Dell Inspiron 15R review: Dell Inspiron 15R

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The Good Great performance; bright, colourful display.

The Bad Battery life isn't great; not the classiest design.

The Bottom Line The Dell Inspiron 15R's battery life isn't great, and its design is unlikely to set your heart aflame. But we were really impressed by the performance of this 15.6-inch laptop, given its price.

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7.5 Overall

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Dell's Inspiron line-up is a staple of the mid-range laptop world, traditionally offering a little extra in the style department compared to rivals. The Inspiron 15R (N5110) is a 15.6-inch machine that has interchangeable lids, and some surprisingly nippy components stuffed inside. Depending on the configuration you opt for, it'll set you back somewhere between £430 and £680. Our review unit appears to be a high-end model, though as with most Dell kit, there's a great deal of customisability when you order from the online store.

Killer curves

The design is recognisably Dell, with a small lip at the back of the laptop jutting out beyond the screen hinge. Dell offers a wide range of colourful lid designs, but our sample was a demure grey, with a brushed effect.

Rounded edges are the order of the day. Thanks to curves on almost every edge, the 15R is almost impossible to poke your eye out with.

If you're worried about poking your eyes out on your laptop's corners, the curvy 15R could be a sound choice.

The interior features plenty of glossy black, while a chrome trim surrounds the keyboard, and a white LED sits beneath the power switch. All things considered, we think the 15R is a fairly stylish machine for the price.

The build quality seems reasonable, which is good to see -- Dell occasionally disappoints in this area. There's not much flex in the lid or the keyboard, and the whole chassis feels reasonably sturdy, even if it does look quite plasticky.

The 15R measures 343 by 34 by 246mm, so it's not particularly thin. It's not that light either, with a weight of around 2.4kg. Still, it's reasonably portable, and you won't have any trouble lugging it around with you on your daily adventures.

That said, the machine's battery life is less than impressive. We put the 15R's battery to the test by running the CPU at a constant 100 percent in the Battery Eater Classic test, timing how long it took for the juice to evaporate. The machine managed just 1 hour and 15 minutes before kicking the bucket. While you'll get much longer battery life with ordinary use, this figure isn't great as a minimum benchmark.

Lid astray

Dell makes much of the 15R's interchangeable lids, but we're not convinced. We'd be surprised if anyone buys a laptop with the aim of switching lids. The various designs are pricey too, with the cheapest lids costing a shocking £30 and the pricier versions setting you back £40.

Perhaps our fingers are unusually frail, but we really struggled to get the lid cover off the 15R at first. After that, the mechanism seemed to ease up slightly, but our initial struggle makes us question the removal process.

All things considered, we don't think the ability to swap lids is much of a selling point.

Colourful character

The 15R's 15.6-inch display has a 1,366x768-pixel resolution, which is standard for laptops of this size. The screen is very colourful, though, with a fairly wide horizontal viewing angle. We're pleased to report, too, that our test video looked rather spiffing on this panel.

We also liked the large, responsive trackpad, and we didn't mind the click buttons either -- they feel quite loose, and move around in their housing amount, but at least they're not stiff, so you won't find your fingers getting sore after a heavy scrolling session.

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