Dell Inspiron 15RN 15.6" (500 GB, Intel Core i5 2nd Gen., 2.5 GHz, 6 GB) Notebook - Black - i15RN-3647BK Reviews
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Dell Inspiron 15RN 15.6" (500 GB, Intel Core i5 2nd Gen., 2.5 GHz, 6 GB) Notebook - Black - i15RN-3647BK

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Dell Inspires Once Again - Quality at an Affordable Price

Jul 1, 2012 (Updated Sep 11, 2012)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Memory, Power, Monitor, Connectibility, Lid

Cons:Speakers, Could use more USB ports

The Bottom Line: Dell's Inspiron 15R series has earned my respect for reliability and performance - it's provides the features that I need for work and home.


Dell’s Inspiron 1420 quickly became my favorite laptop. It connected easily when traveling; it was relatively lightweight (four years ago) and compatible with my software. It was fast, the monitor was a decent size and larger than tablets.  However, an eye-opening experience at work led me to rethink my “old” computer.  Windows 7 was installed on my new work computer and it offered features that I appreciated. My older Inspiron probably wasn’t compatible. I had lost a key on my keyboard and realized that like getting a young puppy when you had a 15 year old dog, my 1420 suddenly seemed slow and old.  It was time for a new computer and once again I turned to Dell.

Although searching through the range of available computers, after haunting local Best Buys and online sites, I returned to Dell to pick up another Inspiron.  The model continues to provide what I want at what I consider a good price. I’ve found Dell computers to be reliable for my needs and they let me support my idiosyncrasies. It remains highly connectible when traveling.

In February I opted for one of the Dell Inspiron 15Rs for the same reasons that I picked up the 1420 but also for the increased size of the monitor.  My 1420 had a 14.1 inch monitor; this one has a 15.6 inch diagonal screen. I’ve been doing a lot of work with Excel recently and the fuller screen makes it possible to do side by side comparisons of spreadsheets. The larger computer was less bulky than my earlier Inspiron but it did require a new laptop bag.

Minus the laptop bag and the additional accessories, Dell’s specs put this computer at 5 pounds 13 ounces; the adaptor weighs another pound.  I add a wireless mouse to the set (I’ve never been a fan of touchpads, they make my fingers hurt).  The 14-inch keyboard is full sized with a ten-key numeric keypad on the right.

My model comes with 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3210M processor. It has a 500 GB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive, CD/DVD Burner, and Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 & Bluetooth. This 15R has a pair of top-mounted 2-watt speakers and a built in-microphone – the sound quality is poor in my opinion and I prefer listening through headphones. (Mr. P prefers that too since we have different tastes in music.)

I don’t buy my computers for watching movies, I much prefer a larger screen, but I have watched a few movies and television shows on this. The display quality of Dell’s High Definition LED Display with Truelife is truly better than my 12 year old 32-inch Toshiba television; the audio when listening is as good as my headphones allow them to be.

Another reason for buying this is that my previous Dell did not have an integrated camera and I’ve been trying to communicate with distant friends and family through Skype.  The15R includes an integrated 2-megapixel HD (1280x720) webcam with Dell's proprietary camera-management software – while my past experience with cameras has been shocking, this camera and software allows me to adjust the settings so that I don’t look like the “Beast’s” ugly sister.

The standard optical drive handles both CD-ROM and DVD. The optical drive also writes to both CD and DVD. An eight-in-one card reader is mounted opposite the optical drive. My printer communicates with my computer through a wireless network. The sound card supports both audio IN through a microphone jack and a phone jack OUT. This also has:
            One USB 2.0 port
            Two USB 3.0 ports (it could have two more) 
            One combined USB port with an eSATA port that functions as a charging port
            One Ethernet port
            One HDMI port
            One VGA port
 
This is an upper low-end laptop with a 6 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz. Other configurations have 4 or 8. There is another Inspiron 15 that is still sold but it’s a lower end version and not to be confused with the 15R series. The memory of my 15R is sufficient for my needs. I don’t play games and only occasionally watch movies. I store a lot of photos on memory sticks.  This is more than fast enough for me to search online, handle multiple business applications simultaneously, and create presentations.  What’s under the hood is important, but the details for what’s under the hood of my car are often left to the mechanic. I know this is fast enough; it smoothly handles current software and online graphics. If you want more memory or more speed Inspiron 15R is available with 8GB memory and a 1TB hard drive.

Dell shipped my computer with Microsoft Office 2010 Home and Student. I upgraded for the Adobe Elements 9.0 Photoshop and Premiere. It came with a 48 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery. I run this on the power cord 95% of the time, but for those moments where use doesn’t allow access to an outlet the battery easily lasts through four or five hours. By that time I’m more than ready to get away from it. It also comes with a lot of “junk” that I don’t use. I hide the Dell Stage which supposedly manages games, music photograph, videos, magazines, and more.


Now for one of the deciding factors that has nothing to do with performance. My1420 was bright apple green.  I get tired of always seeing black computers and it’s fun to watch the expressions of colleagues when I pull out my colorful computer. While comparing features and prices of other models I found several with similar features and prices including memory and speed. I opted for this Dell because of my personal comfort with their products AND because of the Switch interchangeable lids. It’s not necessarily a “fashion statement” but a personality and attitude statement. I don’t like the boring, uncreative, like-everyone-else’s computer appearance. Dell offers Switch interchangeable lids for $16 to $30, depending on the color or the pattern. There’s certainly not going to be any confusion about ownership of your computer with one of these lids on. They are easy to install and my bronze orange is a bold statement.
 
 
Nearly half a year later I’m still pleased with my computer. I ignore features that I don’t use. Skyping has been easy.  I maintain my MP3 using the Windows Media Player. I’m not a computer person, I don’t want to live my life through it (although having a Droid now it seems as though my life is connected 12 hours a day), and I don’t eat this up with games. For all practical purposes this is my primary personal computer. Mr. P has one that’s almost identical. It’s for communication and office productivity as well as satisfying some online obligations for both work and outside interests (such as Epinions). This is more than adequate. I enjoy the non-glare screen quality and the sound through my headphones – not the sound through my speakers.

The Dell Inspiron 15R is not the lightest computer in the Dell stables but I’m comfortable with the slightly less than six pounds. My purse occasionally weighs more than that. If I was concerned and really traveled for business Dell has faster and thinner/lighter computers. For my particular needs this is the “just right” and more-than-sufficient computer and that’s all that matters.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 640.00
Operating System: Windows
Processor: Other
Processor speed: over 1000
Screen Size: Greater than 15 inches
RAM: More than 256

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