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Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop review

Andy Vandervell

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Reviewed:

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Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop
  • Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop

Summary

Our Score:

8

Dell's Inspiron brand has been around for ages and has seen plenty of transformations in its time. These days it represents Dell's entry-level, value range, which is why its netbooks go by the title Inspiron Mini. At the opposite end of this spectrum is the Dell Inspiron 1764 (aka Dell Inspiron 17). With a massive 17.3in display and weighing 3.2kg it is about as far as you can get from a netbook without turning into a full-blown desktop.

As is increasingly the case now, the Inspiron 1764 comes equipped with processors from Intel's new Core ix range. In this instance it's a Core i5-430M, a dual-core processor that defaults to 2.26GHz but can be 'turbo clocked' to 2.53GHz where the need arises. This is effectively the mid-range option on the 1764, since you can also get a Core i3-330M, if you're willing to sacrifice raw performance to save money, or a slightly faster Core i5. In our test system the CPU is backed up by 4GB of DDR3 RAM, Intel's GMA HD graphics and a 320GB hard drive.

Being Dell there are various configurations available. Our review model would cost you £577.98 and sits somewhere in the middle of the price-range, but this does include the extra £29 for the 'Promise Pink' lid. Without that optional extra (as standard the lid is black) it would cost £548.98, while the most basic spec will set you back just £449.

We won't go through all the potential permutations here, but it's worth pointing out that you can get discrete graphics (from a choice of two ATI cards) and up to a 500GB hard drive. These options, however, are only available as broadly defined upgrade packages - you can't tailor the machine to your exacting requirements like the company's more expensive models.

Most models, including the version sold by PC World and other e-tailers, feature Wireless-G Wi-Fi. N Wi-Fi is only available on the most expensive base-spec, as is Bluetooth and a Blu-ray drive. Not that you'd really want the latter given the only display option is the standard 1,600 x 900 resolution, LED backlit effort. It's a good resolution for normal users after a large, readable display, but it's not ideal for Full HD video content.

Connectivity covers all the basics, but not a lot else. There are four USB ports, a couple of audio jacks (1x headphone, 1x microphone), a multi-format card reader, VGA and HDMI for video and a Gigabit Ethernet port, but no eSATA a no standby powered USB ports. We'd have at least liked the latter, particularly as competing models from Samsung have them.

Hans Gruber

March 27, 2010, 3:03 pm

Did you mean permutations, Andy? Permeations, from permeate means to flow or spread out through something.





Looks like a decent large display laptop but, should a given component fail (such as the hard drive say), will it be easy to replace without going through Dell? Could I fix an SSD or HDD for example, that I've sourced elsewhere on the net? Cheers.

Ed

March 27, 2010, 3:25 pm

@red: Thanks, fixed.





I haven't seen the laptop myself but I'd be very surprised if there wasn't access panels for quickly changing the hard drive and memory as these are found on most laptops.

Hans Gruber

March 27, 2010, 3:41 pm

Hi Ed, no worries.





Yeah the review mentioned quick access panels for swapping out hardware but, and I am not very well informed on this at all, with Dell, do you have to use hardware supplied directly from them for reasons of compatibility (meaning they do something to their laptops' bios/whatnot so the system won't accept any other hardware other than that Dell sell direct)?





I know it's a muddled question, it's just I tried to help a friend replace a faulty DVD drive on his (very old) Dell laptop and even the technicians at PC World couldn't fit a suitable replacement from their own stock of laptop optical drives, since the laptop was having none of it (and this not being down to lack of physical access). I can assume Dell had some special BIOS or other, preventing non Dell sanctioned (and sold) parts, it's always been this question of upgradability that has put me off Dell's systems. Thanks.

Ed

March 27, 2010, 3:49 pm

Well, the optical drive is a different matter. These aren't generally an easy thing to change. Certainly, though, there are no BIOS tweaks or such that will limit your options. My Dell 13z, for instance, has a third party hard drive and memory.

Hans Gruber

March 27, 2010, 4:14 pm

Cheers Ed, that's good to know. I feel safer going for Dell now. Ta.

GherkingTR

March 27, 2010, 6:43 pm

@red


Someone in my family has the Inspiron 1750, and it has easy access to the hard drive and RAM. Not sure how major the chassis changes are between that and this one.

PoisonJam

March 27, 2010, 7:40 pm

I hope build quality in the long term has improved a lot on the Inspiron line! I get the older Inspirons in for repair all the time with loose keys, broken hinges, cracked screen bezels etc. To be fair to them though, they were a very popular line of laptops so you would expect to see more for repair since there is more out there.





I'd personally go for one of Dell's Studio laptops every time though. I think the slight premium is well justified over the Inspirons.

hankb6d

March 27, 2010, 11:01 pm

@poisonjam





ALL the things you mention are lack of care nothing wrong at all with inspirons.

Ed

March 27, 2010, 11:10 pm

@hank: Yes and no. While most such damage is from misuse, it doesn't necessarily mean the person was out and out negligent. For instance, you can easily crack the screen or hinge by opening it from one side and not the middle - easily done when in a rush. PoisonJam is also quite right to point out that the Studio line are better built.

hankb6d

March 28, 2010, 9:12 pm

@Ed


Opinion, dropped mine 15 ft onto a hard car park below whilst using it one summer it survived intact when most laptops would easily fall to bits. I am not suggesting this as a test but PoisonJam gave the impression the build quality was a shambles. Mine must have been a toughbook it appears, no loose keys, no cracked bezels, no broken hinges.

Murray Brown

July 17, 2010, 3:16 pm

Does anyone make laptops these days with reflective screens?

craig clackett

October 26, 2010, 9:33 pm

I will not trust dell products I purchased a dell inspiron laptop 2 yrs ago for my eldest daughter, it has only been used about 20 times as I ended up letting her have my old note book as I upgraded and have just recently given it to the next one down but the battery is getting very hot.


I phoned up dell as it is still covered but they looked into it and have said the battery is at the end of its life cycle because the bios says so. After only being used about 20 times I dissagree, they say I need to buy a new one between £60 to £100 odd pounds because its not covered under the service.


I say Rubbish and in my opinion its a fire hazzard and unreliable, I will never trust Dell again and never purchase from them again.


BE WARNED

Geoff Richards

October 27, 2010, 11:50 am

@craig - if you install this free utility it will give you all kinds of useful information about your laptop: http://www.cpuid.com/softwares...





Temperatures are in there, as well as the "wear level" reported by the battery. To give you an idea, I have used my Dell Inspiron 13z almost every day for the past year. It remains plugged in most of the time, but I have also run on battery-only and run it down dozens of times. My "wear rate" is 24% of brand-new capacity, meaning the battery will now hold three quarters of what it used to (which might cut a 4 hour battery life to 3 hours, for example).





This phenomenon is quite normal for modern Lithium-Ion rechargable batteries.





However, I do find your situation puzzling. If the laptop has basically sat in a drawer for 2 years, and genuinely only been charged 20 times, I don't see how the battery could possibly require replacing.





Post your test results below and see if they match Dell's claim.

rewihendrix

November 10, 2010, 1:35 am

Hey i'm looking at a 1764 for a good price with the i5.





Is it possible to add a graphics card after buying? presumably if there's the upgrade option, it's also possible to do it yourself?

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