In the midst of supply shortages of PC components, the budget laptop game is fierce in 2021. For students seeking an affordable machine, the Dell Inspiron 15 3501 (we tested) is a low-frills but reasonably priced option. So, in this review, we will check if the Dell Inspiron 15 3501 is the best budget laptop.
Dell Inspiron 15 3501 Specifications:
- Design & Build: Plastic build, 14.33W x 9.80D x 0.78H-inches, 1.96 kg
- Display: 15.6″ WVA panel, FHD (1920×1080) resolution, 141PPI
- Keyboard: Standard Qwerty keyboard with number pad
- Trackpad: Plastic multi-touch trackpad, Windows Precision drivers
- Processor: 11th gen Intel Core i5-1135G7, 2.40GHz
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe (Integrated)
- Audio: Dual speaker setup
- Battery: 42Whr
- Power Supply: 45W adapter
- Webcam: 720p front-facing camera
- Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
- I/O Ports: 3x Type-A, 1x 3.5mm audio jack, 1x charge jack, 1 x RJ-45, 1 x microSD card, 1 x HDMI
Dell Inspiron 15 3501 Review:
Design and Build
- Plastic Build
- 14.33 x 9.80 x 0.78-inches, 1.96 kg
Starting with its design, the Inspiron 3501 has an all-plastic build body with average size big-screen laptop. Now, considering it’s a budget laptop there’s nothing fancy in its design. It has quite wide bezels on the top and bottom, while the sides get a slender plastic border. Given the prevalence of laptops in students’ hands, Dell has offered a matte textured design that does not attract fingerprints.
Now, with the lid open it measures 14.33 x 9.80 x 0.78-inches and weighs 1.96 kg. That’s slightly heavy for a fifth-grader, however, isn’t that different from similarly priced products. Over on the bottom, it has a suction chamber and the Inspiron logo at the center. Similarly, to prevent the laptop from overheating, the rubber feet at the bottom raise and elevate the laptop enough from the tabletop surface to allow airflow.
- 15.6″ non-touch WVA panel
- FHD resolution, 45% NTSC color
The display is where the quality is a bit of a letdown. It has a 15.6-inch panel with full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels) resolution, which is good, but the screen is a bit washed out. However, lowering the brightness helps matter a little. The panel doesn’t seem particularly sharp, either; perhaps it’s might be a result of the panel used, but the picture lacks a bit of saturation.
The viewing angles are satisfactory, as the laptop flaunts a Wide Viewing Angle (WVA) panel. Meaning, it does its job and the color tones aren’t that compromised even when viewing from sides.
Breaking the promise
Moreover, tweaking things a bit with the SypderX Pro color calibrator does help to retain the saturation of the content. But, what’s literally shocked me is that the panel can’t achieve its advertised brightness of 220 nits, and maxes out around 125-130 nits. Thus, expecting its use outside your room isn’t what I would recommend here.
- Full-sized keyboard, Spill-resistant
- Plastic trackpad
As for the keyboards, it fairly basic full-sized keyboard with a dedicated number pad. Like the chassis, the keys are made of rough, rugged-feeling plastic. Dell provides its keyboard with spill-resistant which protects the system by delaying the amount of time an accidental spill takes to reach the notebook’s mainboard. So, a small amount of juice that gets tipped over shouldn’t be a problem.
Now, the keyboard actually is quite stiff, so does need a firm push while typing. This isn’t a problem when you type for a short duration, but for a person like me, who has Google Docs opened for almost 9-10 hours, it’s kind of annoying; as the arms start paining on the long use.
The touchpad is pretty basic too with integrated left/right keys. However, Dell could have made it a bit smooth for the easy movements of fingers. Nonetheless, as I am a mouse-e boy, that’s doesn’t bother me a lot. Plus, I would advise anyone considering purchasing it to use a mouse as well.
- 11th gen Intel Core i5-1135G7, 2.40GHz
- 8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 256GB SSD
Getting to the performance, the device packs Intel’s latest-gen Core i5-1135G7 processor coupled with an 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 256GB internal storage. The chipset can hit a clock speed of 2.40GHz on normal usage, whilst can hit 4.20GHz on max boost.
This configuration is enough for my daily usages which includes 10-12 chrome tabs, a text editor, Adobe Photoshop, and sometimes Spotify to get stress-free.
As you folks are clever, you might ask me about its benchmarks. So, checking the read/write speed of Inspiron 3501, it’s fairly good. Likewise, on the Cinebench R23, it managed to score 3637pts on the multi-core while the single-core CPU test achieved pts. Summing it all up, for a budget laptop, these are admirable scores.
|Read (MB/s)||Write (MB/s)|
|CPU: Single Core||1116|
- 42Whr battery, 45W adapter
Moving on, a long-lasting battery is something a student praises then and now. And, the Inspiron 3501 ranks among the top ten in this aspect (at least in my list). In my usage, the 42Whr battery is enough for the device to provide 7 hours of screen on time. Consider it as the time without any power-hungry tasks like gaming. Likewise, the device gets charged with a 45Whr adapter which nearly took three and a half hours to fully juice up the battery.
- 3x Type-A, 1x 3.5mm audio jack, 1x charge jack, 1 x RJ-45, 1 x microSD card, 1 x HDMI
In terms of I/O connectivity, it comes with a healthy selection of ports. There are three Type-A ports, one 3.5mm audio jack, one charging jack, one LAN, one microSD card, and an HDMI port. However, the Type-C port goes missing on this device; which is a must-have option for 2021.
Dell Inspiron 15 3501 Review: Conclusion
Wrapping up this review, the Dell Inspiron 15 3501 won’t turn any head in terms of design, but all things considered, it’s a decent device in this price range. However, Dell should not skimp on the port options, as the Type-C port is something I always miss here.
On the positive end, it has a battery-life suitable for an office employee or for students. So, I would recommend this laptop for those who want all the essentials to get the job done, but don’t want to break their banks.
Dell Inspiron 15 3501 Review: Pros & Cons
- Value for money
- Decent keyboard quality
- Fairly good performance
- Good enough battery life
- Lacks screen brightness
- Sub-par trackpad quality
- Could have a more pleasing design