Dell Inspiron 1525 review
Dell’s Inspiron 1525 has been sitting on our A List for two months, and with good reason. It’s a simply superb budget laptop. But with another hundred pounds to play with, can Dell keep the £499 competition at bay?
Ignoring our review sample’s horrid lime green hue lid – you can choose from a wide selection of colours – it’s clear Dell has got the design of the 1525 just right. The lid’s matte finish feels great and the smoothly curved edges immediately make the Inspiron look more expensive than it is. Build quality is good, too, and despite a little flex in the base, there was no sign of any undue creakiness.
The keyboard is an undeniable highlight and the combination of responsive keys and good layout is the best on test. The cherry on top is the row of touch-sensitive media playback buttons on the keyboard’s top-right edge. Only the soft-feeling trackpad buttons are a worry, but they’re easy to get used to. The glossy 15.4in panel shares its rivals’ 1,280 x 800 resolution, and while contrast is lacking, colour accuracy is spot on. Skin tones looked natural and whites suitably white, but the lack of contrast did tend to crush finer detail.
Performance, courtesy of the Intel Core 2 Duo T5550, puts the Dell near the front of the pack. A result of 0.92 in our benchmarks is fast enough for most tasks, and only the Intel GMA X3100 graphics holds back 3D performance. Older games may be playable, but forget about the likes of Crysis.
Battery life is streets ahead of all here but the NEC and Vye laptops. Light use stretches to an impressive five and a half hours, and heavy usage saw the 1525 survive for 1hr 16mins.
Elsewhere, the 1525 is a solid choice. The 250GB hard drive is generous and the array of ports is among the most comprehensive on test. There’s even a little remote control, which allows you to control media playback from a distance.
So, why hasn’t the Dell taken the top spot again this month? It simply comes down to the fact that, at this price, Samsung’s R700 offers even more. If the Samsung is too large, though, and the Toshiba’s battery life too brief, the Dell remains a worthy alternative.