Dell Inspiron 15 3511 review: a laptop capable of the best and the worst

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Martí Micolau
@martimicolau
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The Dell Inspiron 15 3511 laptop is an entry-level computer equipped with an 3th generation Intel Core i11 processor. Its 15,6-inch Full HD screen makes it the ideal companion for office automation.

Presentation



© TechnologiesTips


The Inspiron 15 is Dell's most affordable chassis. Far from XPS and Alienware, this model is above all affordable. No frills, it goes to the basics for just under €600.

Construction

The design of the Dell Inspiron 15 is particularly sober. Its all-rough black plastic shell is devoid of chrome or insert. Only a logo on the hull marks the membership of this laptop to the brand.
The plastic, a real magnet for fingerprints, is easily cleaned, but it scratches easily.




Rough plastic scratches easily. © TechnologiesTips

The opening reveals a keyboard with a non-backlit numeric keypad. The keys are made of the same plastic as the shell and the keystroke is decent. However, we regret a pumping effect of the keyboard, especially in the center of it, a sign of a lack of rigidity of the entire chassis. After inspection, it turns out that once closed, the back of the screen sinks significantly, like the keyboard.


The defects are not visual. © TechnologiesTips

The numeric keypad has a smooth glide. The two clicks hidden under the coating are noisy. Windows gestures with 3 and 4 fingers are perfectly taken into account, however the drag and drop is impossible to perform, the click being far too hard to maintain with the fingertip.

The connection consists of an HDMI port, an SD card reader, a USB 2.0 port and two USB 3.0 ports, a power socket and a mini-jack socket complete this set.



The connection is basic, it lacks a USB-C port. © TechnologiesTips


Wireless connectivity is made up of a wifi 5 chip (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 5.0. The 720p webcam doesn't perform miracles; details are blurred or even absent.


Despite good exposure, the whole lacks detail. © TechnologiesTips

The cooling of the small Intel Core i3 is done using a fan and a small radiator, a heat pipe connecting with the processor.
Thermal imaging does not reveal any real deficiencies in cooling. After 15 minutes of video encoding, the keys remain below 37°C, with a hot spot on the back of the processor, i.e. in the area of ​​the Z, Q, S and D keys. The evacuation of hot air on the right of the screen is obviously the hottest part, and remains below the 44°C mark.


The temperatures recorded are quite suitable. © TechnologiesTips


It is at the level of noise pollution that the shoe pinches. 38,5 dB recorded is 3 dB above the Asus VivoBook S513EA equipped with the same processor, which corresponds to a doubling of the noise pollution perceived by the human ear. Dell could have made an effort on this point.


Dismantling is carried out without difficulty by removing 8 Phillips screws. The shell then unclips easily, since two screws remain attached to it and raise it slightly once out of their thread.


All components are easily accessible. © TechnologiesTips

Two surprises on dismantling: the first concerns the presence of a single memory module, which will inevitably affect performance; we talk about it in the Performance section. The second, more appreciable, concerns the presence of a 2,5 inch slot, with screws and connection cable for an SSD. Apart from the processor, the rest is easily removable and replaceable.


Something unusual, the screws, the cradle and the SATA cable are provided. © TechnologiesTips

performances

Our Inspiron 15 3511 has an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor. It is made up of two hyperthreaded cores that can reach 4,1 GHz with a TDP of 28 W. Dell has accompanied it with a single 8 GB memory module, which has the consequence of reducing performance. A 256 GB SSD of 2230 format storage completes this configuration.


Processor performance index (the bigger the better). © TechnologiesTips

The performance of the Dell Inspiron 15 3511 thus equipped is not the most brilliant. Its index is only 34, or 18% lower than that of the Asus VivoBook S13 equipped with the same processor. A difference due to different elements, starting with the RAM (DDR4-3200 in both cases) which benefits from less bandwidth due to its use in single-channel on the Dell machine — the Asus is in dual- channel. The processor also plays a role due to a less aggressive turbo frequency setting, which, combined with an inefficient cooling system, results in a frequency that oscillates over a wide amplitude during heavy tasks.
It will therefore be necessary to reserve its use for office automation and video playback. Video games are obviously not his forte.

As usual, we tested Diablo 3 with all the details fully in 1080p which normally comes out with the honors on the graphics cards integrated into the processors. In this specific case, the Intel UHD and single-channel RAM allow you to painfully reach 13 fps. Overwatch isn't at the party either, even with all the details at minimum: 22 fps, the game is barely playable.

The SSD confirms the office skills of this PC with speeds of 2,3 GB / s in reading and 500 MB / s in writing. These are obviously not of an exceptional level, but give the Dell Inspiron 15 3511 sufficient responsiveness for Windows 10 and the opening of software in a fluid manner.

Screen

Dell has integrated a WVA panel with a definition of 1920 x1080 px in this laptop. This type of panel provides wider viewing angles than a TN panel, which normally equips entry-level PCs.


The screen occupancy rate is 79,45%. © TechnologiesTips

The performance of this WVA panel is quite common. The maximum brightness is 270 cd/m², which is currently the minimum for most manufacturers in this segment. Fortunately, the anti-reflective treatment is effective (average reflectance of 16,5%).

Regarding colorimetry, the delta E is high (delta E of 6), since it is twice the limit at which the eye can distinguish drifts. The contrast of the panel is also quite low (1014:1). In the dark, the displayed blacks are more gray than black. Finally, the color temperature is a little high: 6935 K, but nothing prohibitive, since the video standard is 6500 K.


From left to right, the gamma curve, color temperature and Delta E. © TechnologiesTips

Audio

The audio equipment is provided by two loudspeakers located under the chassis, with of course the problems inherent in this location. The sound reproduction will be influenced by the support on which the PC is placed. And very often, the hands placed on the keyboard stifle the sound volume.


MaxxAudioPro provides almost appreciable sound on this Dell Inspiron 15. © TechnologiesTips

Listening, the Pavilion 15 3511 offers a very correct sound reproduction, especially for the entry-level segment where it is placed. The rendering is all mediums, with a slight box and megaphone effect, but we are far from the disasters of some gaming PCs which nevertheless have much more room to integrate a decent audio system.

The headphone output is also mid-high, with enough output power to plug in high-impedance headphones.


© TechnologiesTips

Mobility / Autonomy

The Dell Inspiron 15 3511 measures 35,8 x 23,6 cm, is 1,89 cm thick and weighs 1,73 kg. The 65 W charger weighs 315 g and brings the whole thing to just over 2 kg. This 15,6 inch is not intended to be moved daily, it can however be moved from time to time without problem.


The charger is a bit dated. We would have preferred a USB-C charger to gain convenience. © TechnologiesTips

With its 41 Wh battery, we did not expect very long battery life from the Dell Inspiron 15 3511. Thus, following our test protocol (Netflix under Chrome at 200 cd/m², with volume at 50%) , the Inspiron turned off after 5 hours 40 minutes of operation. If you plan to leave for the day, it would be a good idea to take your charger with you.

Highlights

  • Significant scalability offered.

  • Surprisingly decent speakers.

  • From VA 1080p.

Weak points

  • Imperfect colorimetry of the screen.

  • Poor quality chassis plastic.

  • CPU performance not optimized.

  • The fan is heard.

Conclusion

Note globale

The Dell Inspiron 15-3511 is a laptop designed for office use. This is evidenced by the performance of its processor, which lacks a bit of pep to accomplish creative tasks. However, it will be suitable for basic use (internet browsing and video playback). We would have liked Dell to add a second RAM module to at least take advantage of the performance of dual-channel memory. Apart from this point, Dell delivers a copy that is just average.

Sub Notes
  • Construction
  • performances
  • Screen
  • Audio
  • Mobility / Autonomy
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