Dell Inspiron 15-5558 review

The Inspiron 5000 Series is the middle of three ranges of business laptops from Dell, with the 3000 Series representing the value models, and the 7000 Series as top Inspirons. Here's our Dell Inspiron 15-5558 review. See also: Best laptops to buy in 2015

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Dell Inspiron 15-5548 review: build and design

We tested the popular 15in size from the 5000 Series, the 5558 just updated by Dell. There are several configurations from which to choose, all based on the same tough casework. It weighs 2.4kg and feels heavier – in a good way, the stiff chassis suggesting it could withstand wear, yet with thoughtful touches like full-length rubber feet ridges on the underside for a stable platform.

A black tiled keyboard with clean action sits on a rubbery grey top deck. The buttonless trackpad was unusually precise, unlike its 5548 predecessor whose cursor could fly off course when clicked. Also changed since the last model, the 5558 model now includes a DVD writer on the right of the chassis.

 Dell Inspiron 15-5548 review

A half-depth removable plate covers the underside, allowing access to key components: hard disk, memory and wireless adaptors. This model had 8 GB on two cards, a Toshiba 1TB HDD, along with single-stream 11ac Wi-Fi.

There’s a choice of screens, all sensibly non-touch; low-res 1366 x 768 or FHD. Dell is coy on what technology is used, but the full-HD screen in our sample had the decent contrast and off-axis viewability of an IPS panel. Its colour gamut was only 61 percent sRGB but contrast ratio was up at 500:1.

Options for connectivity include just one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0, HDMI 1.4a for full-rate video to 1440p, gigabit ethernet, and SDXC card slot. Our sample had Windows 10 Pro installed.



Dell Inspiron 15-5548 review: Performance

The Core i5 processor is clocked at 2.2 GHz, rising up to 2.7 GHz Turbo when required. The Inspiron will get a little noisy when stressed, a single fan spinning loudly to maintain cool.

Geekbench 3 scored the Dell with 2802 and 5539 points respectively for single- and multi-core operation. PCMark 8 turned in average results, 2291 points in normal Home test, which actually drooped to 2263 points using the GPU to accelerate OpenCL tasks.

The main processor includes HD Graphics 5500 and some models include switchable graphics like the Nvidia GeForce 920M with 2 GB DDR3 in our sample.

The discrete graphics capability means you can also play Windows games, with some care in settings to find a workable framerate. Batman refused to run but Tomb Raider managed 37 fps set at 1080p resolution and Low detail; or 43 fps at 1366 x 768 and High detail.

The Inspiron 15-5558 could have better battery life – it lasted less than five hours (4 h 55 min) in a wireless video test.

In use the Inspiron 15 actually felt surprisingly fast and fluid, unusual for a hard disk-based PC. It was helped along by a high-quality trackpad and excellent screen, providing essential comfort in the human interface to the laptop.

Dell Inspiron 15-5558: Specs

  • 15.6in (1920 x 1080) 141ppi matt antiglare display
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U (2.7 GHz Turbo) dual-core with HyperThreading
  • nVidia GeForce 920M with 4GB DDR3 + Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • 8GB (2x 4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB 5400 rpm SATA SSHD (Toshiba MQ01ABD100)
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11ac, 1x1 MIMO (Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • DVD±RW, tray-load (PLDS DU8A5LH)
  • 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
  • HDMI 1.4a
  • Kensington Security Slot
  • SDXC card slot
  • stereo speakers
  • 0.9Mp webcam and mic
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • UK tiled with numberpad
  • buttonless trackpad, 105 x 80mm
  • 40Wh lithium-ion battery, non-removable
  • 65W mains charger with IEC C5 inlet
  • 379 x 260 x 26.5mm
  • 2404g
  • 15.6in (1920 x 1080) 141ppi matt antiglare display
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U (2.7 GHz Turbo) dual-core with HyperThreading
  • nVidia GeForce 920M with 4GB DDR3 + Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • 8GB (2x 4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 RAM
  • 1TB 5400 rpm SATA SSHD (Toshiba MQ01ABD100)
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11ac, 1x1 MIMO (Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160)
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • DVD±RW, tray-load (PLDS DU8A5LH)
  • 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0
  • HDMI 1.4a
  • Kensington Security Slot
  • SDXC card slot
  • stereo speakers
  • 0.9Mp webcam and mic
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • UK tiled with numberpad
  • buttonless trackpad, 105 x 80mm
  • 40Wh lithium-ion battery, non-removable
  • 65W mains charger with IEC C5 inlet
  • 379 x 260 x 26.5mm
  • 2404g

OUR VERDICT

The Inspiron 15-5558 straddles budget and midrange laptop camps, depending on configuration, asserting excellent build quality and decent performance as you’d expect of a £500+ design. The screen is one of the best you’ll find on a laptop around this price too.

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