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Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition

Ardjuna Seghers



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Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition
  • Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition
  • Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition
  • Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition
  • Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition
  • Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition
  • Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition


Key Features

  • Aluminium frame with textured black plastic
  • 17in 1,920 x 1,080 matt TN screen
  • Dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT650M graphics
  • Tray-loading DVD/Blu-ray drive
  • Manufacturer: Dell
  • Review Price: to be confirmed

Like most other large laptop manufacturers, Dell has several families of laptop to suit your budget. The XPS range dominates the high-end, with top-end models like the XPS 13 costing near £1,000, while those with a little less to spend may wish to look at the Inspiron range, from which we most recently looked at the Inspiron 15R. However, usually moving down to an Inspiron also meant you had to take a step down in specs – but what if you want the power without paying extra for a super-premium chassis? If that’s you, Dell has the answer with its Inspiron Special Editions, and here we’re checking out the Inspiron 17R Special Edition.

Specs & Design

What makes it so special? How about a Full HD/1080p screen paired with gaming-worthy Nvidia GeForce 650M graphics, along with up to 8GB of RAM supporting the Ivy Bridge Core i7 on the machine we got to play with. And then there are other details like an anodised aluminium frame with semi-soft textured black plastic panels and no fewer than four USB 3.0 ports…

While it’s not a patch on the quite frankly gorgeous new XPS laptops, the Inspiron 17R Special Edition still manages to convey a little class with its mixture of aluminium and black plastics. Most of the plastic panels feature a soft, textured coating with a visible honeycomb pattern that’s quite attractive, offset by glossy sections in areas where fingerprints won’t be an issue. In fact, if it weren’t for the gaps between some of these panels on closer inspection, we’d peg this Inspiron as quite premium in its own right. Build quality is also decent, though again it pales compared to the XPS range.

Connectivity & Usability

The Inspiron 17R Special Edition offers good connectivity by any measure, but especially for a mid-range machine. On the left you’ll find VGA and HDMI for video, twin USB 3.0 ports, plus headphone and microphone jacks. The right houses another two USB 3.0 ports to either side of the tray-loading optical drive (which can be upgraded to a Blu-ray reader) and a Gigabit Ethernet jack.

The chiclet keyboard eschews the backlighting of more premium laptop models but features well-spaced keys with plenty of travel and good feedback. Our only complaint is that there’s noticeable flex, though here your mileage may vary.

The touchpad is reasonably large and offers a pleasant matt surface. It sports physical buttons which, like the keyboard keys, have a crisp click.


It might not be an IPS panel, but the 17in 1,920 x 1,080 TN Dell has used is quite impressive. Unlike the glossy-screened Inspiron 15R Special Edition, the 17R uses a matt screen finish which prevents annoying reflections. Viewing angles are decent, especially horizontally. Colours are bright and dark detailing is good, with only one shade indistinguishable. Overall, it makes for a great entertainment and work experience.

While we’ll have to reserve final judgement until we can submit it to our tests and benchmarks, Dell’s Inspiron 17R Special Edition certainly seems to provide all the ingredients for a power user or gamer who might not be able to afford an XPS or Alienware chassis. Keep an eye out for our definitive review soon.


June 6, 2012, 1:50 pm

Is the i7 quad core? and running at useful speed? Not the 1.6ghz(!!!!) you see in the ultrabooks.

I have a vostro 1710 and it has a 1920 x 1200 (17 inch) screen with a 2.4ghz dual core cpu and its still a usable desktop replacement. The large screen makes its possible to have multiple apps open and use visual studio on a 'laptop'.

This could be a (near) perfect replacement. Shame the screen's 1920 x 1080 not the more developer friendly rez of 1920 x 1200.


June 6, 2012, 4:13 pm

Is there any chance of a "Previews" section on the site's front page? For those of us who get confused when we click on a link listed under "Reviews" expecting a definitive review and score, only to find a product preview with a 'watch this space for the review' - there seem to be a lot of these lately! :)

Maybe it's because I'm lazy and if I see anything less than an 8/10 at the top I don't see a point in reading further ;) But would seem to make sense to keep reviews and previews separate.


June 7, 2012, 6:06 pm



June 7, 2012, 8:12 pm

Thanks for your feedback @gdawg304.
Yep, quite a lot of previews atm as all the manufacturers have new laptop ranges out but samples haven't been sent yet. Don't worry, we'll be updating with full reviews as soon as we get them.

As to keeping the two (reviews/previews) separate, unfortunately that's not something we can do with the site the way it is at the moment, but it's definitely something we're considering in the future, so please bear with us.

P.S. We would still consider a 7 a good/decent score, so it may well be worth reading the review to see if the reason we're downgrading it affects you :)


July 12, 2012, 11:23 am

has anyone tried diablo3 on this beast?


September 24, 2012, 1:47 am

Hi. I want to ask about screen finish on this laptop. Is it definitely matte or glossy? I phoned Dell UK to buy it and they told me it has glossy screen and that stopped me from buying it. I checked several different websites with reviews and everywhere it says matte screen. Dell USA say it has matte screen if it says Anti Glare and on Polish Dell website it clearly says matte screen. Did you test some special version of this laptop? Please help. Regards


September 27, 2012, 3:40 pm

Hi Lukasz,

Thanks for your comment.
I have contacted Dell about your inquiry, and apparently the model with matt screen which we previewed is not currently available in the UK market in that configuration...

Will let you know more details in the full review coming soon.


January 16, 2013, 1:31 am

No, but I'm sure that it can handle it on medium, if not high settings.

Joel Kobitz

May 31, 2013, 10:57 am

Yes, the i7 in the Special Edition is a physical quad core. I have seen in multiple reviews though that it also has 4 virtual cores which means that windows recognizes it as having 8 cores instead of only 4. It can also turbo boost to a whopping 3.4 GHz, which is more than enough to surpass any desktop built from 2010 or earlier, (Such as my HP 2010 Model which runs with a Pentium processor at 2.4) It is more than enough to sustain web browsing or sustainable gaming.


August 29, 2013, 3:51 am

This laptop doesn't have Gigabit ethernet, the wireless adapter is Wireless G and N 2.4 GHZ only. :(


February 24, 2014, 2:51 am

To be honest, it runs a majority of games that range from 2009 to 2011. After those years it can't run anything else. Tried to run Black Ops 2 early last year (2013) and I could barely play it on High settings. Can't even run Battlefield 3 on this PC.

If you are a true gamer who likes to stay up to date with games that come out the anticipated years, do not choose your Gaming PC to be a Laptop, just make some room to wherever your room is or even have a computer room and fit the Desktop in there. Better to spend over 1500 dollars rather than spend 1000 dollars for something that can't even run 2012 and '11 games.

Sources on this PC include personal usage on behalf of my usage on the PC.

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