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Dell Inspiron 1545 review

Alan Lu
7 Aug 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
349
inc VAT

A great budget laptop, with a relatively high-resolution screen. It's an ideal alternative to a netbook if you want something larger.

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We've seen the Inspiron 1545 before, when it had an older processor; otherwise, the specifications are virtually identical.

The two laptops have very different power consumption levels, however. The newer model is much more efficient, lasting for three hours and 48 minutes in our tests, as opposed to the previous battery life of under two hours.

The new 1545 scored 53 overall in our benchmarks. This isn't bad for a budget laptop, and is around three times quicker than the average netbook. We liked the simple design, with its glossy black case and rounded edges. Build quality isn't as good as we'd expect, with a worrying amount of flex in the lid and a slight bounce in the keyboard when typing.

Keys are large and well laid out, with a moulded shape that helps orient your fingertips on each one, and enough feedback to make for accurate touch-typing. Our only niggle is the way Dell has swapped the top row of function keys with hardware shortcuts, such as wireless and volume control, and media playback controls; however, this can be changed in the Windows-style BIOS. The touchpad is a subtle indentation on the case's surface. It's smooth and responsive, and the buttons are large, with a light action and plenty of travel.

The screen is a little dark, but colours are accurate and the backlight is nice and even. The 1,366x768 resolution is the same as many HD TVs, making the Inspiron ideal for watching television programmes. It also reduces the size of black bars in movies. Apart from an ExpressCard/34 slot and a memory card reader, the 1545 is on par with most netbooks when it comes to expansion ports: three USB ports, network and VGA ports, and audio ports.

It may lack frills such as a webcam, but Dell's 1545 is great value at £350. This is a special offer, but Dell always has a base model at this price, changing the processor, RAM and hard disk capacity from time to time. Due to the ever-changing specifications, we can't give the 1545 an award, but if you find it with these - or better - specifications, it's a superb buy, and a better choice than PC Nextday's Versa.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T4200
Processor clock speed2GHz
Memory3.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size43x372x243mm
Weight2.6kg
SoundIDT HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle15W
Power consumption active35W

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 4500M HD
Graphics/video portsVGA
Graphics Memory32MB

Storage

Total storage capacity160GB
Optical drive modelOptiarc AD-7580S
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11b/g
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/34
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedRoxio Creator DE 10.2, Microsoft Works 9, Cyberlink PowerDVD DX 8.1

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£349
Detailswww.dell.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.dell.co.uk

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