First impressions of Dell Inspiron 3552 – everything you’d need from a ultra-budget daily driver

Every now and then we like to check how the entry-level segment is doing and today’s stop is Dell’s ultra-budget Inspiron 3552, which sells for a little more than €300. Yes, you’ve read that right – the Inspiron 3552 offers Pentium and Celeron processors but we are doing a review of the quad-core Pentium N3700 variant. So as you’ve probably guessed, the laptop won’t surprise you with powerful hardware or unique features, but the build quality and the ergonomics of the input devices are pretty sweet.

You can find the notebook and its configurations here: http://amzn.to/1nT3VPe

Design

The notebook’s casing is made of hard plastic – the one on the lid features rough pattern while the sides feature glossy finish. The interior also adopts the dot-like pattern and feels pretty stable, especially for a notebook costing so little. Also, the whole machine is quite thin (21.7 mm) and light (2.14 kg).


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Of course, there are some inconsistencies like overly tightened hinges or flexible lid on the back, but we can let that pass considering the price point. However, the input devices feel like they are snatched from a higher tier machine. The full-sized keyboard provides long enough key travel, decent key spacing and size while the touchpad doesn’t have the annoying wobbling effect. It’s stable, fairly accurate and clickable.


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We also got good port distribution as the left side holds the HDMI, one USB port, DC charging slot and also the main heat dispersing grill and as for the right side, it has the other two USB ports and the 3.5 mm combo audio jack.

Hardware

The Dell Inspiron 3552 is offered in fairly limited CPU configurations. You can choose between Intel Celeron N3050 or Pentium N3700, with the latter being a more expensive option. Nevertheless, the available RAM is only 4GB and cannot be upgraded, but only replaced since the motherboard holds only one RAM slot. Interestingly enough, Dell is offering not only 500GB HDD but also a configuration using 128GB 2.5-inch SATA SSD.

Graphics options rely only on the integrated GPU on the Celeron and Pentium CPUs and the same goes for the display department – only HD (768p) glossy TN panels, although there’s one option with touch-enabled panel. The best part is that the laptop offers fairly big 40Wh battery and considering the low demand of power from the CPU and the display, we assume it will be rocking the house. You’d have to wait for our battery tests, though, to make sure of that.

Specs sheet

The specs sheet may vary depending on your region.

CPU Intel Celeron N3050 (2-core, 2.16 GHz, 2MB cache) / Intel Pentium N3700 (4-core, 1.60 – 2.40 GHz, 2MB cache)
RAM 4GB (1x 4096MB) – DDR3L-1600
GPU Intel HD Graphics (Braswell) / Intel HD Graphics (Broadwell)
HDD/SSD 500GB HDD (5400 rpm) / 128GB SSD
Display 15.6-inch (39.62 cm) – 1366×768 (HD) TN touchpanel, glossy / 15.6-inch (39.62 cm) – 1366×768 (HD) TN touchpanel, glossy
Optical Drive
Connectivity LAN 10/100 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
Other features
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • 1x USB 3.0
  • webcam
  • microphone
  • loudspeakers
  • HDMI
  • RJ-45
  • card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC)
  • Kensington lock slot
Battery 4-cell, 40Wh
Thickness 21.7 mm (0.85″)
Weight 2.14 kg (4.71 lbs)

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