This is the official TDF thread to discuss the new Dell Inspiron Turbo Laptops for high end entertainment segment. Powered by new 3rd gen Intel core-i5 and core-i7 processors.
Core-i5 3210M dual core 2.5Ghz (3M Cache, up to 3.1 GHz), Core-i7 3612QM quad core 2.1Ghz (6MB cache, up to 3.1 GHz) in Dell Inspiron 14R/15R Turbo and optional Core-i7 3610QM quad core 2.3Ghz (6MB cache, up to 3.3 GHz) in Dell Inspiron 17R SE
nvidia GeForce GT 650M 2GB DDR5 in Dell Inspiron 17R Turbo
AMD Radeon 7730M 2GB DDR3 in Dell Inspiron 15R Turbo and
nvidia GeForce GT 640M 2GB DDR3 in Dell Inspiron 14R Turbo
4GB/6GB/8GB DDR3 RAM at 1600MHz frequency options
500GB at 7200rpm in Dell Inspiron 14R Turbo
750GB/1TB at 5400rpm in Dell Inspiron 15R Turbo
1TB at 5400rpm in Dell Inspiron 17R Turbo
Standard 14" HD WLED True-Life (1366x768) display on Dell Inspiron 14R Turbo
15.6" HD WLED True-Life (1366x768) or 15.6" FHD Anti-glare options on Dell Inspiron 15R Turbo
17.3" HD WLED True-Life (1600x900) or 17.3" 3D Capable FHD WLED True-Life (1920x1080) on Dell Inspiron 17R Turbo
Review of mainstream Dell Inspiron 15R Turbo:
Dell introduced the new generation of Inspiron notebooks on June 5th 2012, at the same time as the updated Intel Core processors. While the last refresh didn't bring about any changes to the chassis, this time around the systems are a completely new design. It pays to be careful when shopping around: the name hasn't changed, so old and new models coexist (even on Dell's homepage). We would recommend looking at the chassis and the hardware rather than just the name.
The Inspiron Series R features plastic construction, the Inspiron Serie R Turbo on the other hand sports an anodized aluminum display lid and palm rest. This improves the feel of the unit and provides more rigidity. A non-glare FullHD-display is an option, as is a dedicated graphics card (Radeon HD 7730M with 2 GB dedicated memory).
The old Inspiron-series was the top-selling notebook-line for the Texan manufacturer. At least partially responsible for the success: Switch, the interchangeable display lids offered in a variety of different colors and off-beat designs. The new models offer the same feature, but the lids are not compatible with the old ones.
The design is completely new. The unusual placement of the hinges, a distinctive feature of older Inspiron and Vostro models, has been abandoned in favor of a new design. The hinges are now located at the far back of the base unit. Unfortunately, the display lid still can only be tilted backabout 140°. The lid is made out of plastic which accepts the interchangeable aluminum covers as inserts. With the cover in place, the display is very resistant to any pressure applied. The hinges are strong and easily keep the display in the desired position.
The base of the unit, save for the palm rest, is made from plastic. The chassis is torsionally very rigid but the surface areas deform under pressure. Build quality could be improved: the top appears well constructed, on the sides we noticed uneven gaps. The locking mechanism for the battery is very solid and user friendly.
Most of the surfaces are non-glossy. The interchangeable aluminum cover and the palmrest are made from black anodized aluminum and feature an embossed (but subtle) honeycomb pattern. The sides are made from silver plastic. The three quick access buttons and the keyboard panel are painted glossy.
With Switch, Dell is trying to separate the Inspiron notebooks from the rest of the pack. Unfortunately, the selection of covers leaves to be desired. At this time, only a pink, a red, and a blue cover are available for the standard Inspiron 15R. Additional aluminum covers are not offered. The process of changing the cover is easy and thoroughly explained.
Port selection is above average. The front houses a card reader (compatible with SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC(+), MS (PRO), and xD). The right side is home to a Blu-ray optical drive in the front and two USB 3.0 and the Gigabit LAN jack towards the back.
The notebook is not particularly well suited for left-handers wanting to use an external mouse: the headphone- and microphone-jack, a regular USB 3.0 and one USB 3.0 that is always powered, are on the left side towards the front, followed by a HDMI port. A VGA port and the power jack are located behind the cooling fan outlet. No ports are located on the back.
The keyboard is different from the predecessor's: while the design is similar, the numeric keypad is missing. The keyboard is now the same one found on some Vostro models. A backlit keyboard, the same one the Vostro V131 features, is available as an option (40 Euro) on the top-of-the line model. Typing is a pleasure: the key travel is not too short and the feedback is solid.
Aside from the fairly big and backlit power button, the Inspiron features three shortcut buttons on the top right. The first one opens Windows Mobility Center, which provides an overview of frequently used settings. The second one opens a small window that lets the user choose a profil for the sound card (game, music, movie,..). The third key can be customized as desired.
The touchpad is adequately sized and allows for precise control. It features a definite (and easily felt) perimeter although the extreme borders don't respond that well. Multitouch is supported and works without issues. The driver properties allow for a plethora of configuration settings so the touchpad can be customized as desired. A key combination turns the touchpad off; a little orange light glows above the touchpad when it's deactivated.
The two mouse buttons are a pleasure to use. They offer clear tactile feedback and respond well even if not pushed dead-center.
Dell has two display options for the Inspiron 15R SE: one is HD with 1366 x 768 pixel, the other is fullHD with 1920 x 1080 pixel. Our test systems features the FullHD-display from AU Optronics.This screen (model B156HW2) is non-glare.
At the upper left of the display we measured 300 cd/m² - a value that we don't get to see very often. Towards the right the display brightness decreases: in the right-hand middle of the screen we saw 255 cd/m² - almost 50 cd/m² less. As a result, the display brightness distribution isn't very good. 84 % is still OK though and not something that's very noticeable during daily use. The average brightness is very high - not many notebooks can reach 280 cd/m². The display brightness range doesn't change even when the Inspiron is running on battery.
* Details of 15.6" 1080p display monitor
Maximum: 302 cd/m²
Average: 278.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 84 %
Center on Battery: 293 cd/m²
Black: 0.55 cd/m²
ICC File (X-Rite i1Display 2)
Distribution of brightness
The black value, at 0.55 cd/m², is also pretty decent. Combined with the above-average brightness, this results in a contrast ratio of 533:1. Photos and movies look a lot more vivid and text is easier to read.
The display does not adequately reproduce the professional color spaces. Neither sRGB nor the even more demanding AdobeRGB are covered. We don't think this is an issue for most users, as color spaces are more important to professionals working with graphics or photographers.
Dell currently offers two third-generation processors from Intel: the less expensive models feature the dual-core Core i5-3210M. This processor is already quite powerful and offers about the same performance as the Sandy Bridge-based Core i7-2620M. Those needing more performance can opt for a quad-core processor. Performance-wise, the Intel Core i7-3612QM is not (like the name would imply), between the i7-3610QM and the i7-3615QM. The latter processors have a TDP or 45 watts, whereas the i7-3612QM was designed for 35 watts. This means that the i7-3612QM is not quite as powerful, but it requires less cooling and is therefore suitable for thinner and more compact notebooks. Graphics power is supplied by an AMD Radeon HD 7730M with 2 GB of RAM. InstalledRAM varies by model - 4, 6, and 8 GB are options. The hard disk drive capacity is either 750 or 1000 GB.
PCMark evaluates the overall system performance. It is comprised of different test suites designed to cover as many performance areas as possible. Using the current PCMark 7, the Inspiron scores2318 points, which is identical to the Medion Akoya P7815, a system featuring the same processor, a better graphics card, but a slower hard drive.
The supposedly automatic switching between integrated graphics and AMD Radeon does unfortunately not work consistently. For quite a few games, we had to "force" the dedicated graphics card into action. Navigating the menu system to adjust these settings is still prettycumbersome, since only the last used programs are displayed and the user is forced to track down additional programs on the hard disk drive. This is one area where NVIDIA's Optimus is clearly superior.
The dedicated graphics card reached 1677 points in the latest 3DMark 11 test. This score puts it into the upper middle class. The NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M, featured in the Medion Akoya P7815 is a bit more powerful and scored 1879 points.
Dell heavily promotes the speakers in the Inspiron 15R. They are sourced from the US company Skullcandy and controlled using Waves MaxxAudio 4. The sound quality is definitely above average. Maximum volume is very high and the speakers never sound distorted. Unfortunately, there is no subwoofer in the Inspiron, so bass is severely lacking. While we can't recommend the Dell for audiophiles for that reason, for movie night or a presentation the system is perfectly usable.
Dimensions & Weight
Height: 30.3mm - 34.1mm (1.19 – 1.34)
Width: 378 mm (14.88)
Depth: 252 mm (9.92)
Starting weight: 2.766 kg (6.098lbs)
Dell India Links:
Dell Inspiron 17R Turbo
Dell Inspiron 15R Turbo
Dell Inspiron 14R Turbo
Guide to overclock Radeon HD 7730M GPU:
Caution: Do it at your own risk.