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Dell Inspiron 1764 - 17.3in Laptop - Design, Audiovisual & Inputs

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


We feel compelled to praise Dell's uncomplicated design. It's been a facet of all their recent products and the 1764 is no different. We like the option of a coloured lid too, though the choice between pink and blue in addition to the standard black seems a little limited. If we're going to pay £30 extra for it, some greater variety doesn't seem an unreasonable demand.

All the same, whatever lid you choose, inside the machine exudes stylish simplicity. We love the silver palm-rest segment, which creates the illusion of brushed metal despite actually being plastic, and it sits very nicely alongside the matte black keyboard and glossy black screen bezel.

It helps that, despite being a considerable 420mm wide, the 1764 is actually quite thin - just 28mm at its thickest and as little as 20.5mm at the slightly tapered front edge. This is aided by the slim lid, which is made possible by the now ubiquitous LED backlighting that lights the display.

The display itself does suffer from quite narrow viewing angles - a common problem among laptops - but on the plus side it's very bright and sharp. It also delivers nice, rich colours and a good sense of contrast in videos. It still struggles to bring out finer shadow detail, but for general use it can't be fairly faulted. Its 1,600 x 900 pixel resolution, while not great for Full HD content, offers decent desktop real-estate.

It'll certainly do for both entertainment and productivity, but the speakers - "enhanced" by SRS technology - aren't much to listen to. It doesn't help that they're housed beneath the front edge of the machine, but nonetheless they're the usual, slightly tinny speakers we find on so many laptops. They do reach decent volumes, however, so are good enough for online video and similar.

We were similarly underwhelmed by the keyboard. In some respects it's quite good. Its layout is fine and there's a numeric keypad, which is always a useful addition on a large laptop. Unfortunately, while accurate enough, the key actions feel light and cheap, lacking the defined snap we'd like and exhibiting a slightly annoying rattle. It's still perfectly usable, but it could and ought to be a bit better.

We had no such issues with the touchpad. Though it lacks the now fashionable multi-touch support, it works fine and is well-proportioned. Its two buttons give good feedback.

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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.


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.


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.


March 27, 2010, 6:43 pm


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.


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.


March 27, 2010, 11:01 pm


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


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.


March 28, 2010, 9:12 pm


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.


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.


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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