Dell Inspiron 3000 series (i3558) 15.6-inch review

With so many different versions and configurations of the Dell Inspiron 3000 series of laptops it is nearly impossible to not have seen or used one in the past. Today I decided to take a look at the most recent Dell Inspiron 15 i3558 version in the series. Specifically I will be reviewing the I3558-5501BLK 15.6-inch touchscreen equipped variant.

The Exterior of the Dell Inspiron 3000 series

The main selling point of the Dell Inspiron 3000 series has always been its affordable price. This is noticeable when you look at the overall exterior of the laptop. The entire body is made out of matte black plastic with just the side edges being shiny. The only design queue appears on the top cover in the form of a very fine crosshatch pattern.Dell Inspiron 15 3000 series top cover design. The top cover only gets a shiny black Dell logo right in the middle.

On the inside of the body we find the 15.6-inch touchscreen display. The only display resolution available on the Dell Inspiron i3558 is 1366 by 768 pixel. I honestly think this resolution is rather small for the web interfaces we are running today but considering the prince range where the 3000 series is present it becomes much more common when compared to its competition.

The touchscreen display is surrounded by a black matte border that contains the built in webcam and built in microphone on the top border. The bottom border features a silver Dell logo right in the middle. Although the screen bezel features rather large rubber stops it helps keep the display from touching the keyboard during transport.Dell Inspiron 15 i3558 keyboard and palmrest

The keyboard and plamrest area continue with the basic black matte design present on the rest of the body. The Dell Inspiron 3000 series features a full sized keyboard with numerical pad in black on black. The keyboard in not backlit on the i3558. The touchpad continues the very simple matte black design and is located slightly off center. The power button in located just above the keyboard on the top right. The palmrest area has no design elements whatsoever. The overall build quality is very good and I expect it to last many years of heavy use.

The two built in speakers are located just underneath the front edge. This location is very common on most budget laptops and they tend to lead to distorted sound when used in your lap or on your bed. 

The connectivity

The connectivity of the Dell Inspiron 15 i3558 is the same on all versions of this chassis and contains the following:Dell Inspiron 15 i3885-5501 connectivity

  • The left side of the body features the Knesington-Lock-port, the power port, HDMI-out, Ethernet LAN port, 2 USB 2.0 and the headphone-mic-combo jack.
  • The right side of the Dell Inspiron i3558 features the SD Card reader, one USB 3.0 port, and the built in DVD-Burner.
  • On the inside it features the latest high speed WiFi 802.11 AC and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

Although I was expecting more USB 3.0 ports from a recent laptop, at least it does have one. The status LEDs are located on the front edge of the laptop.

The Performance

We are currently looking at the new Dell Inspiron 3000 series here and although we are talking about a 2017 model it does come with relatively old tech. No matter what configuration you chose from we are still looking at 2 to 3 year old tech. The range of processors cover everything from the entry level Celerons and Pentiums all the way up to the Intel Core i5. This is also the main reason why these models are so affordable. This doesn’t mean they are bad though.

The Dell Inspiron 15 I3558-5501BLK we are currently looking at features a 5th generation Intel Core i5-5200U running at 2.2Ghz (we are currently on the 7th generation). With that said, this still remains a very capable processor. This processor is paired with 8GB of DDR3L RAM and a 1TB HDD. In this configuration this laptop is more than capable for most use cases other than gaming. 

As a final detail it comes with a 4-cell 45Wh battery pack that is user exchangeable. With this battery pack you can expect around the 4 hour mark while browsing the web and listening to music. The Inspiron i3558 is not a high battery life model, but it is good enough to cover most users needs. So let’s see who can best use what is available with this laptop.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Dell Inspiron I3558-5501BLK 15.6-inch Touchscreen Laptop
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray
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Who is it for? discussing who would benefit most from this laptop...

  • Student
    The Dell Inspiron 15 I3558-5501BLK is a very good laptop for students. There is more than enough performance for anyone and the build quality is good. The only thing lacking from this laptop is the somewhat small battery life. If you know you have access to a socket very often and it is in your budget definitely get it.

  • Business User
    The Dell Inspiron 15 I3558-5501BLK is a very good candidate for the corporate environment. The very sober and basic design makes it a very discrete laptop for the desktop. You can probably get the version without the touchscreen though. It features most legacy connectivity and the battery life should be more than enough for a half days work. The full sized keyboard with numpad also helps a lot here.

  • Casual User
    When it comes to the casual user, most entry level budget laptops will do. The Dell Inspiron 15 I3558-5501BLK is no exception to this rule. It has the necessary build quality and sturdiness to last for a while, and there is enough performance to keep up with todays software needs. The touchscreen will be very appreciate here.

PROs Vs. CONs

The main reason why the Dell Inspiron 3000 series is such a popular laptop is because it is so affordable. Even the more well equipped I3558-5501BLK version we are looking at here is still well within the 500 dollar budget. In typical Dell fashion the body is well built and thanks to the myriad of available configurations you can find the right laptop for your needs and budget.

The Dell Inspiron 3000 series is what basic computing is all about. It has basic design with somewhat old tech and no extra amenities, but it does get the job done.



Summary

While I'm not a fan of the low end of the laptop market, I still have to admit that there are some good choices out there. Anything in the Dell Inspiron 3000 series is usually a very well built laptop with just enough tech to get the job done. Are there alternative? Sure. Are those any better? Not really, and because of that I have to recommend the Dell Inspiron 15 i3885-5501BLK to any budget oriented buyer.
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Technical Details

Processor Intel® Core™ i5-5200U 2.2 GHz
Video Card Intel® HD Graphics 5500
RAM Memory 8GB DDR3L
Audio Two Built-in Stereo Speakers with MaxxAudio
Operating System Windows 10
Display 15.6-inch touchscreen 1366 x 768px
Storage Drive 1 TB 5400rpm
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
USB 2.0 Ports 2
USB 3.0 Ports 1
Built-in Camera Yes
Built-in Microphone Yes
Optical Drive DVD-RW
Memory Card Reader Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Headphone-out Yes
VGA-out -
HDMI-out Yes
LAN-out Yes
Color Black
Width 14.9 in.
Depth 10.9 in.
Height 0.89 in.
Weight 4.8 lbs.
Battery Life up to 4 hours
Warranty 1 Year Limited Warranty

Updated on April 2nd, 2017

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