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. 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.
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 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.
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.