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Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD review: Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD

Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
7 min read

Editors' note: This review is part of our spring 2010 retail laptop and desktop roundup, which covers specific fixed configurations of popular systems found in retail stores.


Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD

The Good

Simple, straightforward design.

The Bad

Minimal port assortment; 802.11g wireless; no Bluetooth; glossy plastic chassis.

The Bottom Line

The Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD is a good, but basic, laptop.

The Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD is the epitome of a mainstream laptop. It offers no extras, and its component combination is sufficient for everyday office and entertainment duties. The Dell's design is nice and functional, and its ports and connections should be sufficient for most people shopping in this category. For the money, you could do worse; it's essentially a no-frills workhorse.

For a little more money, you can get features such as a larger or faster hard drive, slightly better performance, additional expansion ports, faster wireless, and longer battery life. (Just check through our roundup and you'll see what we mean.) However, if you're on a budget, none of that really matters and there's nothing disastrously wrong with the i1564-6980CRD. Its biggest crime is being basic.

Price as reviewed $679.99
Processor 2.1GHz Intel Core i3 M330
Memory 4GB, 1,066MHz DDR3
Hard drive 320GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Intel HM55
Graphics Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD (integrated)
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 15x9.8 inches
Height 1.3 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 15.6 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 5.5/6.2 pounds
Category Mainstream

The entire chassis of the i1564-6980CRD (and all Inspiron 15 models) is made of plastic. This isn't uncommon for mainstream laptops, but something about its construction makes it feel cheap and generic. The red lid, black display bezel, and silver faux-brushed-metal keyboard surround and palm rest are made of a glossy fingerprint-collecting plastic, while the laptop's bottom is matte black plastic. On the upside, the plastic keeps the system light, should you want to travel with it and not break your back.

At the top left of the keyboard sits a silver power button; there are no extra media controls or a button for turning on and off wireless. Instead, Dell clearly marks the function keys so adjusting things such as screen brightness and volume can be done quickly and you don't have to hit the Fn key. (A simple change in the BIOS settings under the Advanced tab will make the media controls the secondary function so that you'll have to hit the Fn key to use the media controls.) The keyboard is a decent size with a slim number pad on the far right. The keys are flat, but they don't have the separation you'd find on a Chiclet-style keyboard. The well-sized touch pad is an indentation in the palm rest with a textured coating allowing fingers to glide smoothly. Two adequately large buttons rise from within the bottom of the pad; however, their movement is a little mushy without a satisfying click.

The Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD's 15.6-inch glossy wide-screen LCD has 1,366x768-pixel native resolution, which is standard for laptops in this price range (while budget 15-inch systems typically have 1,280x800-pixel displays). It's perfectly adequate for most mainstream applications with easy-to-read text and icons. The LED-backlit LCD gets reasonably bright, too. Viewing angles off to the sides are pretty good, but like most displays in this class, you'll have to adjust the screen position to get the best contrast. Overall, the display's color and contrast performance is good.

At the top of the display are a functional Webcam and mic that performed OK in our informal Skype testing. However, the one thing that did surprise us was how loud the speakers are able to get without distortion--they have plenty of volume for movies, music, and games. They don't have any bass to speak of and they sound a bit empty, but for casual listening they get the job done.

Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD Average for category [mainstream]
Video VGA-out, HDMI VGA-out, HDMI
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 3 USB 2.0, multiformat card reader 4 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Expansion None ExpressCard/54
Networking Ethernet, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

If there's an area in which the Dell i1564-6980CRD comes up a bit short, it's in the port, I/O, and networking configuration. Competing laptop models have similar connection assortments to this Dell, but some have an ExpressCard slot, dual headphone jacks, and a USB/eSATA combo port. Probably the biggest error, though, is the use of an 802.11g wireless adapter instead of an 802.11n adapter. Also, Dell didn't include Bluetooth with this Inspiron, which seems to have disappeared from most of the recent mainstream laptop models we've tested.

The i1564-6980CRD is a retail system and is not configurable at time of purchase. However, on Dell's Web site you can configure the Inspiron 15 with a faster Core i5 processor, more storage, software, and select from three other color options: black, blue, and pink. The Inspiron's memory is expandable to 8GB and can be easily added via a removable panel on the bottom of the system.

The Core i3 processor and Intel GMA HD integrated graphics in this laptop provide decent performance for general computing tasks. However, for some reason, this Dell performed slower in our performance tests than other models with the same CPU, GPU, memory amount and speed. Dell dedicated only 32MB of system memory for the graphics, which may have something to do with its performance. Regardless, it didn't seem to have any trouble keeping up with most home and office tasks. It handled streaming audio and video well enough, and multitasking didn't cause any significant system slowdowns. We had no problems playing back AVCHD high-definition movies at full screen, either. That's not to say you can't overtax the system--it's not a high-end gaming laptop or media workstation after all--but it should be able to easily accomplish most day-to-day computing.

Annual power consumption costs

Juice box
Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD Average watts per hour
Off 0.4
Sleep 1.3
Idle 13
Load 45.8
Raw kWh Number 51.5
Annual power consumption cost $5.85

The battery life of the i1564-6980CRD wasn't great at 2 hours and 22 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, using the included six-cell battery. This test keeps the hard drive constantly in use, so you can expect longer life from casual Web surfing and office use. However, if you're looking to do a lot of work or play away from a power outlet, you'll probably want to invest in a second battery pack.

Dell includes an industry-standard, one-year, parts-and-labor warranty with the system, and the Dell Web site has a robust collection of support tools, including online chat, a Flash-based question widget, and 24-7, toll-free telephone support. Retail stores offer a variety of extended warranty plans with your laptop purchase, but they're generally expensive and hard to use, so we do not recommend them.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:
Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.13GHz Intel Core i3 M330; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 32MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 320GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

Dell Studio s15z-2249CPN
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.26GHz Intel Core i5 M430; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Toshiba Satellite A505-S6025
Windows 7 Home Professional (64-bit); 2.13GHz Intel Core i3 M330; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 310M; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

HP Pavilion dv4-2165dx
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.13GHz Intel Core i3 M330; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Toshiba 7,200rpm

HP Pavilion dv7-3165dx
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.5GHz AMD Turion II Dual-Core M620; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 320MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4200; 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm

HP Pavilion dv4-2155dx
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.13GHz Intel Core i3 M330; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 320GB Western Digital 7,200rpm

Asus U50F-RBBAG05
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.13GHz Intel Core i3 M330; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,696MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 ULV; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce G210M; 500GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite E205-S1904
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.26GHz Intel Core i5 M430; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 64MB (Dedicated)/1,695MB (Total) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite P505D-S8007
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 2.3GHz AMD Turion II Dual-Core M520; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz;


Dell Inspiron i1564-6980CRD

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 6Battery 6Support 7