Dell Inspiron 3000 Laptop Series: Everything You Need to Know
If you're in the market for an entry-level laptop or a 2-in-1, then the Dell Inspiron 3000 Series is aimed directly at you.
These 64-bit Windows 10 devices come in a few different prices and configurations, so the capabilities can vary quite a bit. To help you narrow down your choices, we lay out the various options and look at what the reviewers have been saying.
Dell Inspiron 11 3000
If you start at the cheaper end of the 3000 Series spectrum, you'll find this compact budget laptop that starts at just $179.99. This sturdy plastic device sports a shiny blue, white, or red finish on the lid, which is eye-catching. It won't suit somber business environments, but it might be a good option for a student.
The laptop has an 11.6" screen with an underwhelming 1366x768 resolution, and under the hood there's an Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of eMMC flash storage. Your only configuration choice is to double the RAM to 4GB, but that takes the price up to $229.99.
The Inspiron 11 managed a 4 out of 5 at Laptop Mag, where the reviewer praised its "all-day battery life at a super-low price." PCMag described last year's (very similar) version as "a competent performer with all the basic features and functionality you want in a budget ultraportable laptop, plus 64-bit Windows 10, long battery life, and a sturdy build." It also named the laptop its Editors' Choice budget ultraportable, with a score of 4 out of 5.
Meanwhile, Computer Shopper scored it 3.5 out of 5, praising the portability and battery life, but bemoaning the screen, limited storage, and performance.
Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1
This colorful notebook has a 360-degree hinge, so you can prop it up easily, or fold the screen back and use it like a tablet. The 11.6" screen has the same disappointing 1366x768 resolution as the previous entry in this series, but it does support touch. The basic model costs $249.99, which gets you the Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of eMMC flash storage.
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A few configuration options are available: You can jump up to an Intel Pentium N3710 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive for an extra $120. Splash out $399.99, and you'll get the newer and faster 7th generation Intel Core m3-7Y30 processor.
When Laptop Mag tested the second config above, it scored 3.5 out of 5 and garnered praise for "great performance for its price" and "great audio" — though the reviewer complained about the battery life and dim display.
Dell Inspiron 14 3000
This laptop is the same as the Inspiron 11, except it sports a larger 14" display. You'll find the same disappointing 1366x768 resolution, along with an Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of eMMC flash storage. Builds start at $179.99.
Dell Inspiron 15 3000
When you jump up to the larger Inspiron 15 range, you have a choice of processors from Intel or AMD. These laptops boast a 15.6" display, but still only a 1366x768 resolution. The extra size also allows room for a DVD drive, which you won't find in any of the smaller Inspiron laptops.
We'll start with the slightly cheaper AMD configs. The base model has an AMD E2-9000 processor with Radeon R2 graphics, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive — all for $279.99. An extra $20 gets you the slightly faster AMD A6-9200 processor with Radeon R4 graphics; you can snag those same specs with a touchscreen display for $349.99.
If you're willing to pay $399.99, then you can jump up again to the AMD A9-9400 processor with Radeon R5 graphics, 6GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. Another $50 on top scores you the touchscreen version of that.
The Intel range has a slightly different structure. The base model is $299.99 and packs an Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. An extra $20 gets you the 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U processor. For $329.99, you can have an Intel Pentium N3710 instead. A 6th generation Core i3-6006U CPU with 6GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive costs $429.99. And at the top of this range, you can get the Core i5-7200U with 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $549.99.
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We've yet to see any reviews of the 2017 models of the Inspiron 15 3000 Series, but PCMag reviewed last year's version, which had an older 5th-generation processor, but was otherwise much the same. The reviewer gave it a 4 out of 5 and an Editors' Choice award, calling it "a capable desktop-replacement laptop with solid specs, plenty of storage, and long battery life."
Are These Laptops Worth Buying?
All in all, the machines in the Dell Inspiron 3000 Series are good entry-level laptops for shoppers on a tight budget. The general consensus from reviewers is the specs offer good value for the money, but the low-resolution screens are an obvious compromise.
Readers, do you have a Dell Inspiron laptop? If so, how has it worked out for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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