Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Laptop (i15RV-954BLK) Review

Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Laptop (i15RV-954BLK)

The Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Laptop (i15RV-954BLK) is a budget-friendly machine designed to handle everyday computing tasks on the move. Surfing the web, email, updating social status, video chat, word processing and other standard productivity software should all be well within its capabilities.

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It is powered by a 1.9 GHz Intel Pentium-2127U Processor – a dual-core, Ultra Low Voltage component designed specifically for use in entry level laptops. Although it is based on Intel’s long established Ivy Bridge architecture, several of features found in more powerful – and expensive! – Ivy Bridge processors, are disabled in this low cost model. Even so, performance should be more than adequate for the tasks that this machine is designed to carry out.

The processor is supported by 4GB of DDR3L memory. This should be enough to allow the pre-installed copy of Windows 8 to run well, particularly in view of the relatively undemanding workload that it is expected to cope with. Naturally, more memory is always better, but the 4GB fitted in this machine represents a sensible balance between cost and performance. And, should you find that more RAM is needed at some point in the future, the machine supports up to a maximum of 8GB in two 4GB modules, meaning that you can easily double the amount of memory installed.

For permanent storage of your documents, pictures, movies and music, the i15RV-954BLK is fitted with a 500GB Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Again, this represents less storage than is found on more powerful and expensive laptops, but, in reality, should be more than adequate for most users. As with the machine’s memory, there is, of necessity, a balance between cost and storage capacity, and a 500GB hard drive is a sensible choice for this machine. And, should you eventually need more storage capacity, it is an easy matter to connect an external hard drive to one of the machine’s USB ports.

Pros :

  • Excellent Entry Level Laptop For Routine Tasks
  • Intel Pentium-2127U Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • 500 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
  • 15.6-Inch Screen
  • Windows 8

Cons :

  • Underpowered For Serious Gaming

Staying with disk drives for a moment, it’s good to see that this machine includes an 8X CD / DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive). Optical drives are becoming less important than they once were, and many laptop manufacturers are omitting them from their budget and ultra-portable ranges. Although it’s easy to see why they would make that choice, optical drives are still useful for burning music CDs, installing software or even just watching a movie from your collection, and the fact that the  i15RV-954BLK has one is a definite point in its favor.

The machine’s 15.6-inch, 1366×768 pixel, LED-backlit screen is driven by integrated Intel HD Grphics hardware that is based on Intel’s HD Graphcis 2500 GPU. Again, this should be more than sufficient for the machine’s intended workload, but it will probably struggle with more demanding applications such as video editing or modern games, although it should be fine for casual gaming. If course, it is probably unfair to compare the features of an entry-level machine such as this one with those one would expect in a powerful gaming laptop, but it’s worth noting that if you want to play modern games on your laptop, this probably isn’t the machine for you.

There will inevitably be times when you want, or need, to use a larger display that the laptop’s own 15.6 inch model – perhaps for watching a movie or making a presentation. For those occasions, the machine provides an HDMI port, making it easy to connect to an HDTV, modern monitor or projector. However, there doesn’t appear to be a legacy VGA connector, so if you think you may need to connect to older style monitors, you will need to buy an adapter. As with other possible limitations, this is unlikely to be a real problem, but is something to be kept in mind if it applies to your particular circumstances.

Happily, there is more choice when it comes to network connectivity. The machine offers both an Ethernet port for wired networking, and 802.11 b/g/n WiFi for access to wired networks.

Other connectivity options include two standard USB 2.0 ports and two high speed USB 3.0 ports, enabling you to connect all your favorite wired peripherals. The machine supports Bluetooth for wireless peripherals like headsets and mice.

Finally, a built-in webcam makes this machine video-chat capable right out of the box. The supplied copy of Windows 8 includes the popular Skype video-chat software, so there’s nothing extra to install – just sign in to your account, or sign up for a new one, and you’ll be chatting with your friends and colleagues in minutes.

Overall, the Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Laptop (i15RV-954BLK) is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a low cost laptop for routine computing tasks. As an entry-level machine, it would be idea for helping the kids with their homework, or perhaps as a first machine for a senior relative, or even as an extra machine in a busy home. It isn’t really up to playing demanding games, but it should easily cope with the everyday activities that it was designed for.

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