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When I reviewed the Dell Inspiron 15 (I7559-763BLK) in 2016, it was the most powerful and reasonably priced laptop that easily earned our Editors’ Choice award for budget gaming laptops. Its successor, the Dell Inspiron i5577-5335BLK-PUS, boasts even better gaming performance on all but the highest settings with its full HD display and discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card. And, it has an all-round aptitude that allows it to perform daily work and media tasks, when you’re not playing.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 our Editors’ Choice, sits at the very top of the price for the category, and does offer a significant increase in gaming performance for the price. But if you want to play and work at the same time, the Inspiron i5577 is among our Top Pick for entry-level gaming laptops.
Having an all-metal premium build wasn’t ever in the card for the Inspiron 15 5000 Series –especially at this price range, but Dell managed to craft a pleasing design, without taking the cost high. The Inspiron 15 comes in a black body with red and accents and logo. The body is all plastic, but it has a soft finish on the lid and a generally sturdy body that prevent it from feeling cheap. Overall, this simple but stylish design is more preferable to, say, the Acer Aspire VX 15, which comes off screaming gamer and boxy despite the solid gaming performance.
Measuring 0.99 by 15.7 by 10.43 inches (HWD) and 5.6 pounds, it strikes me as relatively slim and light, which is very reasonable for a gaming laptop. Last year’s model was slightly trimmer (1.0 by 15.1 by 10.4 inches), but all you are getting is essentially the same size and looks, with improved performance.
For a 15-incher, it is portable enough that you won’t scream at the prospect of carrying it around. While it’s slim, there exist more compact 15-inch laptops out there, though the 14-inch Razer Blade is an ultimate example of what’s possible when manufacturers decide to slim things here-and-there, but it comes with a price tag.
Display and Keyboard
The Dell Inspiron’s 15.6-inch screen is impressive. To some extent, TN panels aren’t that popular since In-Place Switching (IPS) panels benefit from color and wide viewing angles. We didn’t expect a touch screen on such a budget system, but we’re still contented with the FHD (1920-by-1080) resolution and gets an anti-glare coating. A 1280×720 webcam makes for a few moments of filming videos or chat with your friends on Skype, with Waves Maxx Audio Pro for clear sound output.
It uses a standard full-size spill-resistant keyboard with a separate numeric key pad. In the Inspiron 15 line-up, backlit keyboards are an optional feature, while it doesn’t add anything to performance, it’s still a nice feature to have. The keys themselves are of good quality, though with, rather, short key travel. The touchpad has a smooth feel; and sturdy, though its positioning is slightly offset to the left.
Connectivity and Storage
Connectivity is excellent. The system comes with three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out is also present, an SD card slot, an Microphone inputs. It doesn’t get a DisplayPort, and a USB-C port is missing, but it’s the few tradeoffs to have the system affordable. For the slim design, it isn’t practical to have an optical drive, so you’ll have to get an external DVD drive for your downloaded games. Wireless connectivity comes via 802.11 A/C + Bluetooth 4.2 adapter; wired connectivity comes via an RJ-45 port.
For storage, you have a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD). While it doesn’t offer tons of real estate for your files, its speedy than mechanical hard drives. We expected a hybrid storage option, whereby they fuse and SSD with a spacious hard drive, but if they did that the system will break the budget category.
You’ll be hard pressed to find more value for your buck than the Inspiron 5335BLK-PUS’s 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ CPU (quad-core), 8GB of memory, 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 at this price. It is the prime choice for general productivity and multitasking, with more than adequate resources. Its fresh Kaby Lake processor stiffs admirably on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional tests, scoring 2831 points, holding it against Core i7 systems like the Acer Predator 15 and even the pricier HP Omen 17. In the second half of 2017, we’ve seen systems with better performance in the same category, but they’re pricy. Afterall, afterall it’s not a world of difference for daily productivity like web browsing, word processing or enthusiast-level photo editing.
Given the new graphics system, though, we’re more interested in the 3D and gaming performance. With the new GeForce GTX 1050 graphic card, Nvidia adds an entry-level range model to its GPU line-up in early 2017. It belongs to the Pascal generation, with support for DirectX 12. It features a 4GB GDDR5 VRAM, making it a better performer over its predecessor the GTX 960M. The Inspiron 15 performs about 10 percent better than the ASUS ROG G752VT-DH72, thanks to the new GPU and efficient cooling system that allows the system to seamlessly clock higher speeds.
The system is muscular enough to play modern PC games smoothly. It won’t give you the butter-smooth frame rates you’d get from high-end systems like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S (GX531GS-AH76), but it still delivers playable frame rates on Full HD resolutions –Resident Evil 7 (58FPS); GTA V (67 FPS) and Need for Speed (63 FPS). If you intend to run games in 4K on an external display, the GPU might disappoint. It isn’t cut for such a requirement, you’ll have to look at a notebook with a GTX 1060, like the Predator Helios 300, or even better, a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080.
On battery life, the Inspiron will give you around 7 hours 38 minutes. That’s remarkably longer that competitors like the Acer VX 15 (5:28) among others. Machines with better graphics performance, such as the Asus ROG (G752VT-DH72) and the Origin EON15-X, only last a little more than 2 hours given their processing power combined with large, hi-res screens sucking up power.
Bang for Your Buck
While the Dell Inspiron i5577’s components are far from the most powerful round, its sweetly combines a strong build quality, performance and good battery life, setting a new bar. It’s sleek, offers useful port options –lack of USB-C notwithstanding, it packs the newest graphics technology, all while straying comfortably affordable. The display is the weak spot, but I don’t think alone it’s a deal-breaker, period. If you’re shopping on a budget but still want a machine that can cruise new games, it’s certainly tough to beat this value. A recommendable choice for anyone hunting for an inexpensive gaming laptop.
Dell Inspiron i5577-5335BLK-PUS
The Dell Inspiron i5577-5335BLK-PUS is configured to play modern titles in full HD, has amazing battery life, and is reasonably priced for the value hunters. It’s one of those deals that are hard to beat for a budget gaming laptop.
- Attractive design
- Aggressively priced
- Crisp 1080p gaming performance
- Lacks USB-C