Dell Inspiron 15R 5520 full review

The Dell Inspiron 15R 5520 is one of Dell's first laptops to feature an Intel Ivy Bridge processor. This notebook uses the popular 15.6in form factor combined with a modern design. More budget laptop reviews.

This Dell Inspiron 15R 5520 isn't the slimmest of portables at 35mm thick, nor the lightest at just over 2.7kg.

However, we do like the rounded curves and stylish dark-grey brushed metal-effect finish. This can be found on the changeable lid; and again surrounding the keyboard, seamlessly merging into a slightly sunken trackpad. A pair of stereo speakers hide under the front edge of the laptop.

The keyboard is a reasonable size and we found the keys easy to type on thanks to the nice spacing and smooth action. We were impressed with the responsive trackpad which has multi-touch capabilities for scrolling and zooming, along with two separate buttons.

An attractive element to the Dell Inspiron 15R is its relatively low £579 price, which includes Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and pre-installed Dell software.

At this price we weren't surprised to find the build to be entirely plastic. The main body of the laptop is well built and feels quite solid though. However, the screen is far too bendy for our liking.

The Intel Ivy Bridge inside is a Core i5-3210M, a dual-core processor with Hyper-Threading and a clock speed of 2.5GHz (3.1GHz with Turbo Boost). This is accompanied by 4GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM and a 1TB 2.5in SATA hard disk. 

Dell Inspiron 15R 5520: Performance

This blend of hardware on the Dell Inspiron 15R 5520 produced a score of 150 points in our WorldBench 6 real-world benchmark, a very respectable result for a sub-£600 notebook. 

One of the advertised advantages of Ivy Bride chips is improved integrated graphics, and in the Inspiron 15R we find just the built-in Intel HD Graphics 4000 processor.

We set the Dell to some gaming tests, starting with our FEAR benchmark. This reported a disappointing average of just 20fps. Yet the Dell Inspiron 15R coped fine in our lo-spec Crysis test, using Low detail, 1024 x 768 resolution and DirectX 9, achieving a more than playable 53fps. Upping the detail to High dropped the frame rate to 18fps.

The Inspiron 15R comes equipped with a 15.6in TN screen with a 1366 x 768 resolution. The level of detail is good but we found two major issues that disappointed. The glossy finish presented too much reflection of lights and windows, and viewing angles were severely restricted, making it impossible to clearly view the screen from the side.

Other hardware features include four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and VGA video outputs, gigabit ethernet, and SD card reader, 3.5mm line-in/out and 802.11n Wi-Fi. The Inspiron 15R also provides a 1Mp webcam and tray-load DVD±RW optical drive. 

A 48Wh battery located at the back is easily removable, secured by to two thumb catches. We got nearly six and a half hours of usage from the battery – in the MobileMark 2007 Productivity test it lasted for 384 minutes.

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Dell Inspiron 15R 5520: Specs

  • 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-3210M (3.1GHz Turbo) dual-core with Hyperthreading
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 15.6in (1366 x 768) TN gloss
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 1TB hard disk, SATA 3Gbps
  • 4GB DDR3 1600MHz
  • gigabit ethernet
  • tray-load DVD±RW
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 1Mp webcam
  • stereo speakers
  • built-in mic, 3.5mm line-in, 3.5mm line-out
  • 4x USB 3.0
  • Kensington lock slot
  • SDHC, MS Pro card slot
  • 107 x 58mm, two button, multi-touch trackpad
  • InterVideo Win DVD 8, Dell Stage, Dell DataSafe software
  • 64W mains charger
  • 48Wh lithium-ion, removable battery
  • 2753g