Dell Inspiron 15 5000 (5558) review

Its build quality and battery life aren't the best we've seen, but the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 is still decent value

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Page 1 of 2Dell Inspiron 15 5000 (5558) review


Processor: Dual-core 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U, RAM: 8GB, Size: 380x260x24mm, Weight: 2.3kg, Screen size: 15.6in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Graphics adaptor: Nvidia GeForce 920M, Total storage: 1TB hard disk

Dell's Inspiron laptops has always been hard to beat in terms of pure value, thanks to their mid-range processors and modest dedicated graphics cards at reasonable prices. Last year's Dell Inspiron 5000 won a Best Buy award, thanks to its bargain price, great performance and decent battery life, so I was keen to have a look at this year's model.

Dell has gone back to the drawing board with this general-purpose laptop, keeping similarly powerful components but completely redesigning the chassis and installing a new screen. There are several Inspiron 15 5000-series models available; our review unit is the second-most powerful model, with an Intel Core i5 processor and dedicated graphics. A Core i7-powered version with dedicated graphics tops the range. There are two less powerful machines, with Core i5 and Core i3 variants, both without dedicated graphics.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 keyboard

In place of the 1,366x768 screen used on last year's model, the new Inspiron now has a 1,920x1,080 panel, which finally suits the high-spec components you'll find elsewhere on the laptop. Overall image quality is acceptable, although you shouldn't expect accurate colours from an sRGB coverage figure of just 58%. I'd much rather have a slightly-drab Full HD screen than a better but cramped 1,366x768 panel, though, although some buyers may disagree.

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It's not a particularly bright display, with our calibrator only measuring a maximum 210cd/m2 white level at the screen's brightest setting. This is offset slightly by the screen's matt coating, which means bright overhead lighting and sunlight don't affect the panel as badly as they would a glossy display.

The laptop doesn’t feel quite as solid as last year's. The new model is a couple of millimetres thicker at 22mm with the lid closed, which bucks the trend of laptops getting thinner. This makes room for the DVD drive, which was omitted from last year's model. The whole device weighs around 60g less, though, at a little over 2.3kg. It's not light then, so you might want to look elsewhere if you tout your laptop about everyday.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 lid

The laptop's lid will divide opinion, with a textured silver plastic that gives the effect of a robust build, but it doesn't look as good as last year's smooth, faux metal coating. The silver plastic used for the rest of the chassis doesn't feel like quality stuff, either, and there's a small gap between the palm rest and the keyboard tray, making a happy home for crumbs and hair. All in all, last year's model felt a lot better built, which is a surprising change in form for Dell.

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