feeling rattle and flex throughout.

Despite this, we would reckon the typing experience is superior to that found on the company’s high-end Dell XPS 15z, and about on par with the XPS 15. We wish Dell would pay more attention to making its keyboard usable rather than messing around with them for aesthetic reasons - usability really is one of the prime factors for any portable device.

We’re loving how the touchpad is seamlessly (literally) integrated into its surround. To differentiate it is slightly recessed and features a change in texture to a smooth matt finish that feels lovely on the finger. It’s large enough for effortless multi-touch gestures, doesn’t interfere with typing, and is very sensitive. Its buttons are likewise huge, easy to press and offer a nice amount of travel, making for excellent pointer navigation.

Similar to the XPS 15z, the Inspiron 15R’s speakers manage impressive levels of detail with plenty of clarity at the high end. However, distortion increases along with volume and bass lacks the punch you’ll find from some rivals. Even so, for a budget laptop this is a reasonably impressive showing.

Unlike their XPS cousins the Inspirons don’t offer a Full HD screen option, so you’re stuck with 1,366 x 758 pixels. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, and it’s the standard resolution for 15.6in laptop screens everywhere. In addition, the TN-based display here is actually quite good.

Contrast is decent with only the two darkest shades on our greyscale remaining indistinguishable, aided by even backlighting with minimal light bleed. Colours are punchy, thanks in part to the screen’s glossy finish (which obviously has the downside of being reflective but this is the norm at this level). Last but certainly not least, viewing angles are unusually good for a cheap TN screen, with only some contrast shift spoiling the party.

nanite2000

October 12, 2011, 3:59 am

I'm looking to buy a replacement PC right now, and this looks like a contender. How would it fair playing recent games like Deus Ex HR and Rage on a full HD monitor? Could it cope, or is it likely to overheat (as my HP laptop currently does)?

MikeJK

October 12, 2011, 4:39 pm

No chance with a full hd monitor. High end FPS games will look like a slide show. You would probably get medium'ish details at its default res with n AA etc though.

TechVegan

October 12, 2011, 6:56 pm

Like MikeJK said, you'd have little hope of running demanding games at 1920 x 1080 (it won't overheat, it simply won't cope) - though if you're willing to compromise on resolution and detail some recent titles should still be perfectly playable.

A far better bet for gaming in a portable system would be the £750 version of the http://www.trustedreviews.com/medion-erazer-x6813-md97762_Laptop_review.

deep

January 4, 2013, 6:57 am

i want 25 laptops my budget is around 25000 per lappy... suggest me a good deal...ASAP
thnx in adv...

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