Dell Inspiron i3531-1200BK 15.6-Inch Laptop (Intel Celeron Processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB Hard Drive)
The Inspiron 15 is the most economical member of the family, offering a great combination of portability and plenty of screen real estate along with a 10-key numeric keypad next to the keyboard.Features
Designed for easy travelThe Inspiron 15 starts at about 1" thin, so it slips easily into a travel bag for when you’re on the move. Its textured lid and palm rest help you get a grip on things.
Multitask on a budget
With quick, efficient Intel Celeron proc
- Intel Celeron N2830 Processor
- 4 GB DDR3
- 500 GB Hard Drive
- 15.6-Inch Screen, Intel HD Graphics
- Windows 8.1
Here are the pros as I see them:
-The price, the price, the price
-The weight is much lighter than my I7 high end laptop
-Battery lasts 5-7.5 hours depending on use, many Windows laptops in this price range only last 3 hours so this is a huge advantage.
-The battery is user replaceable, which you can't take for granted anymore in a laptop. Press two buttons and it pops right out!
-Many laptops recently make it very hard to get access to the RAM and Harddrive for upgrades. Several dells require you to completely disassemble the entire laptop to get to the hard drive including removing the screen, motherboard, track pad etc. Which is a huge pet peave of mine. This laptop has an access panel on the bottom to access the RAM and HD which is great!
-A large 15.6 inch screen for a great price
-This CPU doesn't run hot at all and has decent performance for the price.
-It runs so cool it doesn't even have a fan at all!
-Keyboard has a number pad, many don't in this price range.
-Keyboard feels nice and doesn't feel too cheap, we will see with time though how it holds up.
-Trackpad works good, buttons are loud when clicked though.
-Nice to have a Windows laptop for this price, I like chromebooks but I can't connect to my at home Samba server from a chromebook so I gravitate to Windows.
-There are the obvious ones like no USB 3, no Bluetooth, no wired ethernet, no CD/DVD Drive. But in this price range I'm ok with that. I have an external USB CD/DVD that I used to install Office on it so that wasn't an issue for me.
-Windows 8.1, is better than 8.0 but if you have never used it before there is a learning curve for sure compared to Windows 7/Vista
-Not blazing fast but you can't expect that from any pc in this price range.
-Case feels cheap, it creaks and groans when I pick it up by a corner.
-The quality of the video is pretty low, but once again it is usable for watching youtube, netflix videos, etc. Just is less sharp than my high end laptop and can be a tad laggy occasionally.
Would I recommend this??? Depends on your needs. If you are on a tight budget and are a light PC user who wants to use it just for basic web surfing, Word Processing, and light youtube/netflix watching this will work fine for most people
If you are a high end, heavy user, I'd only use this as a backup laptop. I would not be happy with this as my primary laptop personally since I'm a very heavy user.
If you are a gamer, you of course know enough to not even look at this laptop as an option.
Upgrade possibilities: If you know what you are doing upgrading the hard drive to an SSD will help it feel more useable. Also, I have not done so yet, but my understanding is that you can upgrade this to 8GB of ram which could help too. It only has one slot for ram so you will have to remove the stock 4gb and replace it with an 8GB. Make sure to get the DDR3L (The L stands for low voltage). You want the 1.35 volt not 1.5 it may work with the 1.5 but will run hotter and use more battery. The laptop comes with 1333mhz ram, but I think 1600mhz will work and run faster. Take this with a grain of salt as have not tried it yet, but I believe the following RAM will work, and this is the type I plan to try upgrading to someday.
Update 6/23/14: I did buy and install the 8gb of Ram above. It works great, but it does down clock the ram to 1333mhz as the CPU won't handle 1600mhz speeds. But, the 1600mhz 1.35v ram does work great in here. It feels even snappier now. Between the SSD I installed and the 8gb of ram this computer is very usable and fairly snappy for most tasks. The only time I see the video and cpu lagging a bit is if I am on a webpage with heavy adobe flash usage on it. But, right now I have two browsers open and about 30 browser tabs open with now slowdown. I'm still quite happy with this laptop for the money. It is just important to throttle your expectations, this can't be compared to an Intel I7 CPU $1000 laptop, but it is good for basic web browsing!
Update 8/22/14 I noticed several people that complained about the performance realized if they removed the demo anti virus and crapware that it runs better. I...Read more
(IMPORTANT NOTE) Do not be confused by the nomenclature for this process as it goes by many names; i.e. migrate, copy, transfer, etc. This is *NOT* my video but it is very helpful. I've also reposted the video on how to remove the Dell HD and install the SSD. Here is the link.
Last note: it does not matter which SSD you purchase, it will be up to each individuals preference (i.e. price, features, etc.). So if you do buy a SSD, make sure that:
1) The SSD is a 2.5" drive, SATA III
2) Check to see if it comes with "cloning" (migration, transfer...) software.
3) If it does not, there are several other cloning software programs available online that are free to download. But I wouldn't recommend this route if this is your first drive swap.
4) Make sure you get a USB to SATA cable. This is the one I purchased. Buy it, use it, keep it or return it after your done. Your preference but you will need this.
That's all you need folks. Then follow these two videos and you will then reap the rewards of a faster laptop and the gratification of the successful install!
So, removing the HD & installing the SSD video:
And, the video to clone the drives:
Hope this helps.
***UPDATE 10/26/14 - Looks like the laptop is now shipping with an i3 CPU and an upgraded GPU (on board). I'd be interested to here reviews on this.
Also, here are some pros and cons after owning the laptop for 3 months.
-High price-value ratio, decent hardware components and performance for the price
-Extremely light weight and very thin
-Easy to upgrade components, you can do this rather economically to keep the overall costs down
-Full 10 key number pad and smooth key operation
-Webcam, and photo verification for login (some may not be aware of this but the webcam also acts as a security measure)
-Great for medium-heavy work loads, i.e. running multiple programs, playing music or videos, etc.
-Solid construction, mine travels with me in my backpack and it takes a beating, haven't had any issues
-Processor could be faster, however I mention below on how to increase the CPU's performance
-Lack of RAM. The 4GB RAM is quite slow but I describe my experience below after upgrading the RAM to 8GB
-Hard drive has plenty of storage but it's also slow. See below for SSD upgrade and comparison
-With the factory components, the laptop struggles with heavy flash websites. You can alleviate this issue by upgrading the hard drive and RAM
***UPDATE 10/24/14 - Putting this at the top since some have asked for instructions on how to replace the hard drive and RAM. Here are two (2) youtube videos (not mine) that will walk you through the process. NOTE: Pay close attention and follow his exact removal and re-install process of the cover on the underside of the laptop, otherwise you will break the plastic tabs.
Hard Drive removal and installing SSD
Great budget laptop, especially for students. Keep in mind the price reflects the product.
Before deciding to move on to other brands, consider that there are many consumers who purchase laptops without possessing any rudimentary knowledge about computer software and components. Let alone there are buyers who show lack of consumer aptitude by writing comments like "thought it came with a optical drive, 1 star."
So, quickly I'll highlight on a few things you can do to noticeably improve the performance of this laptop.
-First, replace the HDD with a SSD. You will experience an immediate performance boost. You'll need a USB to SATA cable to clone the drive. It is very, very easy and basic. Samsung offers a great software to assist you in this process. Here is the drive I purchased.
Here is the cable.
-Second, uninstall McAfee as it ties up many of your systems resources. Microsoft Defender comes pre-loaded, just turn this on. Also, uninstall all the Microsoft apps you do not use. Most of these run in the background tying up CPU resources.
-Third, unlock the CPU's parked cores as this will allow the...Read more
1. CHIP: Intel Celeron (dual core). This is a latest Celeron chip (N2830, Bay Trail - M) you will have. Being a dual core can handle most of the demands easily. Because it is a Bay Trail chip, it is quiet and not heavy on your resources. It is so quiet, you hardly hear the fan at all. So for your Web browsing, emails, YouTube viewing, MS Office, some gaming, and every day chores, this is a great basic laptop.
2. BUILD. The black matte finish is not fancy but functional. Simple but sturdy. The keyboard has no flex, and comes with chiclet keyboard that is well designed and generously spaced. The screen is bright and resolution is normal for this price range.
3. PRICE. Price differs from store to store, but if you get it in right time, you might get it for around $200.00. Even $250 is a good price. To give you a comparison: various Chromebooks are priced in this range but with less functions and memories. Additionally, you CANNOT install any Windows programs (such as, MS Office, etc), so while Chromebooks have their proper place, for those who need basic laptop for general use, this laptop might be a better fit in this price range.
4. OS. Windows 8.1 is far, far better than Windows 8.0. If you already have 8.0, then you should update/upgrade it to 8.1. I love using it, and my kids love the tiles. PLUS, I love 8.1's Family Safety feature. I can control how much my kids can be on the computer and what days. Additionally you can also filter what kind of web they are browsing. MS also sends you (the parent) weekly report on the kids use of the computer. Love this feature! Easy to set up and monitor.
1. No optical Drive (DVD/CD). But nowadays, this is not really needed anymore. But for those who need it, you might have to consider other models.
2. No Bluetooth. The box says, "Bluetooth" but this is misprint. This model does NOT have Bluetooth.
3. Only 2 USB (2.0) ports. I was hoping that it had another USB port.
Despite the cons, considering its price, this is an excellent entry laptop for kids and those who just want sturdy, dependable laptop for every day general use. Highly, highly recommended!