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  1. #1
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    Default Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

    The newly designed Inspiron 15R is the latest 15.6-inch desktop-replacement notebook from Dell. Equipped with the Intel Core i3 or i5 processors and Intel GMA HD graphics, this budget-friendly system is aimed at the masses. In this review we take an in-depth look at this new system and see how it performs.



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    Default Re: Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

    Overall, the case design is a tremendous improvement on the Inspiron 1545 - no where near a Latitude E-series, but better than many mainstream, consumer quality notebooks.

    The biggest weakness is the 48WHr 6-cell battery. HP is putting a 47WHr battery in the bottom basement, extremely low-end G-series, while the mainstream DVx and DMx notebooks are getting 55WHr batteries. If this Dell is competing against the DV6 or DM4, it just doesn't have the battery. If it's competing against the bottom of the barrel G62, Dell's going to have a hard time competing on price.

    In all fairness, Dell has a very nice, middle-of-the road, mainstream laptop. Sadly, the very nice, middle-of-the road, mainstream Dell 15" laptops from a year or two ago had 56WHr batteries. Why is Dell taking such a big step backward in such a competitive segment?

    Dell has given up a tremendous competitive advantage to HP's DV/DM lineup, which is a great pity.

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    Default Re: Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

    One thing that Kevin neglected to mention in the text of his review is that since this sytem is equipped with Wi-Di there is additional power draw on the battery for the wireless transmitter even when idle. I don't know exactly how much battery life might have been saved with Wi-Di disabled in the Windows Device Manager, but I suspect the battery life in this review unit would have been better if Wi-Di had been disabled.

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    Default Re: Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Jackson View Post
    One thing that Kevin neglected to mention in the text of his review is that since this sytem is equipped with Wi-Di there is additional power draw on the battery for the wireless transmitter even when idle. I don't know exactly how much battery life might have been saved with Wi-Di disabled in the Windows Device Manager, but I suspect the battery life in this review unit would have been better if Wi-Di had been disabled.
    Battery capacity is still an issue and a 48 WHr Dell battery isn't going to match up to a 55WHr HP battery, regardless of Wi-Di. This is still a huge competitive disadvantage for Dell against HP's DV and DM lines.

    I'm actually glad that the review brought up the issue of Wi-Di and its Achilles heel of lag time. The 2-3 seconds of buffer time might be acceptable for a HTPC setup, but there again, you'd be using a conventional cable without an lag time. Where's the market for a mainstream consumer notebook with Wi-Di?

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    Default Re: Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by linuxwanabe View Post
    I'm actually glad that the review brought up the issue of Wi-Di and its Achilles heel of lag time. The 2-3 seconds of buffer time might be acceptable for a HTPC setup, but there again, you'd be using a conventional cable without an lag time. Where's the market for a mainstream consumer notebook with Wi-Di?
    Probably the "average" consumer that just wants to share a movie or photographs using their notebook without having to bother carrying and hooking up cables and other paraphernalia. Or those who have so many cables running back there already that they'd rather have something "simple" and not have to deal with the mare's nest of cables. Basically, it's probably more about "convenience" than anything else.

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    Default Re: Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

    I'm not quite sure why it is given the "desktop replacement" moniker in the review. An oversight is my guess?

    Unfortunately it looks like Dell took a few steps forward and a few steps back with the 15R over the 1545.

    Just nitpicking, but even in this one paragraph there are a couple of glaring errors:
    The 15R handled itself pretty well in our tests, even though it was a base configuration. The newer Intel Core i3 370M processor and Intel HD graphics can handle anything the average user would want to do, outside of 3D intensive gaming. For watching 720P and 1080P movies, the system rendered them flawlessly breaking a sweat. This worked very well when using the supplied Intel Wi-Di adapter, to wirelessly stream HD videos to an HDTV. Offer productivity applications were no problem for the 15R, so for the average college user this notebook would be an excellent choice.

    And I don't mean to sound like a negative Nancy, but why was this review coming out only now? The 15R has been out since at least June, and it is almost December.
    Last edited by Trottel; 27th November 2010 at 05:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

    I've seen one of these Dells with the "hinge forward" mounting and, in my opinion, it looks peculiar. While it may put the display closer to the users eyes it also leaves less space around the keyboard for features such as the speakers.

    The real cause of the strange hinge placing is the extra-wide low height displays that manufacturers are forcing onto the customers.

    John

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    Default Re: Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ratsey View Post
    I've seen one of these Dells with the "hinge forward" mounting and, in my opinion, it looks peculiar. While it may put the display closer to the users eyes it also leaves less space around the keyboard for features such as the speakers.
    Yes, I can remember when the speakers on many consumer notebooks were between the keyboard and the hinges. I also can't remember a single one of those notebooks with acceptable sound quality. In recent years, I've seen the best results with speakers flanking the keyboard, although the best compromise might be place the speakers in the front edge.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Ratsey View Post
    The real cause of the strange hinge placing is the extra-wide low height displays that manufacturers are forcing onto the customers.

    John
    The 16:9 aspect ratio is here to stay since it favors entertainment content. It also helps to make a notebook feel more compact, although in the case of the Inspiron R series, it looks as if Dell's forward hinge design is a way of marrying a 16:9 display with an oversized case.

    I might be preferable if Dell used a more conventional hinge design and produced a consumer notebook with a smaller footprint.

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    Default Re: Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

    I think the Inspiron 1545 is actually better. The HDD is easily accessible vs the 15R which requires removing the keyboard, and palmrest to access the hard drive. Not counting platforms, I think the 1545 is better.

    Plus the Hinge design for the 15R is kinda funky, looks like like Adamo/Latitude 13 but worse..
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    Default Re: Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsunade_Hime View Post
    I think the Inspiron 1545 is actually better. The HDD is easily accessible vs the 15R which requires removing the keyboard, and palmrest to access the hard drive. Not counting platforms, I think the 1545 is better.
    As far as accessing the HDD, I've never owned a notebook with such poor hardware accessibility as the Inspiron 15r - and I hope never to own one either. This is a big factor in the lifecycle of any notebook. Perhaps Dell assumes that Inspiron owners regard their notebooks as being disposable?

    Looking back to the 1545, the term "disposable" might have applied to several aspects of perceived quality. I'd say this series represented a low point for Dell. The high gloss plastics sure looked cheap, although I have no idea whether this choice was a matter of fashion or cost cutting? The scariest part was the flimsy feeling screen lid. Looking at this notebook, I felt absolutely certain that the screen might get broken during travel. Maybe I was wrong, or maybe a 1545 would have lasted forever as a stationary low-end desktop replacement. Either way, it looked and felt less robust than previous Inspirons of the same size.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsunade_Hime View Post
    Plus the Hinge design for the 15R is kinda funky, looks like like Adamo/Latitude 13 but worse..
    Looks don't bother me, as long as the hinges don't break. In this category, HP does a convincing job of using metal hinge covers - not sure what's under the those pretty covers, though. Not sure whether HP or Dell has an advantage in terms of hinge design, but I don't really care since the smaller battery in the Dell is a deciding factor in favor of HP.

 

 
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