Dell Inspiron 15 3552 review – a solid low-end performer
If you thought notebooks can’t get any cheaper, think twice. In the last few months, we did reviews on some ultra-budget notebooks that cover the bare minimum for your daily activities and costing just a fraction of what other laptops cost. You can check out Lenovo’s Ideapad 100, Dell Inspiron 5545, Acer Aspire E15 (E5-573) and even the most affordable Lenovo Yoga 500 that features roughly the same hardware but costs a little bit more due to the 360-degree rotating hinge.
Anyway, the laptop won’t surprise you with spectacular hardware but the provided quad-core Pentium N3700 CPU will handle most of your daily work and even multimedia as the laptop offers HDMI connectivity so streaming movies won’t be a problem. Also, the build quality isn’t bad at akk and the input devices are one of the best we’ve seen in this price range. Here’s how the laptop performed in our thorough tests.
You can find more about the notebook’s price and availability here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
The laptop comes in a standard box with the usual user manuals, AC charger, charging cable and the notebook itself.
Design and construction
The laptop is entirely built out of plastic but with a different finish. It’s relatively light (2.4 kg) for a budget model and pretty thin (21.7 mm) so it can easily compete against other alternatives on the market like the Lenovo’s Ideapad 100 and Acer Aspire E15 (E5-573). But the overall design is much different than those two.
Typically for Dell, the Inspiron 3552 looks pretty strict and minimalistic without many design features. The lid features textured black plastic with Dell’s logo in the middle and also bends a little bit too much under pressure, but that’s quite common for this price range. Fingerprints are also pretty visible, unfortunately. The hinges are really tightly pulled so opening with one hand is impossible. The bottom holds a big service lid that gives easy access to the HDD, the single RAM slot and the Wi-Fi module.
On the contrary, the sides are flat and feature glossy finish while providing the bare minimum of ports and quite good distribution. The left side holds the DC charging slot, the main exhaust vent, SD card reader, HDMI and the USB 3.0 port. And this leaves only the 3.5 mm audio jack and the other two USB 2.0 ports on the right side.
This leaves only the interior, which is covered in the same textured plastic as the lid. It feels pretty solid and the keyboard tray isn’t as flexible. Unfortunately, the problem with the easily visible smudges persists but more importantly, we have excellent keyboard and touchpad experience at hand. The keys offer long enough key travel, good spacing and you’ve also got the usual media player buttons at your disposal. The touchpad is just perfect or “perfect” for this price range. Still, the touchpad doesn’t wobble, it registers all gestures and swipes pretty accurately and clicking is just a delight – it’s not stiff and most of the surface register left mouse click. It’s pretty funny how Dell managed to implement an excellent touchpad while some other high-end models on the market can’t even get close to that one in terms of comfort and usability.
Display and sound
Dell Inspiron 3552’s screen uses a TN panel with HD (1366×768) resolution in a 15.6-inch diagonal, which means that the pixel density is 100 ppi and 0.253 x 0.253 mm pixel pitch. It’s manufactured by CHI MEI with model number 53 MPX-156BGE. The screen can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 86 cm.
Of course, viewing angles aren’t good due to the use of a TN panel.
We measured a maximum brightness of 257 cd/m2 in the center of the screen and 232 cd/m2 appeared to be the average on the surface. This means that the maximum deviation is -17%. At least, the color temperature is pretty close to the optimal – 6550K as D65 is 6500K. So the maximum color deviation (dE2000) compared to the center of the screen with 100% sRGB and 100% brightness, is 4.4 in the upper-right corner and in the upper-middle. Anything above 4.0 is considered to be a big deviation but since this notebook isn’t intended for optimal color reproduction, we can let it pass.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. Starting with the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy. Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that has been used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used by professional cameras, monitors and etc. for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
The Inspiron 3552’s display covers only 49% of the sRGB color gamut before calibration and reached 54% after calibration. Since more than half of the colors are missing, you can’t expect vivid colors.
Below you will see practically the same image before and after calibration. Color circles represent the reference colors and white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut. The profile has been set to 140 cd/m2 and optimal white point – D65 (6500K).
The contrast ratio before calibration was 380:1 and got down to 320:1 after calibration.
Below you can see the results from the accuracy color checker with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. The results are before and after calibration.
Gaming capabilities (Response time)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We’ve measured Fall Time + Rise Time = 20 ms, which is a tad slower than most TN panels on the market.
Pulse-width modulation (PWM, Screen flickering)
Unfortunately, the panel uses PWM from 0 to 99% with what’s considered to be aggressive pulsations at 260 Hz. Higher the frequency, the better. This means that most users will feel the negative impact from the screen flickering.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for Dell Inspiron 3552 configurations with 15.6″ CHI MEI 53MPX-156BGE (HD, 1366×768) TN screen, which can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
[edd_item edd_id_1=’69205′ edd_id_2=’69208′ edd_id_3=’69211′ edd_id_4=’69214′]
The TN panel presented in this model has nothing too special but given the price point of the product, the results from our tests were definitely expected. We’ve seen some mid-range laptops with almost identical specs to the one presented here so we can’t really get too picky on this. You will be met with uncomfortable viewing angles, low maximum brightness, more than half of the sRGB gamut is not covered and the contrast ratio is sub-par. However, the color temperature aligns almost perfectly with the optimal one. And last, but not least, the screen appears to have PWM across all brightness levels, except 100%, of course, and the frequency of the pulsating light is quite low – 260 Hz, which is considered to be aggressive.
The loudspeakers provide excellent clarity in high frequencies but lack the that crisp sound in the mid and lows.
The specs sheet may vary depending on your region.
|CPU||Intel Pentium N3700 (4-core, 1.60 – 2.40 GHz, 2MB cache)|
|RAM||4GB (1x 4096MB) – DDR3L-1600|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics (Braswell)|
|HDD/SSD||500GB HDD (5400 rpm)|
|Display||15.6-inch (39.62 cm) – 1366×768 (HD) TN, glossy|
|Connectivity||LAN 10/100 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Thickness||21.7 mm (0.85″)|
|Weight||2.14 kg (4.71 lbs)|
We used a freshly installed Windows 10 (64-bit) for the writing of this review and you can find all the needed drivers on Dell’s official support page.
You can definitely count on the big battery in this thing. Well, 40Wh might not seem a lot but it sure does the job for the energy-efficient and not so powerful processor with iGPU and the simple HD TN panel. Those two are the main power consumers and the battery unit holds off pretty well. You can see the runtimes below – they are considerably above average for the price range.
All tests include were run using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, power saver switched on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
Surprisingly good result – 458 minutes (7 hours and 38 minutes).
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Almost an hour lower than the previous test but still an excellent result – 396 minutes (6 hours and 36 minutes).
We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
Even when it comes to gaming, the laptop is durable – 172 minutes (2 hours and 52 minutes)
CPU – Intel Pentium N3700
Intel Pentium N3700 is a mobile processor suitable for budget notebooks and Chromebooks. It is part of the Braswell generation from Intel and it’s a successor to the Bay Trail CPUs. The most notable improvement is the manufacturing process – it shares the same technology as the Broadwell family CPUs, 14nm FinFET manufacturing process. The new Braswell family aims to bring more power-efficiency and lower thermals in the lower-end segment of the notebook market.
The Pentium N3700 CPU has 4 cores ticking at 1.6GHz and thanks to the Burst Frequency technology can go up to 2.4GHz. All four cores are designed upon Airmont microarchitecture and share 2MB of L2 cache size. The CPU also integrates 8th generation Intel HD Graphics GPU with a normal frequency of 400MHz and can go up to 700MHz. That makes TDP of 6W for the whole SoC, including the memory controller that can handle up to 8GB of DDR3L-1600. The CPU also supports Virtualization technology, as for the GPU – Intel has implemented support for DirectX 12 and Open GL 4.2. Furthermore, the GPU can handle up to 3 external displays up to 4K resolution, while internally the display must be at 2560 x 1440 via eDP.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-pentium-n3700/
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Fritz is a chess benchmark which tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Pentium N37000 managed to get 4.068 million moves per second. For comparison, one of the most powerful computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – Intel HD Graphics (Braswell)
An integrated GPU used in all CPUs part of the Braswell generation. The GPUs frequency can vary a lot – from around 300MHz to up to 700MHz, depending on the model of the processor. It has 16 EUs (Execution Units) and its architecture is almost the same as the one on the Core M CPUs (while the Core M’s graphics integrate 24 EUs).
The GPU can support up to 3 displays with a maximum resolution of 4K, but internally can handle only 2560 x 1440 (QHD) via eDP. The external displays can be connected via HDMI or Display Port. Other major features include the support of DirectX 12 and Open GL 4.2.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/intel-hd-graphics-braswell/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
This test can’t be a good representation of a real-life usage but it gives us a good grasp of how the system handles higher and longer workloads. Also, it gives us a hint about the stability of the system in the long run.
We start off with 100% load on the CPU for an hour and as you can see on the graph below, the system was able to utilize all four cores at their maximum operating frequency (2.4 GHz) for the whole duration of the test. Temperatures were a bit high, though – 83 °C.
Results were almost identical after we turned on the GPU torture test along the CPU stress test. The CPU maintained maximum operating frequencies while keeping enough headroom for the GPU and temperatures rose just two more degrees.
Expectedly, the temperatures on the surface were low as the hardware inside isn’t much of a heat generator.
The Inspiron 3552 is definitely a solid performer with little setbacks along the way. In terms of design and construction, the laptop impresses with relatively light and compact dimensions, some parts also feel pretty flexible and smudges stick pretty easily around the whole surface. Still, this is very common for this price range, but what’s uncommon are the surprisingly good input devices. The keyboard and touchpad are pretty comfortable to use.
And what about the hardware? Well, the TN panel on this thing won’t leave you breathless – big surprise – but the battery performance will go beyond your expectations, that’s for sure. We would like to note that the screen also uses PWM with really low frequency, which can be considered as aggressive. So using the screen at maximum brightness most of the time is advisable. And at the end, the quad-core Pentium N3700 will do just fine with your daily tasks and some light multimedia on the side utilizing the full set of features and capabilities. We can easily say that it’s just a better version of the former Dell Inspiron 5551. The updated processor makes the laptop your money worthwhile.
You can find more about the notebook’s price and availability here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
- Relatively thin and light
- Excellent touchpad and keyboard experience
- Outstanding battery runtimes
- Good CPU utilization
- Good value if you are looking for an entry level laptop
- Smudges stick easily
- PWM from 0 to 99% at 260 Hz
- LAN port missing
I have had this laptop for 3 weeks and every time I use it I want to throw it across the room. its slow and mousepad/touchpad stalls…basically you can’t even use it to surf internet let alone do some real work on it. its sept 2017 and I agree with every comment here that this is a piece of JUNK!!!!!!
An SSD will help a lot in your situation.
Nope. The CPU is too much of a bottleneck. The only this that will run remotely good on this is windows XP
may be you are an indian boy and have a bad karma on you….
Dell inspiron series laptops are really have good features & are in affordable range.
For starters, I have a Inspiron 3552 but it’s not the same machine as the one described above. 2 Main differences are: mine has a Pentium 3060 CPU, and mine has got a DVD drive. I bought it 2016, mainly as a computer to haul around to computing class. On top of that, I bought it with Linux pre-installed. No Windows for me on this one. It came with Ubuntu 14.04, and the price was 70 Euro LESS! than when ordered with Windows 10 Home. Windows does NOT come for free on your computer… I only paid €249,01. Tax &… Read more »
This is good computer. Entry level for sure, but it will play FF15 Pocket Edition. It does good for basic computing needs. I use it for photo processing too! For the price it can’t be beat. It is slow, but for basic computing needs its a solid performer for the price. I mean, for less that $250 I got a brand new laptop!
I just want to ask, is there keyboard backlight of dell Inspiron 15 3552, i keep on searching how to enable it bu?t i cant find anything.
Don’t waste your money. Get a good laptop
If you decide to accept this laptop, even as a gift you will rue the day you decide to take it in your hands. You have been warned! AVOID THIS GARBAGE FROM DELL!
Thanks for sharing such beautiful information I want to know more about this, I hope you will provide more information about this I am waiting so plz give me more information and keep writing. Thank you and good luck with the upcoming Blog