User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Quality of Tech Support:
Pros:Stylish, light, excellent battery life, no leg scorching during high processor activity.
Cons:Metal case succeptible to denting, a little pricier than competing units when optioned up.
The Bottom Line: I recommend the Dell Vostro 3550 for anyone who wants a light, powerful, easy-to-live-with laptop at a reasonable price.
The Dell 3550 is my first Dell laptop after years of HP (and, before that, Compaq) laptops. I purchased it based upon my satisfaction with my Dell Studio XPS desktop machine.
Recommend this product?
I have not been disappointed. I chose the midline I5 processor, bumped the RAM to 6GB from the base 2GB, and likewise chose an upgrade (450Gb) hard drive, as I run a lot of graphics-intensive programs. All told, it ran me just about $1,000 from the Dell online store.
After living with the 3550 for more than 6 months, I can report that I am very pleased. Running Windows 7 64-bit, the machine snaps to do everything I request of it. It's power-thrifty in battery-powered mode; on the Power Saver setting I can get more than 3 hours of runtime on the standard battery (for comparison, my last HP required the 6-cell extended battery just to get 2.5 hours of use).
The screen display is crisp, and the HDMI output has come in very handy when presenting on modern flatscreen monitors - one cable connects HD video and audio, so I'm up and running, literally, within about 30 seconds.
The lighted keyboard is one of the reasons I chose the Dell over other offerings. I do a lot of late-night work, and having the backlit keys makes it much easier for me to work without disturbing others.
Finally, I'm impressed with how cool the Vostro runs. Even in high-quality graphics-intensive modes that made my HP roar like a wind tunnel, the Dell's heat output is within leg-tolerable limits; in standard operation, it barely emits any heat at all.
If there's one downside, it's the titanium case. My HP's carbon-fiber-effect thermoplastic case may have gotten fingerprints and scratches, but it held up to more than 5 years of road use. The Dell has already picked up a dent in the display casing due to rough handling at Cleveland Hopkins, alerting me that I'm going to have to be extra-careful packing it for travel from now on.
Overall, I'm very happy with the 3550 and would choose another Dell laptop in a hot second.
Amount Paid (US$): 1000
Operating System: Windows
Processor speed: over 1000
Screen Size: 15 inches
RAM: More than 256
Internal Storage: CD-RW and DVD
Hard Drive (GB): Over 50