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Dell Inspiron 15R Review Discussion

Discussion in 'Notebook News and Reviews' started by Charles P. Jefferies, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    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.

    <br /><br />Read the full content of this Article: <a href='http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=5956&review=dell+inspiron+15r'>Dell Inspiron 15R Review</a><br /><br />Related Articles:
    • <a href='http://www.NotebookReview.com/default.asp?newsID=5941'>Dell Inspiron 17R Review</a>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2015
  2. linuxwanabe

    linuxwanabe Notebook Evangelist

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    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.
     
  3. Jerry Jackson

    Jerry Jackson Administrator NBR Reviewer

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    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.
     
  4. linuxwanabe

    linuxwanabe Notebook Evangelist

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    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?
     
  5. Judicator

    Judicator Judged and found wanting.

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    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.
     
  6. Trottel

    Trottel Notebook Virtuoso

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    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:

    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.
     
  7. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    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
     
  8. linuxwanabe

    linuxwanabe Notebook Evangelist

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    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.

    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.
     
  9. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow Super Moderator

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    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..
     
  10. linuxwanabe

    linuxwanabe Notebook Evangelist

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    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.

    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.
     
  11. City Pig

    City Pig Notebook Virtuoso

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    The same glossy black plastic used in their Pavilion bezels, it seems. I can say, however, that if it weren't for the magnesium exterior of the hinges, a recent fall would likely have resulted in my lid falling off. So, strong materials in hinges is very important.
     
  12. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow Super Moderator

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    Well I'm just saying where the hinges are not quite part of the rear palmrest is a funky design. When we first saw the 14/15/17R I was like ? Again looked like a smoothed out Adamo but it looks cheapo.

    The reason I dislike the 14/15/17R HDD location is because we had a batch of 15R notebooks with defective hard drives. I'm talking about HDD dying 2-12 weeks after purchase and we had do SR for the hard drives. Now that I'm good at it, we haven't had a 15R with a dead hard drive :confused:
     
  13. City Pig

    City Pig Notebook Virtuoso

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    Yeah, it does look cheap. Also, they should really try to start making their notebooks a bit smaller. They all look so thick and bulky, especially now. This design type is really unappealing to the casual user, and with so many thin, nice-looking laptops from competitors like HP (and at cheaper prices, too), they're putting themselves at a disadvantage. Honestly, I don't even understand how this brings the screen closer to the user...
     
  14. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow Super Moderator

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    Though true, Dell traditionally hasn't made thin notebooks for the entry level consumer market. Look at all the previous generation notebooks. The thinnest Inspiron I believe is the 1545 which is still pretty thick and heavy.

    We have a Inspiron 6000 (pretty bulky), and I have an E1405 (very similar to E1505/Inspiron 6400), and I have a Vostro 1500 (Inspiron 1520). All very bulky but very durable. I think Dell's from that time period have better construction and are better built than the new ones. I feel the new Inspiron line goes for that shiny plastic, which I can't stand as it is finger print hell and scratches show up very blatantly.

    I think Dell shouldn't have strayed away from the bulky notebooks honestly. Why do something half-hearted, attempting to make a notebook pretty but compromising on durability?

    Now Dell did introduce Studio, XPS line, Studio Z, Latitude/Vostro 13/V13 line for thin notebooks, but these are specialty notebooks, not average consumer notebooks though the prices are just a bit higher than their Inspiron line. I'm guessing Dell introduced these thinner models as pressure from other manufacturer forces them into new designs.

    My dad recently bought a new Studio 1558, and I honestly dislike it. It has a slot loaded drive which I absolutely despise as crap gets stuck in them all the time, and yes it is thinner than his older Insipron 6000, it isn't any lighter. Yes it has Core i3 and Intel HD graphics but my dad just uses it for teach college classes.
     
  15. line98

    line98 Notebook Consultant

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    my biggest irritation is it seems that dell has went down the hp route with these new models and made it incredibly difficult to reach the fan in order to clean it with canned air.
     
  16. dandv

    dandv Notebook Consultant

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    From the review:

    I also notice this cycling, when the laptop is completely idle, but the fan goes off pretty loudly (45dB?) every 2-3 minutes, for about 20 seconds. With no apparent reason (there's no spike in load). In a classroom or library, this is very annoying. It's annoying enough that 90% I'm going to return this unit. For credit.

    I posted more about this at http://forum.notebookreview.com/del...pins-up-without-reason-every-few-minutes.html.
     
  17. manishg

    manishg Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have purchased laptop and used it in extreme conditions . Dell has made my laptop very perfectly but i have a complain about dell Bluetooth it doesn't works perfectly and keeps on hanging.i have also surveyed many websites about this issue and also complained it to dell support . But problems remains same in all models which have this Bluetooth module. So i am making a request to dell IND. either to resolve this problem or change the product. If dell doesn't made actions he will have to face problems in future


    Regards
    Manishg
     
  18. Spektr4

    Spektr4 Newbie

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    Assistance will be greatly appreciated
    I was considering ordering an Inspiron 15R with Core i5 processor online, however in Best Buy I happened to see a Dell M501R which appears to be an AMD chip version of the model I'm interested in buying. It looked identical to pictures of the 15R in this review.

    The problem is, it had the absolute worst keyboard of any laptop in the store. Typing caused an awful rattling sound. The keys seemed attached in a very flimsy manner. There was terrible flex under pressure. The keyboard screamed "cheap". I need to know whether these keyboard deficiencies are present in the 15R.
     
  19. dandv

    dandv Notebook Consultant

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    My 15R has a well-made keyboard, which is very fast to type on, but has various layout oddities:

    - silly reassignment of Fn keys to perform laptop-specific functions (volume up/down, Wi-Fi on/off etc.) instead of doing those by pressing Fn+F#. Configurable from the BIOS though.

    - besides that, the F# keys are labeled a faint blue on black, and are barely visible in a well-lit room. The reflection of the screen on the glossy laptop finish near the hinge doesn't help. The visible labeling is for the laptop function keys (Wi-fi on/off, brightness up/down etc.). This shows how the laptop is aimed at those who don't know what F5 does.

    - odd placement of the PrintScreen key between Insert and Delete

    - narrow trackpad buttons, often annoying to hit with the thumb

    - the arrow keys are too thin, half the height of normal keys

    - after having used laptops without a numeric keypad for the past few years, the keypad is not only useless; it gets in the way. where I expect Backspace to be, there's now Keypad Minus.

    - there is no Break key (useful for Win+Break to get the Windows System properties, or Ctrl+Break in command line applications)

    - there is no context menu key (equivalent to right click on the focused control)
     
  20. dandv

    dandv Notebook Consultant

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    Get a $2 Bluetooth USB dongle from Deal Extreme. Problem solved.

    Uh oh. I foresee a lot of trouble for Dell.
     

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