The Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition 7520 was released several months ago and since that time it’s been one of the most popular selling laptops from Dell. This is no surprise, pricing has been very competitive on a system that has a lot of high end features, making it a popular choice for those on a budget but that still want a laptop with some gaming capability performance. Case in point, I purchased the Inspiron 15R Special Edition a few weeks back during a sale event at Dell.com and got the 15R SE for a $599.99 price with the following specs:
- Processor: Intel Core i5-3210M 2.5GHz
- Screen: 15.6” matte with 1920 x 1080 resolution (Full HD)
- Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 7730M
- Memory: 6GB RAM
- Storage: 750GB 5400RPM HD
- OS: Windows 8
- Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n WLAN + Bluetooth 4.0 + Intel WiDi
- Weight: 6.4lbs
- Dimensions: 14.88 x 9.92 x 1.34 inches (w x d x t)
- Integrated 1.0MP web camera
- Battery: 6 cell 48WHr Li-Ion battery
There aren’t too many other laptops on the market for which you can get those kind of specs (just) below $600. It’s rare to find a Full HD screen laptop in this price range, and then when you consider it has a mid-level dedicated graphics card and Intel Core i5 processor the deal just gets better. There are more powerful configurations of the Inspiron 15R SE available with a Core i7 processor, but the AMD 7730M is standard across the line. Strangely there is no option to upgrade to a faster SSD and the hard drives available are all slow 5400RPM varieties. You can however configure an mSSD cache to help bootup speeds and since this is a 15” desktop replacement style machine it’s of course easy to remove the bottom and simply replace the hard drive with a faster SSD if you’re into that.
The build quality of the Inspiron 15R SE is also above what you’d expect for a budget laptop. It has an aluminum lid, keyboard area and metallic cover on the bottom meaning that you’re pretty well covered with a suit of armor here. The downside to that is the fact it makes the system heavy, 6.4lbs in fact. That’s quite a hefty weight, even for a 15” machine. Another downside to the 15R SE is the poor battery life, it clocks in at just under 3 hours on normal usage involving web browsing, downloading files, watching some video and doing productivity work. Still, given this is a desktop replacement style notebook the battery life might not be of much concern.
All this said, the main highlight of the Inspiron 15R SE might be its screen. The matte finish Full HD (1920 x 1080) screen is bright and gorgeous. The matte finish is especially appreciated, usually consumer notebooks have a horrible mirror like glossy finish that cause eye strain. Not so here. The colors are true and the contrast great on the display. It’s not an IPS technology screen, so viewing angles aren’t extremely wide, but they’re still above average.
For a more in depth look and for those that prefer to see imagery and listen to audio I put together a video review to cover thoughts on the Inspiron 15R SE, you can check it out below or see it directly on YouTube.
Bottom line, for those looking for a performance gaming laptop but that don’t have $1,000 to spend, if you watch the sales and coupons Dell offers on the Inspiron 15R SE you should be able to land a great deal on a solid performance laptop.
Link: Dell Inspiron 15R SE