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Style: 4th Generation Core i3 / TouchPackage Type: Standard PackagingChange
Price:$404.54+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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185 of 196 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2014
I didn't want to write a review on this laptop until I had a chance to use it for a while. It has been a little over a month and I feel I can be fair now. First, it came with Windows 8.1, and my last computer had Windows Vista Home Premium (I went from one unpopular OS to another). It took me a while to learn how to get around, and to use a touch screen if I wanted. I have decided I like it pretty well, I use a mix of keyboard, mouse and touch. I heard a rumor that Microsoft will provide free upgrades to Windows 10 when that comes out, but who knows? There are some small gripes with this OS, but by and large it is good. Instead of a start menu you have a configurable start page, not really hard to grasp for me. You can't resize some of the app windows, a fault I don't mind much. I had to watch a couple or three tutorial videos first to find how to do some basic things, but it wasn't a major adjustment.
The laptop itself- I really like the sharp display, I am coming from a desktop with a larger monitor, but this still seems generously sized. I like having a numeral key pad, I find it much easier to enter numbers when using a spread sheet or even typing addresses. The wifi antenna seems to be quite good, I've never had a problem moving around the house or even outside with it. I like the touch screen interface- it feels good and works just the way I expect it to, a bit of laptop and a bit of tablet experience.

I don't like: a touch pad, I'll never get used to it and it seems like I inadvertently touch it and the cursor flies away somewhere. I might be able to disable it, I haven't gotten to that yet. I bought a wireless mouse from Logitech and it works very well. The NumLock button does not light up, there is no way to tell if it is activated or not- if you get the password wrong, was NumLock accidently de-activated? You could use the keys over the alphabet for password use, but why not a give us a little NumLock indicator light? The sound is not very good. I was used to external speakers with the old desktop and they sounded great. The tiny speakers with this are fine to hear what someone is saying, but not for enjoying music. Oddly, even when I plug in the external speakers to the laptop, the sound is not up to the old computer's. The CapsLock button is too close to the letter A. I often hit it by mistake and have to go back to make corrections. The onscreen keyboard- I can understand the purpose of it on a tablet, but this keyboard is not detachable and it is much easier to use than typing on the display screen.

Update:11/09 I was using my wife's Dell Latitude laptop from work and noticed her keyboard feel is much better than this one- the keys just respond and feel better, and it takes less effort to use. They're kind of "clicky" instead of rubbery, if that makes sense. Of course, that laptop cost four times what this one did.

Update:12/24 I found a few occasions when the onscreen keyboard came in handy- if you've got a cat on your lap and can't reach the keyboard, you can get it all done with the mouse! I've found the NumLock key is too close to the Backspace button and I accidentally hit it occasionally (that lack of a Numlock indicator light is in play here).
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167 of 180 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 7, 2014
This Dell i3542-5000BK ticks all the right boxes for a mid-range laptop. The i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and build quality are what I'd classify as the minimum you need for a decent laptop. Having a dvd-rw, touchscreen, and a nice selection of outputs round out the feature set for a laptop that is affordable, but feels up to date and doesn't disappoint. If you can stretch your budget another hundred or two, there are some significant upgrades you could easily get (i5, ssd, higher resolution, lighter or discrete GPU), but sub $ 500, this is an excellent choice.
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79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2014
I bought this to replace my aging Dell Studio 1555, whose hinges actually just cracked yesterday, luckily I've had this Inspiron for about a month now, so it's no big deal.

For background, I'm a college student who rarely takes this computer outside of his room, I have yet to "travel" with it, but I'm sure it's solid enough for trips back home.

Pros: Solid CPU, nice keyboard, strong hinges, has decent build quality, lightweight, fairly quiet, clear bright display, decent battery life (about 3-4 hours web browsing)

Cons: Touchpad is a tad quirky, glossy plastic surrounding the ports (easily scratched), no Gigabit Ethernet (only Fast Ethernet, but no big deal, if you need it you can always get a USB 3.0 Gigabit adapter)

I've installed an SSD (it can take a 9mm SSD, just be careful when installing, since you have to negotiate around the touchpad cable, I think) and upgraded to 8 GB RAM. This machine runs Windows 8.1 very nicely and has everything I expected from it. The performance is pretty good, it runs a virtual machine with Windows 10 Preview fairly well, although it can be a tad slow (though it could be because the VM is running off my external hard drive, and also, having the virtualization technology is very nice).

Is this the most well built or well featured laptop on the planet? No, but it gets the job done for someone who needs a decent desktop replacement laptop that will last for at least four to five years (my typical PC usage cycle).
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90 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2014
Got this for my wife as a replacement for a 4 year old Dell laptop. The weight difference was surprising.

light weight
good speed, fast enough for the basics, ms office work, browsing, etc.
dvd burner, card reader, many usb ports

resolution a bit low for the 15" screen size
Keyboard keys flat, so need to get used to typing on them.
Glossy screen (would have been nice to have non-glare screen)

Overall very happy with this purchase for the price.

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192 of 216 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2014
I was disappointed. I bought this laptop based partially on the positive reviews and was surprised and disappointed when I encountered problems. I noticed it was running a bit slow, right out of the box, so ran the "optimize drives" application. That application indicated that one of the drives needed to be defragmented, to be optimized , but it would not perform a defragmentation to optimize performance. Then, after looking online for a customer service number for Dell, (there was none included with the laptop paperwork), I spent 2 hours on the phone with Dell and was then told that I would have to pay for further support. They did not fix the problem either, so I am probably going to return this. I am quite disappointed that there was a problem and that Dell apparently does not offer free support for even a brand new product, still under warranty.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2014
I'm an Apple girl but I'm on a budget and needed a laptop for school right away. I am super happy with this machine. I use it mostly for research and writing but it's fine for watching movies as well. If you need a machine for basic internet browsing and to create documents, I think this is a great computer for the price. The graphics aren't as pretty and the body isn't as sleek as a Macbook but for the cost, I don't mind. I won't be storing any large files on it and I'll stick to my iMac for photo editing.

I wasn't sure I'd use the touchscreen but I love it! It comes with Windows 8 but you can use Windows 7 on it. I actually like 8 now that I've learned how to customize it so it works for me. My one complaint is the trackpad is crazy sensetive. I've adjusted the settings and it's a little better but I have to be careful or windows go flying everywhere!
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2014
Excellent workhorse laptop for anything besides graphic-intensive tasks, especially given the price point. Lightweight (!!), great battery life: 3-4 hours under word-processing load, 1-2 under moderate gaming load (CS).

My old HP had a chrome finish on the keyboard, and I radically prefer the harder plastic of this Dell because it is far less prone to being destroyed. Idles at around 45C, which isn't bad for a laptop (again, to refer back to my old HP, I was idling at 85). Full Keypad, decent sound.

My only only gripes are that
1) The max screen resolution could be higher
2) The combined microphone/earbuds jack. There's only one port for both, and I really prefer separate ones.

For the money, It's a keeper.
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79 of 89 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2014
Bought this to replace an HP with Windows 7 that was locking up. The Windows 8.1 wasn't too hard to get used to operating. Like the touch screen. As usual I don't like the mouse pad and keep it turned off and use a regular wireless mouse. I guess I am too lazy to keep my hands off the mouse pad when I am typing and it tends to screw up anything I am typing. Battery life is very good. I have had this computer for two months and am not sorry for the purchase.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2014
i really like my dell inspiron the arrival was fast and quick it meets my expiation it is a great computer it was all they said it was i love it...mary
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2014
I bought this as a home office computer to replace a 8 yr. old Gateway laptop. It runs 8.1 windows and I was able to use windows easy transfer to move my files to this machine with very little effort. I searched and waited and got a good price point that did not empty my wallet. I am very satisfied with it and recommend it to anyone who needs a computer for home office to manage bank, taxes, small business and medical events.
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