Feeds
80%
Dell Inspiron 17R 17in Core i7 notebook

Dell Inspiron 17R SE 17in Ivy Bridge notebook review

Core i7 beast of burden

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The elephant in the room

There’s no such thing as an elegant 17in PC laptop, but the Inspiron has a good shot at it. The matt black finish and silver trim give it a neatly understated look, and my only real complaint about the design is that the keyboard feels a little cramped. The trackpad is pretty large, which is good, of course, but I reckon the trackpad could have been trimmed a little to make a bit more room for the main keyboard.

Dell Inspiron 17R 17in Core i7 notebook

If you really need portability, the battery can be swapped out

I was initially surprised by what appeared to be a relatively modest score of 2700 when running the PCMark 7 benchmark. Then I remembered that the Inspiron 17R is equipped with a conventional hard disk rather than the SSD units found in so many recent Ultrabook models. With the latter, the score can notch up by another 1000 points. Yet for an HDD laptop, it's in line with expectations and it’s also a 5400rpm drive, which does leave room for improvement if you need the capacity of a hard disk.

Other non-SSD Core i7 laptops – such as the Samsung Series 7 – deliver a similar score and, likewise, are more than fast enough to cope with routine web surfing and office work, as well as more demanding tasks such as video-editing. Furthermore, the Inspiron's GeForce graphics card achieved a speed of 80fps when running Far Cry 2, so it can handle some decent gaming action too.

Dell Inspiron 17R 17in Core i7 notebook

Desktop duties? As always, the big screen impacts on portable power

The only real weakness is battery life. The large screen inevitably requires a lot of power and looping PCMark 7 ran the battery flat in barely 75mins. However, Futuremark's Powermark battery benchmark returned a duration of 90mins. Resorting to Wi-Fi to stream BBC iPlayer video stretched that out to about 2hrs, but that’s still a long way from the 5hrs-plus that many smaller laptops now offer. To be fair, there aren’t many 17in laptops that provide better battery life, and with a weight of 3.28Kg it’s clear that the Inspiron 17R SE is primarily meant to live indoors and within easy reach of a mains plug.

Verdict

The battery life is underwhelming, but that’s the only real weakness in the Inspiron 17R SE. Its strong performance and large, attractive screen enable it to handle a wide range of tasks. Certainly, it will be a good choice for anyone that needs a desktop-replacement machine for the office or a versatile entertainment system at home. ®

More Notebook Reviews

Ten...
Ultrabooks
HP Envy 14
Spectre
Toshiba
Portégé
Z830-10N
Asus
Zenbook
UX31E
Dell
XPS 13

Intelligent flash storage arrays

80%
Dell Inspiron 17R 17in Core i7 notebook

Dell Inspiron 17R SE 17in Ivy Bridge notebook review

Attractive Core i7 big screen laptop for the office that features the extra muscle of the latest Ivy Bridge processors on-board.
Price: £929 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes
Buzzing board (and some future apps) leave a lot to be desired
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.