Introduced not long ago, the new Dell 11 3000-series laptops are built with one major feature in mind: cost-effective portability. They chose to ditch large processors in favor of smaller, newer, more energy efficient ones in order to save battery life among other things.
A few considerations
As I’m looking at the spec sheet of the new Dell Inspiron i3158-3275SLV, I can’t help but be impressed by the assortment of hardware the guys at Dell managed to fit in this small notebook, while simultaneously keeping the asking price relatively low.
It’s important to notice that not only is this a true laptop (featherweight, powerful enough, small and very useful on the road), it’s also a non-detachable 2-in-1, essentially meaning the screen can act as a tablet and has a number of ways in which it can be used: standard laptop, tent, presentation and tablet.
There are more than one configuration for this type of Dell notebook, however. There are 3 types of processors available: Intel Pentium, Intel Celeron and Intel Core i3, 2 configurations of system memory: 2 gigabytes and 4 gigabytes and another 3 types of storage technologies: a 32 gigabyte eMMC, a 500 gigabyte hard drive and the 128 gigabyte solid state drive.
The notebook I chose to review today, the Dell Inspiron i3158-3275SLV comes with the top choice from all three categories, so we can consider it as a flagship device for the series it belongs to. Not only that, but I also think the price difference between the models is too small to warrant buying anything other than the top model.
Great hardware combo
The Dell Inspiron i3158-3275SLV comes equipped with a 6th generation Intel Core i3-6100U processor, one I haven’t seen much on other devices yet. It has a cache size of 3 megabytes and a clock speed 2.3 gigahertz. It’s worth mentioning that unlike the ubiquitous i5-6200U CPU, this one doesn’t have Intel’s Turbo technology, but despite that missing feature, the i3-6100U comes impressively close to its older cousin in benchmark tests. This CPU will allow for moderate to intense use of the installed programs, managing moderate multitasking with ease.
The small notebook comes with a comfortable 4 gigabytes of system memory installed. Unfortunately, there is no more room to add another RAM module. However, that amount should be enough for any average user and serves the purpose of a portable-oriented device well enough. Windows 10 won’t have any issues with it and neither will any other apps, except for maybe image processing, vectoring or rendering programs.
Speaking of combos, the final touch is the solid state drive. It is the single most important piece of hardware that isn’t yet featured on most consumer oriented laptops. The Dell has it, and it’s great. Considering the size of it, I suspect we’re talking about a small factor, M2 SSD. Storage space is rather limited, at 128 gigabytes, but it shouldn’t prove to be a hurdle when using it. There are modern solutions to solving this issue, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and many other free cloud storage services.
Design, form and function
The Inspiron i3158-3275SLV is features a clean, uncluttered and minimal design which works great in the context of a device that’s supposed to make life easier. Everything from the chassis to the perfectly spaced keys whispers quality and deliberate design choices.
Dell says all the components are thoroughly tested to ensure a prolonged use time and increased durability. For instance, the hinges are especially praised. They’re required to withstand thousands of rotational movements and yet manage to keep their tension when opened slowly and not make the bottom half of the laptop to rise with the screen.
Being a 2-in-1 notebook means the aforementioned hinges must support 360 degrees rotations. There are four modes in which the Dell can be used: laptop mode, tent mode, presentation mode and tablet mode. So, no matter what you’re planning to do with it, be it writing a report, reading an interesting article on the internet or sharing the screen with your peers, the Dell Inspiron i3158-3275SLV will work beautifully.
The 11.6 inches touch screen features an LED-backlit HD display, generating a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, quite adequate for a screen this small. You can imagine it will be difficult to watch video content without squinting your eyes, but it does come with an HDMI port, so connecting it to an external monitor/TV is very easy and straightforward.
Talking about function, this thing comes with only one USB 3.0 port (which supports the Powershare function) and two standard USB 2.0 ports. No Ethernet connectivity options are available, but you do get 802.11ac wireless LAN.
Portable and long lasting battery
Aside from the great hardware specs and fortunate design choices, the one thing this laptop handles best is portability. It only weighs 3.1 pounds or 1.4 kilograms. Light enough to take around everywhere you go without feeling overburdened by it. Having a small screen of just 11.6 inches means it will also fit in most handbags and messenger bags.
Battery life is awe inspiring: the Dell will hold a charge for up to 11 hours, a figure similar to Dell’s successful XPS ultra portable ultrabook series. All that for about half or a third of the price, depending on the chosen configurations. Eleven hours is enough for a full day’s worth of work getting done, making this impressive notebook an ideal choice for travelers, students, business professionals and people who are generally on the road a lot.
|Product||Dell Inspiron i3158-3275SLV|
|CPU Name||Intel Core i3-6100U|
|CPU Type||Dual Core|
|CPU Speed||2.3 GHz|
|CPU Cache||3 MB|
|Installed Memory||4 GB|
|Maximum Memory||4 GB|
|Memory Type||DDR3L SDRAM|
|Total Memory Slots||One Slot|
|Storage Capacity||128 GB|
|Storage Type||Solid State Drive|
|Storage Technology||SATA III (6Gbit/s)|
|Screen Type||Touchscreen LCD|
|Display Technology||IPS, LED-Backlit|
|Screen Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics Processing Unit||Intel HD Graphics 520|
|Graphic Card Type||Integrated|
|Graphics Memory||Shared, max. 1.7 GB|
|AUDIO & VIDEO|
|Speakers||2 Stereo Speakers|
|NETWORK AND COMMUNICATION|
|Wireless LAN||802.11ac WLAN|
|USB Ports||1 x USB 3.0
2 x USB 2.0
|Headphone/Mic||Audio Combo Jack|
|Multi Card Slot||Yes, 2-in-1 Card Reader|
|Pointing Device||Precision TouchPad|
|Battery Type||Built-In 3-Cell Lithium-Ion|
|Battery Capacity||43 Whr|
|Maximum Battery Life||Up to 11 hours|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||11.08″ x 7.90″ x 0.76″|
Scores, Pros and Cons
- Long lasting battery
- Good build quality
- Great CPU, RAM and SSD choices
- Value for money
- No full HD display
All in all, I think the Dell Inspiron i3158-3275SLV is probably the most attractive notebook right now, accounting for all the factors I’ve taken into consideration in my review. It’s light, powerful, battery holds a charge for half a day, it’s insanely practical and the build quality is impressive. All this for a 2-in-1 that’s under $550 at the time of this review.