Notebookcheck

Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293 Notebook Review

Sascha Mölck (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 11/06/2014

Decent all around. The Inspiron 15 3542 is an inexpensive allrounder-notebook. Thanks to a powerful Core i5 processor and dedicated GeForce graphics card, even gaming is not out of the question. The battery life is very decent as well.

For the original German review, see here.

There is no shortage of inexpensive 15.6-inch allrounder notebooks. Every manufacturer has at least a few models for around 450 to 600 Euro (~$560 to ~$750) in their portfolio. Dell adds their Inspiron 15 3542-2293 to the mix. For about 530 Euro (~$660), the notebook comes equipped with a Core i5 CPU, a GeForce 820M GPU, and a 500 GB hard drive. How the notebook handles our tests and how it compares to the competition is the subject of our review.

This segment of the market is hotly contested and includes notebooks like the Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75 (AMD A8-7100, Radeon R6 M255DX) and the Acer Aspire E1-572G (Core i5-4200URadeon HD 8750M). Both notebooks are less expensive than the Dell and can be purchased for 430 Euro (~$540) and 480 Euro (~$600), respectively. Other examples are the HP Pavilion 15-p008ng (Core i5-4210UGeForce 840M) and the Asus X555LN-XO112H (Core i5-4210UGeForce 840M), which sell for around 600 Euro (~$750) each.

Case

The Inspiron sports a simple black plastic chassis. Most of material is matte, although the left and right sides of the base unit and the edges of the display lid are glossy instead. The back of the display is textured. We like the fact that the notebook has a maintenance cover, which makes accessing the hard drive and the RAM much easier. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer notebooks are equipped with one. The Inspiron's battery is removable.

We can't find many faults with the overall sturdiness or the build quality. The Inspiron is solid throughout, although it shares a few of the common weak points with other notebooks: the chassis flexes to the left of the keyboard, and neither the base unit nor the display lid are torsionally very rigid. When we twisted the display, the lid protested with slight creaking sounds and the picture changed slightly. Pushing down on the lid from behind impacts the picture as well. The hinges hold the display securely, although we observed some bouncing. We were able to open the display lid with one hand, as long as we jiggled it a little to aid the process.

Clad in black plastic.
Clad in black plastic.
The back of the display lid is textured.
The back of the display lid is textured.
The maintenance cover.
The maintenance cover.

Connectivity

The Inspiron is equipped with the common selection of physical ports. Both the Ideapad Z50-75 and the Aspire E1-572G are similar in that respect, although both feature VGA out as well and Gigabit Ethernet. The Inspiron has Fast Ethernet only.

Left side: Kensington loock slot, power jack, HDMI, Ethernet, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, audio combo-jack
Left side: Kensington loock slot, power jack, HDMI, Ethernet, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, audio combo-jack
Right side: card reader, USB 2.0, DVD burner
Right side: card reader, USB 2.0, DVD burner

Communication

Our review model is equipped with a WLAN module from Atheros, which supports standards 802.11 b/g/n. We didn't run into any reception problems and had a stable connections up to 15 meters around our wireless router. In our opinion, Dell should update the Fast Ethernet connection to a Gigabit Ethernet instead. Bluetooth 4.0 is on board as well. The integrated webcam, which supports up to 1280 x 720 pixels, is nothing to get too excited about, as pictures generally appears washed out.

Accessories

Included in the box are a quickstart guide and a security pamphlet.

OS

The Inspiron ships with Windows 8.1 (64 Bit) preinstalled. A recovery DVD is not included. Users who prefer Windows 7 can set up that OS as well since the drivers are included.

Maintenance

The Inspiron comes with a maintenance cover which is held by a single screw. Removing the cover reveals the hard drive, the WLAN module, and the system RAM. The notebook only has a single RAM slot, which of course is occupied. Swapping the hard drive out for a different one should be fairly simple.

Warranty

Users who buy the notebook directly from Dell Germany have their notebook protected against defects for 12 months. If the Inspiron is purchased from a dealer, the coverage period is a longer 24 months. Warranty extensions are available for both scenarios. Extending the warranty to 3 years in-home costs about 140 Euro (~$175).

Input Devices

Keyboard

The Inspiron comes with a chiclet-style keyboard which is not backlit. Something we didn't appreciate is the fact that the lettering of the special function keys (like volume control) is not a different color. We wouldn't have expected more from Dell as far as ergonomics are concerned. The flat, slightly rough keys feature short travel and a clear feedback, although the resistance could be a little higher still. When typing, the keyboard only flexes a little on the right side, although it's minor enough to not be bothersome. The Enter key is a bit on the small side, which can lead to accidental misses.

Touchpad

The multitouch-capable clickpad measures 10.5 cm x 6 cm. In our opinion, there's enough room for an even larger touchpad. The surface is slightly rough to the touch and allows the fingers to glide effortlessly. Gestures were easy to control and the configuration menu allows them to be turned on and off as desired. Click travel is short with clear and audible feedback.

The keyboard does not feature a backlight.
The keyboard does not feature a backlight.
The touchpad supports multitouch.
The touchpad supports multitouch.

Display

The 15.6-inch glossy display has a native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The brightness of 211 cd/m² is no cause for celebration, but given the price of the notebook, pretty much expected. The screen of the Ideapad Z50-75 features a similar brightness (223.9 cd/m²), while the Aspire E1-572G is much dimmer (182.3 cd/m²). The positive outlier is the Pavilion 15-p008ng (329.4 cd/m²), which also comes with a Full-HD display.

195
cd/m²
198
cd/m²
199
cd/m²
212
cd/m²
228
cd/m²
220
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
211
cd/m²
223
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 228 cd/m² Average: 211 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 225 cd/m²
Contrast: 691:1 (Black: 0.33 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 9.6 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 10.17 | - Ø
37% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.55
Inspiron vs. sRGB
Inspiron vs. sRGB
Inspiron vs. AdobeRGB
Inspiron vs. AdobeRGB

Things look up as far as contrast ratio (691:1) and black value (0.33 cd/m²) are concerned. Here, the Inspiron outperforms the Ideapad Z50-75 (536:1, 0.42 cd/m²), the Aspire E1-572G (415:1, 0.47 cd/m²), as well as the Pavilion 15-p008ng (336:1, 1.02 cd/m²). The panel can't reproduce the professional color spaces AdobeRGB at 37 % and sRGB at 53 %.

Color reproduction also is appropriate for the price range of the notebook. The average DeltaE deviation of 9.6 is comparable to what most displays in this category are capable of. A deviation of less than 3 would be ideal. We also noticed a distinct bluish cast.

CalMAN - Color Checker
CalMAN - Color Checker
CalMAN - Graylevels
CalMAN - Graylevels
CalMAN - Saturation
CalMAN - Saturation

Because of the reflective display, outdoor use is only possible if the environment isn't too bright. Given the price point, it is clear that Dell could not incorporate an IPS display. The TN panel has low viewing angle stability and the picture quality deteriorates quickly in the vertical axis. In the horizontal plane, the display is more forgiving and several people can view the display at the same time.

The Inspiron outdoors
The Inspiron outdoors
Viewing angles Inspiron
Viewing angles Inspiron

Performance

The Inspiron 15 3542-2293 is an inexpensive 15.6-inch allrounder notebook. The GeForce graphics card should make it possible to at least occasionally play games. Our review notebook sells for about 530 Euro (~$660), although many other configurations are available, including versions with and without dedicated GPU and with or without touchscreen.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWInfo
System information Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293

Processor

The Inspiron relies on a Haswell-generation dual-core Core i5-4210U CPU. The processor has a clock speed of 1.7 GHZ and can overclock to 2.4 GHz (both cores) or 2.7 GHz (one core) using Turbo Boost. The CPU is exactly 100 MHz faster than the Core i5-4200U, which is not really noticeable during daily use. The Core i5-4210U is a ULV CPU with a very modest power consumption. The CPU tackled the Cinebench benchmark tests at the maximum 2.4 GHz regardless if the notebook was plugged in or running on battery. During the single-threaded tests, on or the other core jumps to 2.7 GHz at regular intervals. The Turbo levels are fully utilized at all times.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3871
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
8044
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5291
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.58 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.18 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
30.49 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
239 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
105 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
37.32 fps
Help
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
1.18 Points ∼0%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
0.49 Points ∼0% -58%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A8-7100, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPCX-24UE4T0
0.54 Points ∼0% -54%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
0.94 Points ∼0% -20%
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
1.13 Points ∼0% -4%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.14 Points ∼0% -3%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
GeForce 840M, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
1.18 Points ∼0% 0%
Lenovo G510-59416358
Radeon R5 M230, 4200M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.2 Points ∼0% +2%
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
2.58 Points ∼0%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1.74 Points ∼0% -33%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A8-7100, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPCX-24UE4T0
1.97 Points ∼0% -24%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2.49 Points ∼0% -3%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
2.51 Points ∼0% -3%
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
2.54 Points ∼0% -2%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
GeForce 840M, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
2.59 Points ∼0% 0%
Lenovo G510-59416358
Radeon R5 M230, 4200M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3.26 Points ∼0% +26%

System Performance

We didn't run into any problems during our time with the review notebook, as it ran smoothly and reliably. The results of the PCMark benchmark tests are good as well. Users who require better performance might want to swap out the hard drive for a Solid State Disk, which should be easy to accomplish thanks to the cover on the bottom. Both application starts and system boots would then improve noticeably.

PCMark 7 Score
2495 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2261 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
2234 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3268 points
Help
PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
2261 Points ∼40%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
GeForce 840M, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
2457 Points ∼43% +9%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
2574 Points ∼45% +14%
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
2945 Points ∼52% +30%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2484 Points ∼44% +10%

Storage Devices

The hard drive is a Seagate Momentus Thin model with a capacity of 500 GB and a rotational speed of 5400 RPM. CrystalDiskMark attests the drive a read speed of 100.3 MB/s, while HD Tune reports an average transfer rate of 84.1 MB/s. Both recorded values are in line with what we expect from a 5400 RPM hard drive.

Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
Transfer Rate Minimum: 45.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 115.2 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 84.1 MB/s
Access Time: 19.6 ms
Burst Rate: 124.8 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3.1 %

GPU Performance

Nvidia's Optimus technology is responsible for the graphics output. The Intel HD Graphics 4400 GPU handles less power-intensive tasks and sees duty when the notebook is running on battery. Nvidias GeForce 820M GPU takes over demanding graphics applications like games. The switch between the graphics cards is automatic, although the user can intervene if so desired. Both GPUs support at least DirectX 11. The GeForce 820M is an entry-level GPU which operates at a base clock speed of 775 Mhz and a Turbo speed of up to 955 MHz. The results of the PCMark benchmark tests are comparable to other notebooks equipped with the same GPU.

3DMark 11 Performance
1383 points
3DMark (2013) Ice Storm Standard Score
52303 points
3DMark (2013) Cloud Gate Standard Score
4594 points
3DMark (2013) Fire Strike Standard Score
843 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
1383 Points ∼7%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
1302 Points ∼6% -6%
Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10-7300, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
1363 Points ∼6% -1%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
GeForce 820M, 4200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1381 Points ∼7% 0%
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP300LD-C4031H
GeForce 820M, 4510U, SanDisk SD6SB1M128G1002
1410 Points ∼7% +2%
Lenovo G510-59416358
Radeon R5 M230, 4200M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1414 Points ∼7% +2%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A8-7100, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPCX-24UE4T0
1857 Points ∼9% +34%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
1885 Points ∼9% +36%
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
GeForce 840M, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
2316 Points ∼11% +67%
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
2327 Points ∼11% +68%

Gaming Performance

Gaming performance should suffice for occasional game playing. Most games can be played without any stutters at the native resolution at low to medium quality settings. Current games like Ryse: Son of Rome or The Evil Within, on the other hand, have high demands on the hardware and the frame rates never reach playable levels.

An alternative to the Inspiron is the Acer Aspire E1-572G (Core i5-4200U, Radeon HD 8750M), which not only allows for higher frame rates, but also happens to  be 50 Euro (~$65) less expensive. The HP Pavilion 15-p008ng (Core i5-4210U, GeForce 840M) and the Asus X555LN-XO112H (Core i5-4210U, GeForce 840M), which sell for for around 600 Euro (~$750), offer even better performance than the other two notebooks. The Pavilion is particularly interesting because of its Full-HD display.

low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 74.84024.6fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 57.331.927fps
Thief (2014) 20.813.211.2fps
Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) 33.63211fps
GRID: Autosport (2014) 111.843.42012.5fps
Risen 3: Titan Lords (2014) 4022.89.3fps
Sims 4 (2014) 141.948.325.320.5fps
Fifa 15 (2014) 57.447.927.1fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 26.316.88.6fps
Alien: Isolation (2014) 42.327.714.4fps
Ryse: Son of Rome (2014) 18.311.95.8fps
The Evil Within (2014) 18.313.47.7fps
F1 2014 (2014) 90653821fps
Civilization: Beyond Earth (2014) 36.314.3fps
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A8-7100, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPCX-24UE4T0
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
GeForce 840M, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
Tomb Raider
-1%
21%
46%
20%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x24.625.5
4%
30.8
25%
29.5
20%
28.1
14%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x4039.7
-1%
45.5
14%
59.9
50%
52.2
31%
1024x768 Low Preset74.870.7
-5%
92.6
24%
125.2
67%
85.1
14%
BioShock Infinite
-27%
49%
1366x768 High Preset2719.5
-28%
38.6
43%
1366x768 Medium Preset31.924
-25%
48.2
51%
1280x720 Very Low Preset57.342.1
-27%
87.2
52%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-14% / -14%
21% / 21%
46% / 46%
35% / 34%

Emissions

System Noise

The Inspiron is more or less inaudible during idle. The fan frequently doesn't run at all and the hard drive is the only source of noise. When demands increase, things change and we measured up to 40.6 dB under medium load (3D Mark 06 is running). Full load (stress test, Prime95 and Furmark are running) results in values between 40.4 and 46 dB. Given the performance, these numbers are a little on the high side, as the Inspiron is about as loud as the more powerful HP Pavilion 15-p008ng and Asus X555LN-XO112H.

Noise Level

Idle
31.9 / 31.9 / 32.7 dB(A)
HDD
32.7 dB(A)
DVD
41 / dB(A)
Load
40.6 / 46.4 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

das Inspiron im Stresstest
das Inspiron im Stresstest

No matter if plugged in or running on battery power: during our stress test (Prime95 and Furmark in parallel for at least one hour) the CPU of the Inspiron ran between 2.2 and 2.3 GHz. The GPU maintained its maximum Turbo speed of 955 MHz. Even though both the processor and the graphics card are running close to their respective maximums during the stress test, the notebook only gets moderately warm. No point of the chassis exceeded 40 degrees C at any time. The very active fan system has a positive impact here. The Inspiron gets about as warm as the HP Pavilion 15-p008ng and the Asus X555LN-XO112H; the Aspire E1-572G heats up more.

Max. Load
 36.5 °C35.5 °C27.7 °C 
 39.7 °C35.4 °C28.3 °C 
 29.2 °C30 °C28.8 °C 
Maximum: 39.7 °C
Average: 32.3 °C
26.3 °C31.1 °C37.9 °C
26.6 °C38.1 °C39.5 °C
29.1 °C31.7 °C27 °C
Maximum: 39.5 °C
Average: 31.9 °C
Power Supply (max.)  52.6 °C | Room Temperature 24.2 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The stereo speakers are housed on the bottom towards the front edge. While far from outstanding, the speakers get quite loud, although the sound is slightly tinny and the bass is lacking. The latter trait the Inspiron shares with most other notebooks out there.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Kudos to Dell as far as the low power consumption during idle is concerned, as we recorded values of under 5 watts. Under medium load (3D Mark 06) and full load levels (stress test, Prime95 and Furmark), the Inspiron requires between 40 and 47.7 watts, which can be considered normal given the hardware. The competitors Aspire E1-572G, HP Pavilion 15-p008ng and Asus X555LN-XO112H are a little less frugal under full load.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.1 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 2.7 / 4.2 / 4.7 Watt
Load midlight 40 / 47.7 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

In idle mode, the Inspiron shut down after 13 hours and 53 minutes. The Aspire E1-572G (9 hours 2 minutes) and the Pavilion (8 hours 41 minutes) don't last nearly as long. For this test, we use the Battery Eater Reader's Test. The display is turned down to the lowest level, the power saver profile is active, and wireless modules are turned off. Under load, the Inspiron needed to be connected to an external powre source after 1 hour and 41 minutes. The Pavilion (1 hour 40 minutes) performed quite similar, the Aspire (1 hour 20 minutes) fell behind. For the load scenario, we run the Battery Eater Classic Test with the display set to maximum brightness, enable the maximum performance profile, and activate all wireless modules.

During the WLAN test, Dell's notebook shut down after 6 hours and 11 minutes, which is better than either the Pavilion (4 hours 45 minutes) or the Aspire (4 hours 26 minutes). With the power saver profile active and the display set to about 150 nits, an automated script calls up a different website every 40 seconds. To check video playback, we play a loop of the short film Big Buck Bunny (H.264 encoding, 1920 x 1080 pixels). Here, the power saver profile is active, the wireless modules are turned off, and the display is set to 150 nits as well. We had to plug the Inspiron back in after 6 hours and 5 minutes. The Pavilion didn't last quite as long (4 hours 47 minutes).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
13h 53min
WiFi Surfing
6h 11min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
6h 05min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 41min
Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
GeForce 820M, 4210U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142
Lenovo IdeaPad Z50-75
Radeon R6 M255DX, A8-7100, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPCX-24UE4T0
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G75Mnkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4200U, TOSHIBA MQ01ABD075
Asus X555LN-XO112H
GeForce 840M, 4210U, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
HP Pavilion 15-p008ng
GeForce 840M, 4210U, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541075A9E680
Battery Runtime
-53%
-28%
-31%
-21%
Reader / Idle833311
-63%
542
-35%
521
-37%
Load10174
-27%
80
-21%
100
-1%
WiFi371155
-58%
266
-28%
256
-31%
285
-23%
H.264365140
-62%
287
-21%

Verdict

Dell's Inspiron 15 3542-2293 is a well-rounded notebook. The system has more than enough power for everyday tasks and can handle a few games as well. The 15.6-inch notebook does its job quietly most of the time and doesn't get hot in the process. The power consumption is also fairly low, which results in a very good battery life. The display is appropriate for the price segment, although we would have preferred a brighter and matte panel.

One alternative to the Inspiron is the Aspire E1-572G, which offers better gaming performance for less money, as the Acer notebook sells for about 50 Euro ($65) less. The HP Pavilion 15-p008ng, which retails for 600 Euro (~$750), makes for an even better gaming notebook and comes with a Full-HD display as an added bonus. The Lenovo Ideapad Z50-75 is the bargain-basement model in our comparison. Although less powerful, the notebook can be had for 380 Euro (~$475) without a Windows OS.

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In Review: Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293. Test model courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de
In Review: Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293. Test model courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de

Specifications

Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293
Processor
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce 820M - 2048 MB, Core: 775-955 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, ForceWare 344.48, Optimus
Memory
4096 MB 
, DDR3, single-channel, one slot (occupied)
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, AU Optronics B156XW04 V0, TN LED, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
Storage
Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-1DG142, 500 GB 
, 5400 rpm, 420 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Audiokombo, Card Reader: SD
Networking
Realtek RTL8102E Family PCI-E Fast Ethernet (10/100MBit), Atheros Communications AR9565 Wireless Network Adapter (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0
Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GU90N
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 25.6 x 381.4 x 267.6 ( = 1.01 x 15.02 x 10.54 in)
Battery
40 Wh Lithium-Ion, 14.8 V, 2630 mAh
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD webcam
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Cyberlink Media Suite Essentials, McAfee LiveSafe-Internet Security (trial version), MS Office 365 (trial version), 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.3 kg ( = 81.13 oz / 5.07 pounds), Power Supply: 348 g ( = 12.28 oz / 0.77 pounds)
Price
530 Euro

 

The optical drive can read and write to all types of DVDs and CDs
The optical drive can read and write to all types of DVDs and CDs
A dedicated number block.
A dedicated number block.
The hinges ...
The hinges ...
... hold the display securely in any position.
... hold the display securely in any position.
The maintenance hatch.
The maintenance hatch.
The Inspiron only has one RAM slot.
The Inspiron only has one RAM slot.
The hard drive can be swapped out.
The hard drive can be swapped out.
Good: two WLAN antennas.
Good: two WLAN antennas.
The battery is integrated ...
The battery is integrated ...
... and offers a capacity of 40 Wh.
... and offers a capacity of 40 Wh.
The power adapter weighs in at 234 g ...
The power adapter weighs in at 234 g ...
... and supplies 65 watts.
... and supplies 65 watts.

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Links

  • Manufacturer's Information

Price Comparison

Pro

+Not very noisy most of the time
+Doesn't get very warm
+Low power consumption
+Long battery life
+Maintenance cover
 

Cons

-Glossy and dark display with low viewing angle stability

Shortcut

What we like

The good battery life and the low power consumption.

What we'd like to see

A brighter, non-glare display

What surprises us

Nothing.

The competition

Lenovo Ideapad Z50-75, Acer Aspire E1-572G, Acer Aspire E5-551-T8X3, Lenovo G510 (59416358), Asus X555LN-XO112H, HP Pavilion 15-p008ng, Lenovo Ideapad G50-70, Dell Inspiron 15-5547

Rating

Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293 - 10/28/2014 v4(old)
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
75 / 98 → 77%
Keyboard
72%
Pointing Device
81%
Connectivity
60 / 81 → 74%
Weight
61 / 67 → 87%
Battery
87%
Display
72%
Games Performance
70 / 85 → 82%
Application Performance
71 / 92 → 77%
Temperature
91%
Noise
81 / 95 → 85%
Audio
40%
Camera
40 / 85 → 47%
Average
69%
75%
Multimedia - Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Dell Inspiron 15 3542-2293 Notebook Review
Sascha Mölck, 2014-11- 6 (Update: 2014-11- 6)