Although the Kaby Lake-powered machines are the latest craze, the Skylake generation of CPUs is still around and budget laptops sporting the 6th Generation are often the most sensible solution for the general user. That’s why we are doing a review of the ultra-budget Dell Vostro 15 3559, which should satisfy the needs of a the not-so-picky businessmen.
Its target audience is the same as the HP ProBook 450 G3 but still sells for somewhat lower price, which has also reflected on the features. The ProBook 450 G3 is probably the better choice all-around but don’t dismiss the Vostro 3559 yet. For its asking price, the notebook offers strict and simplistic design, discrete GPU if your line of work requires some extra graphics power and a decent battery performance. And what about the rest concerning business consumers? Let’s find out…
You can find some of the available models here: http://amzn.to/2hWaeyS
The notebook comes in a standard box containing the usual user manuals, AC cord and charging brick.
Design and construction
The chassis of the Vostro 3559 is identical to the Inspiron 3552. It’s so identical that even its dimensions and weight almost match with just 3 mm difference in height and a little bit over 200 gr in weight. Of course, the Vostro 3559 is the bulkier one since it uses a standard fan to keep the Core i5-6200U cool while the Inspiron 3552 we tested earlier this year had a passive-cooled Pentium N3700 processor.
Anyway, most of what we didn’t and did like about the Inspiron 3552‘s design and build stands true for the Vostro 3559 as well. We’ve got again the bouncy lid with textured plastic finish that attracts fingerprints and tight hinges, which don’t allow one-handed opening of the laptop. The bottom piece once again gives access to some of the hardware like HDD and RAM via a service cover.
The sides follow the usual design signature for Dell’s lower-end lineup with a glossy finish and flat shape. Though, the port distribution is quite different from the one on the Inspiron 3552. The left side adopts the LAN, VGA, USB 3.0 and an SD card reader. Whereas the right side goes along with two USB 2.0 connectors, 3.5 mm audio jack and the optical drive. The profile measures at 24 mm so portability is definitely a feature here.
Continuing with the interior, we find the same textured somehow soft-touch plastic finish around the keyboard and touchpad. The material ensures rigid base with no apparent flexibility in the keyboard section and palm rest area but still attracts too many fingerprints and smudges. Speaking of the input devices, the keyboard feels a bit mushy with less than optimal key travel and no feedback to compensate for that. You might think that we are overreacting for a laptop at this price range but since it’s business-oriented, we expect nothing less than comfortable typing experience. On the contrary, the touchpad feels pretty nice without wobbles and offers light mouse clicks and responsiveness. The surface isn’t exactly the best for gliding your finger across it but it’s a small setback to consider.
Again, there’s nothing special about the notebook’s design and the only thing that we genuinely liked is the rigid base and comfortable touchpad. The rest is just okay and we would like the future model with more appropriate keyboard for the target audience.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
Since the Inspiron 3552 and Vostro 3559 share the same casing, the disassembly process is identical. You will have to remove all the screws around the bottom but keep in mind that there are some under the optical drive, service lid and the battery. Then, proceed by popping out the keyboard as there are several screws beneath it as well.
The only difference is that the Vostro 3550’s motherboard is flipped face up and the cooling design is slightly different.
Storage upgrade options – 2.5-inch HDD
As representative of the low-end segment of the market, the Vostro 3559 features only one 2.5-inch slot for HDD or SSD. Our unit came with 1TB Seagate HDD>
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD||Seagate 1TB HDD (5400 rpm)||Upgrade options|
Surprisingly, the motherboard holds two slots for RAM, one of which is occupied by an 8GB DDR4-2133 SK Hynix chip.
|Slot 1||4GB DDR4-2133 RAM||Upgrade options|
|Slot 2||Free||Upgrade options|
The Wi-Fi card is easily accessed by removing the service lid.
But as far as the battery is concerned, you won’t need any tools to access it. It’s held by a lever switch and it’s rated at 40Wh.
The cooling design is fairly simple – just a big cooling fan pushing the hot air out of the chassis through a big vent opening on the side. The fan is connected to the CPU’s heat sink via a copper heat pipe.
The notebook uses a TN WXGA panel with HD (1366×768) resolution manufactured by LG Philips with model number LP156WHU-TPA1. This means that the pixel density is just 100 ppi and the pixel pitch is 0.253 x 0.253 mm. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 86 cm.
There’s a noticeable color shift under a 45-degree angle as you can see in the image below.
We measured a maximum brightness of just 183 cd/m2 in the middle of the screen and 190 cd/m2 as average so the maximum deviation is just 12%. It will be sufficient for indoor use but if there’s a strong light source or if you are outside working, you will find it uncomfortable. The matte finish will reduce the glare, though. And as far as color temperature is concerned, it’s deviating from the optimal 6500K. We measured 7590K so colors will appear colder than usual. The contrast ratio is extremely low measuring just 280:1 before calibration and 240:1 after.
The maximum color deviation dE2000 is 2.4 in the left part of the screen. Values above 4.0 are unwanted.
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. To start, there’s 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 is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors 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.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The sRGB coverage of the screen is 56% and it’s presented with a yellow dotted triangle in the graph below.
Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut before and after calibration.
We created the “Office work/Web design” profile with a target color temperature of 6500K (D65), optimal gamma under sRGB mode and 140 cd/m2 luminance.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the Office & Web Design profile.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the Gaming & Movie Nights profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
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 recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 18 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse Width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
Our equipment was able to detect pulsations from 0 to 99% screen brightness but at higher than usual frequencies making it relatively safe for working long hours. However, some users with extra sensitive eyes might feel the 20.3 kHz flickering.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our specialized article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SDP) graph.
We were expecting mediocre performance from the panel, considering the price range of the product, and most of the drawbacks like excessive blue light emissions, PWM, color inaccuracy, gamma and color temperature can be fixed by installing our profiles. However, the low maximum brightness and extremely low contrast ratio can’t be fixed with just a software tweak and you might have to settle in this regard.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for Dell Vostro 3559 configurations with 15.6″ LG Philips LP156WHU-TPA1 (HD, 1366 × 768) TN screen, which can be found at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2hAHK1e
*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.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office work / Web design
If your field is office work or web design, or you just want your monitor's color set to be as accurate as possible for the Internet color space, this profile will prove to be useful.
Gaming or Movie nights
We developed this profile especially for occasions on which you spend a lot of time in front of your monitor with some games or watching movies – it will be easier for you to discern fine nuances in the dark.
This profile reduces the negative impact of pulsation and the blue spectrum, securing your eyes and body. You still get a pitch-perfect color image, albeit slightly warmer.
The sound quality is good for this class without any noticeable distortions and high and low frequencies.
The specs listed below are for this particular unit and may differ depending on your region
|CPU||Intel Core i5-6200U (2-core, 2.30 – 2.80 GHz, 3MB cache)|
|RAM||8GB (1x 8192MB) – DDR3L, 1600 MHz|
|GPU||AMD Radeon R5 M315 (2GB DDR3)|
|HDD/SSD||1TB HDD (5400 rpm)|
|Display||15.6-inch – HD (1366×768) TN, matte|
|Connectivity||LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11bgn, Bluetooth|
|Thickness||24 mm (0.95″)|
|Weight||2.39 kg (5.27 lbs)|
Dell Vostro 15 3559 configurations
We used a freshly-installed Windows 10 (64-bit) when testing the unit and if you also wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading the latest drivers from Dell’s official support page.
The Vostro 3559 relies on a 40Wh battery unit when it’s off the charger, thus the endurance of the machine of your everyday tasks will be slightly above the average for this price range. The notebook scored a runtime in the web browsing test. Of course, all tests were performed with the usual settings – Wi-Fi running, Windows battery saving feature turned 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.
Just around the average for this price range – 332 minutes (5 hours and 32 minutes).
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Considerably lower but still on par with the competition – 291 minutes (4 hours and 51 minutes).
We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
Of course, the gaming test took a toll on the battery – 111 minutes (2 hours and 51 minutes)
CPU – Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel Core i5-6200U is a 6th generation dual-core CPU. It is manufactured using 14 nm FinFET process, meaning it’s part of the Ultra-Low Voltage lineup.The CPU is clocked at 2.3GHz, but thanks to the Turbo Boost technology it could automatically increase its clock speeds up to 2.8GHz for a single core and 2.7GHz when two cores are functioning. It is designed using Intel’s Skylake architecture allowing it to have similar performance to Intel Core i7-5500U, which is part of the Broadwell lineup. The CPU boasts four logical cores and 3MB level 3 cache. It consumes 15W of energy and can operate at a maximum temperature of 100 degrees Celsius.
The SoC also integrates Intel HD Graphics 520. Its performance is similar to that of NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 820 GPU. The GPU can be clocked at up to 1000MHz. The SoC supports the Dual-Channel DDR3L-1600/DDR4-2133 Memory Controller, HyperThreading, AVX, AVX2, Quick Sync, Virtualization and AES-NI technologies.
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-core-i5-6200u/
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i5-6200U scored 5.480 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess 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 – AMD Radeon R5 M315 (2GB DDR3)
The AMD Radeon R5 M315 is an entry-level dedicated graphics card often found in low-end notebooks for multimedia and business. The chip is manufactured on the 28nm node from TSMC containing 320 shader units, 28 ROPs and 112 TMUs clocked at 970 MHz. It’s still unknown whether the GPU is based on GCN 2.0 or GCN 1.2.
The chip is equipped with 2GB of DDR3 VRAM clocked at 1800 MHz making it suitable for some light gaming. However, some of the latest games will be playable only at lower resolution and minimum graphics settings.
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/amd-radeon-r5-m315-2gb-ddr3/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Although this isn’t a gaming notebook nor does it have a hardware to handle the latest games, the AMD Radeon R5 M315 can handle some light gaming every now and then.
|CS:GO||HD, Low (Check settings)||HD, Medium (Check settings)||HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||78 fps||47 fps||28 fps|
|F1 2015||HD, Low (Check settings)||HD, Medium (Check settings)||HD, Max (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||25 fps||18 fps||12 fps|
The two-staged stress test doesn’t represent real-life use but gives us a good hint of how the system handles higher loads and how the machine will fare in the long run.
We start with 100% CPU stress test but we saw nothing out of the ordinary. Normal temps, normal clocks. At first, the chip was able to maintain its maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 2.8 GHz but eventually toned down to 2.7 GHz.
Things didn’t change as much, as far as the CPU is concnerned, when we switched on the GPU stress test but the same cannot be said about the GPU. While the CPU temps climbed to 90 °C and maintained maximum operating frequency, the AMD Radeon R5 M315 was going up and down from 870 to 970 MHz, which can be considered as throttling. However, due to the nature of the laptop and its intended use, we can’t really say this is going to be a problem for the end user.
Surface temperatures were abit too high, especially for a business-oriented notebook and the hottest area was around the left side and the center of the keyboard. However, this shouldn’t be of any great concerns since the laptop isn’t and will not be used for gaming or other demanding tasks for long periods of time.
Dell decided to go on the safe path with the Vostro 3559 with a familiar design, features and specs. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to handle things in the emerging low-end market. Now, there are far more lucrative offers like some of the HP ProBook 450 G3 configurations or the refreshed ASUS X556UQ notebook with Core i5-7200U and GeForce 940MX GPU. For a few extra bucks, you can even opt for the durable Latitude 3570, which is superior to this one in almost every aspect. You might also want to consider the Acer Aspire E5-575G, which fared pretty well in our tests and might probably be one of the best budget solutions we’ve reviewed so far. A pretty close call with the ProBook 450 G3 actually.
Don’t get us wrong, though, the Vostro 3559 is a pretty good bargain for the small business, but lately, “good” just isn’t enough. Why settle for less when you can have more than just a good touchpad and decent battery life. Our main complaints are the keyboard, build, subpar display quality and probably the inefficient discrete GPU. Still, some of the screen issues can be fixed with our custom profiles – the Health-Guard profile will eliminate the PWM while the Office/Design Work will correct the huge inaccuracies in color reproduction. With that being said, the relatively lower price is the main advantage over its competitors.
You can find some of the available models here: http://amzn.to/2hWaeyS
- Good touchpad
- Relatively low price
- Decent web browsing runtimes
- Display with low contrast and low maximum brightness
- PWM from 0 to 99% screen brightness (Health-Guard profile fixes that)
- Inefficient GPU
- Spongy keyboard