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Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series review: One of the most attractive budget laptops on the market

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 18, 2015
I have to hand it to Dell: In the category of "$500 laptops," the veteran manufacturer came pretty close to nailing a well-rounded machine with few major compromises.

And Dell actually fell to the similarly specced HP machine in both the Creative Conventional and Work Conventional tests--albeit by such a small margin as to be imperceptible. Here, Dell scored 1,933 and 2,436 respectively, with the HP 15t Touch posting scores of 2,000 and 2,485. (Though Toshiba blew past both with scores of 2,198 and 2,771.)

It's not a bad showing from Dell though. What you have in the Inspiron 15 5000 Series is an excellent balance between design and power. The only question, in my mind, is whether you prefer Dell's design or HP's.

The bloat

The bad news: The Inspiron 15 5000 is packed full of garbage software. The good news: It's (for the most part) Dell's own garbage software, so at least it's probably safe.

"Not a security risk" isn't synonymous with "not annoying" though--particularly the pop-up prompt to register your laptop with Dell. It always chose the worst times to manifest its presence.

You also get a McAfee which, let's just say, isn't the most loved antivirus app out there. And then there's Dropbox. Listen, Dropbox: I love your service. I use it literally every day. But the way you've infiltrated laptops with garish pop-ups begging me to set up an account and get "20 GB FREE STORAGE" makes me want to uninstall you from every single device I own and never use you again. Please, I beg of you: Find a less obnoxious way to recruit new customers.

The full list of third-party/Dell bloat reads as follows: Amazon, Kindle, McAfee, Dell Shop, Dell Backup and Recovery, Dropbox, Dell Learning Center, Cyberlink Media Suite, and Dell SupportAssist.

The verdict

The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series is perfect for our review purposes in that it's almost perfectly average. It's ever so slightly better than the by-the-books 15-inch laptop you'd expect to see at a circa-$500 price point, with a marginally better case design and performance than others in this set of reviews.

Does it excel in any one way? Not really. But it also won't let you down very often--provided you go in expecting the performance of a $500 laptop. It's a solid all-around machine and thus a solid choice for pretty much anyone in this budget, although it lacks some of the more specialized features found in certain competitors.

 

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