Review Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511) Notebook

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As a budget laptop buyer, you have to be prepared to sacrifice for the best value, especially when you are looking in the $ 300 to $ 500 range. Dell’s Inspiron 3000 series, however, has proven to be an exception, offering quality budget laptops at affordable prices. Like the 15-inch Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3505) we reviewed earlier this year, the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511) ticks a lot of the boxes that we look for in a budget laptop, including a 15-inch large screen. , 6-inch, one-to-swallow asking price of $ 323, and Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 11. Display aspects betray the laptop’s budget roots, but it’s a bargain. decent for the money if you really want a Windows machine on a Chromebook.


Well equipped and well built

The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511) is equipped with 4 GB of RAM, 128 GB of solid state drive storage, an integrated Intel UHD graphics chip and an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor. It wades into the shallow end of the graphics pool and comes with half the memory we’d expect from a decent laptop, but the processor is still a step up from the basement Celeron processor used in games. laptops even cheaper. Our entry-level test setup is available at $ 323, but there are setups available that include up to 12GB of RAM, an Iris Xe graphics solution, and up to 512GB of storage if you’re willing to spend. extra money. (Here’s how to choose the best laptop processor).

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The Model 3511 isn’t much different from the 3505, but that’s not a bad thing. The laptop’s chassis is well-built and sturdy, and the carbon black color gives the machine a sophisticated and uncluttered facade. At 3.8 pounds, it’s lighter than the scale of 15-inch laptops, though there are even lighter alternatives, like the 15-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. The 3511 measures 0.7 x 14.1 x 9.2 inches (HWD), so it’s average for its weight class. It may be wide, but it is hardly bulky.

It’s worth noting that Dell’s sustainability efforts have also found their way into laptops. The company says it is incorporating the use of post-consumer recycled plastics in its laptops, although it’s not clear how much has been invested in the laptop itself and where. The packing tray and packing materials, on the other hand, are made almost entirely from recycled paper.

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 Keyboard (3511)

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The performance chassis and design impress for a budget laptop, but the wins don’t end there. The keyboard is quite comfortable, with the slightest feedback when typing. You also get a dedicated number pad, and the whole board is even splash proof, a welcome addition that I didn’t put to the test. The buttonless touchpad is large and there is plenty of room on either side to rest your hands comfortably without any accidental contact.


More pixels, but not the brightest

A major difference between this model and the predecessor 3505 is the 1920 x 1080 pixel screen. The 15.6-inch Full HD anti-glare display is an upgrade to the 1280 x 720 pixel resolution of its predecessor and another feather in the hat of this budget-friendly performance machine. There’s no touchscreen option, but it’s not something you’d expect in this price range anyway. Unfortunately, the screen brightness isn’t that bright, registering a high of 261 nits in our testing. This means that despite the higher resolution than its predecessor, the laptop still makes images and videos look dark.

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511) Laptop Side View

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The speakers, located underneath the machine, are loud and clear for a laptop of this caliber, although hitting maximum volume makes the chassis vibrate. As for the quality, it is fair; tiny, but not unbearable.

The Inspiron 15 3000 comes with ports, although the omission of a USB-C port is disappointing. On the right side, you’ll find an SD card slot, a USB 2.0 port, and an audio jack (a combo-style headphone / mic).

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511) ports on the right side

(Photo: Molly Flores)

The left side has two USB 3.2 (Type-A) ports, one HDMI 1.4 port, and the power adapter connector.

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511) left side ports

(Photo: Molly Flores)

On the software side, the main attraction is Windows 11, Microsoft’s latest operating system. The Inspiron 15 3000 ships with Windows 11 S, a version of Windows that locks users into the Microsoft Store for app downloads. Fortunately, this can be easily reversed with a few clicks in the Microsoft Store app, bringing you full Windows 11. There isn’t a lot of bloatware on the computer other than a McAfee antivirus application.


Inspiron 15 3000 review: a bit of a budget brawler?

The Inspiron 15 3000 has performed well so far, but how does it stack up against its competition in our benchmark tests? To see, we compared the results of the notebook with those of four other budget systems tested in 2021: the VivoBook 15 and the Laptop L410 from Asus, the HP Laptop 14-dq2020nr and the MSI Modern 14. Despite some memory differences, all of these laptops range between $ 300 and $ 600 and share similar CPU and GPU configurations. (See how we test laptops).

Typically, one of the first benchmarks we run is UL’s PCMark 10. The large-scale benchmark suite simulates a variety of Windows programs to give an overall performance score for desktop and other workflows. Unfortunately, budget laptops normally don’t have enough memory to run the tests properly, so we couldn’t quantify performance for a comparison like we normally would.

However, the Inspiron 15 3000 managed to put a few numbers on the board, scoring 3,818 in the overall PCMark 10 test. A number between 4,000 and 5,000 is what we’re looking for here in a solid consumer machine. It doesn’t quite stick to the landing, but it doesn’t land too far either. The PCMark 10 storage test, on the other hand, was banned and did not work. We also omitted our usual PugetBench reference for Photoshop, which does not perform well on systems with less than 8 GB of memory.

Our comparison starts in earnest with our HandBrake 1.4 benchmark test. HandBrake 1.4 is an open source video transcoder for converting media files to various resolutions and formats. Because this is a CPU-intensive task, we don’t expect high numbers from budget laptops, which typically use weaker processors with fewer cores.

The Inspiron 15 3000 did not do very well here, arriving second to last, only the MSI Modern 14 doing worse. Of course, the chances of doing serious multimedia work on a budget laptop are unlikely.

Next test on our list is Cinebench R23, the multi-core benchmark intended to exercise all the cores and threads of a processor. The Inspiron’s Intel Core i3-1115G4 chip performs quite well, but is outperformed by the HP 14 laptop’s Intel Core i3-1125G4. The Asus VivoBook 15 sat on the bench for this test, because Cinebench would not work on hardware.

The Geekbench benchmark, another CPU stress test intended to simulate real-world applications, complements the productivity tests. The HP 14 laptop’s processor helps it grab the top spot here, but the Dell still manages to beat most of the competition.

Integrated graphics chips have come a long way, but graphics tests are still difficult to run on budget laptops due to weak GPUs and lack of memory. Nevertheless, we were able to run a 3DMark benchmark until the end.

The Inspiron 15 3000 did pretty well here, ranking first in its budget competition, while the Asus VivoBook 15 didn’t even make the grade. Night Raid is the more modest of the two test workloads, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics. Time Spy, the more demanding of the two, would not work on any laptop in our comparison group.

The Inspiron 15 3000 was also the only laptop in the group to successfully run GFXBench 5.0, another graphics stress test that performs low-level routines like texturing and high-level tasks like rendering images from game type to assess GPU performance. While other budget laptops failed, the Dell managed 15 frames per second (fps) in the 1440p Aztec Ruins test, but more than doubled its frame rate in the 1080p Car Chase test. While this is by no means a gaming laptop, the Dell can handle some undemanding games at 1080p at 30fps, as long as they don’t require too much graphics.


Adequate battery life

For our battery test, we are playing a locally stored copy of the open source Blender movie. Tears of steel on a 50% brightness and 100% volume loop, along with a few other battery test settings. If the laptop doesn’t have enough space to store a copy, we’ll play the movie from a drive. We also disconnect the Wi-Fi entirely, putting the laptop in Airplane mode.

The Inspiron 15 3000’s battery didn’t measure up to the competition, but not too bad, keeping pace with most other laptop choices except the HP laptop. 14-dq2020nr.

Finally, we turn our attention to the display and use Datacolor’s SpyderX Elite calibration tools to measure display performance. We test the display’s brightness output levels at 50% and 100% brightness, and measure gamut settings for the three color spaces most relevant to laptop users: sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3.

Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511) Bottom

(Photo: Molly Flores)

In this last test, the Inspiron shone the strongest, albeit slightly. The results were neck and neck across the board, but none hit the 500 nits level that the brightest high-end laptops are capable of.


Money well spent

The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 (3511) is a rugged, albeit run-of-the-mill budget 15-inch laptop. It improves on many of the issues we had with the previous 3505 model, and with the inclusion of Windows 11, the 3511 is already a cut above its competition. The lack of a USB-C port, inferior speakers, and dark screen are downsides to be aware of, but it’s still one of the best budget 15-inch laptops on the market, especially if the ‘it is considered to cost less than $ 400.

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