Top positive review
150 people found this helpful
A superb laptop in this price segment
on 8 May 2014
I've been testing a few laptops recently, my background is a pc builder and enthusiast so I am rarely super impressed with pc offerings even less laptops, as they usually are fairly bog standard and not that exciting. And I usually pick up on some weaker areas fairly quickly.
Having tested this new Dell though, I am officially impressed because Dell have outdone themselves in most areas and for the asking price you get a very good spec laptop that stands out among competitors for a number of reasons. Firstly the overall specification is very good, with a decent processor, lots of ram and a quite sensational battery life.
I'll run through my quick fire good/bad list first and go into a bit more detail afterwards
+ Very good processor and overall spec, more than enough to handle a desktop replacement job or most home users needs
+ 1TB hard drive and 6GB ram is plenty for even demanding media collectors. DVD burner also present
+ Built is good with solid plastics, firm lid mechanism and it looks quite attractive too
+ Very good LED screen, clear bright and good viewing angles 1,366x768 resolution
+ Good connectivity, HDMI port, 4x USB ports, (2 being USB 3.0) (3 on the left one on the right near the DVD burner), 3.5mm headphone socket, wired LAN port and a card reader (SD), most of what you want is here.
+ Decent webcam (did quite well in lower light too)
+ Nice quality keyboard good tactile feedback and responsive touch pad (I touch type and found the keyboard excellent overall)
+ Stunning battery life I got over 7 hours in use and this is one area where the Dell is most impressive, that's way better than many offerings in this price range. The days of grabbing your charger after a couple of hours are gone with this laptop
+ It's quite a slim laptop compared to some offerings, though not the smallest (about 1" thick)
- Screen can pick up reflections a bit
- Speakers are quite loud but lack bass response, this isn't unusual on most laptops (bar higher end offerings)
You have 2 memory slots so there is potential to upgrade the ram to 16GB in total though few will need the extra memory which is very comfortable for most users
The Intel Intel Core i3-3217U runs at 1.8GHz, I've used slightly faster variants of this from other makers, however the performance is good overall and more than capable of handing normal day to day tasks and even a bit of video/image editing, it's not a high end processor, but it's significantly faster than some of the super budget models out there.
Roughly on a par with a budget desktop processor, I have a slightly slower (older) model in my older laptop and it's more than capable of delivering the goods for most work tasks.
On-board graphics are suitable for some lighter gaming (if you turn the settings down a bit) this isn't a gaming laptop but is capable enough for casual use. More importantly the Intel HD chip-set can offload most of the work from the processor for HD video and media playback..smooth frame rates and you can work on other tasks without the processor getting taxed.
Windows is now on 8.1 which has improved a few areas (boot to desktop option, and a semi return of the start menu) it's a step up from the first release, but give yourself a bit of time to get used to it if you are coming from previous windows version.
Whilst some rivals might have slightly quicker processors, you are getting a good deal here lots of ram, good storage and a nice quality package overall (in every way screen, build, keyboard) If you are the type of user who wants some good battery endurance I feel this model has the edge over some other offerings. Battery life is quite outstanding for such a laptop, far better than the usual 3/4 hour offerings. So with that in mind I think taking everything into account, this is a very capable and good value offering.
One of the best laptops I've used in this price segment, highly recommended