Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Laptop (i15RV-8574BLK) Review

Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Laptop (i15RV-8574BLK)

The Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Laptop (i15RV-8574BLK) is a mid-range, general purpose machine that should cope easily with the demands of everyday computing, and still have enough power to spare for some more challenging tasks too.

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It is driven by a fourth generation Intel Core i5-4200U processor. This is an Ultra Low Voltage component based on Intel’s popular Haswell architecture, and designed to balance power consumption with performance in small laptops and Ultrabooks. Thanks to Hyperthreading technology, each core is able to handle up to two threads in parallel, ensuring that best use is always made of available resources. Each core is also capable of automatically adjusting its own speed, from the base speed of 1.6 GHz up to a maximum of 2.3 GHz. depending on the needs of the current software application. This approach, called Turbo Boost, means that the processor conserves power when it is able to do so, while still delivering optimum performance when it is needed.

With 6 GB of DDR3L memory installed, this machine should be able to run the supplied copy of Windows 8 without difficulty. Of course, more memory is always better, but, in truth, the 6 GB shipped with this machine is a reasonable compromise between cost and features.

Pros :

  • Good general purpose laptop
  • Intel Core i5-4200U Processor
  • 6 GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • 750 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
  • 15.6-Inch Screen
  • Windows 8

Cons :

  • Underpowered for serious gaming

Similar considerations apply to the 750 GB Hard Disk Drive (HDD) installed in this machine. Many more powerful (and expensive!) laptops are equipped with larger HDDs, but 750 GB represents a substantial amount of storage capacity, and is probably more than many users will ever fill. And, should you ever need more storage, it is an easy matter to attach an external HDD to one of the machine’s USB ports.

The DVD-RW built in to this machine is a welcome feature. Many laptops lack an optical drive, presumably as a means of saving weight, space and expense. While this is understandable, particularly in view of the rise in cloud storage and ever-present USB storage devices, optical drives are still useful, and it is good to see one supplied with this machine.

The machine’s 15.6-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel, LED backlit display is driven by integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400. While this should be more than adequate for most purposes, and it is slightly more powerful than the older Graphics 4000, it may still struggle to match the demands of modern games. That said, this isn’t, and doesn’t claim to be, a gaming laptop. It is a general purpose workhorse, and for that purpose the HD Graphics 4400 should give excellent results.

There will almost certainly be times when you want to connect the machine to an external display – maybe for making a presentation or watching a movie in comfort. For those times, there is a built-in HDMI port, making it easy to hook up the laptop to an HDTV, modern monitor or projector etc. There is no legacy VGA port, however, so if you think you might need to connect to an older display you will need to buy a suitable adapter.

Fortunately, there is a little more choice when it comes to network connections. For those who want, or need, to use conventional wired networking, the machine includes a standard Ethernet port. And, for access to wireless networks, it also features built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi.

Other connectivity options include two standard USB 2.0 ports, two high-speed USB 3.0 ports for all your favorite peripherals and a media card reader to make transferring images from cameras and smartphones a breeze.

The machine measures 19.29 x 13.15 x 3.31 inches – large enough to be fairly robust, with being too big to easily carry around. And, with a full-sized keyboard and 10-key numeric keypad, you can be sure of getting work done in comfort, no matter where you take it!

Overall, the Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Laptop (i15RV-8574BLK) is a good, mid-range all-rounder that should be easily able to cope with email, surfing the web, updating social status, HD video, video chat, standard office software and all the other everyday tasks that require a reasonably powerful computer. It may struggle a little with modern, demanding games, although casual gaming should pose no problems for it. If you’re in the market for an affordable, powerful general purpose laptop, this could well be the machine for you.

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