Notebookcheck

Dell Inspiron 15-5547 Notebook Review

Florian Wimmer (translated by A Kammel), 08/01/2014

Minimalistic, yet captivating? You'd like to purchase an affordable multimedia laptop with a sleek design and decent gaming capabilities? In that case, Dell might be onto something with its Inspiron 15-5547. Our review will show which quality levels can truly be achieved for less than 600 Euros (~$802).

In review: Dell Inspiron 15-5547. Test device provided by Dell Germany.

For the original German review, see here.

Nowadays, what can be had for just 579 Euros (~$774)? In some larger cities, this is barely enough for one month's rent. Alternatively, the Dell Inspiron 15-5547 can be purchased for this amount of money, a multimedia laptop with a sleek (though simple) design and a dedicated GPU made by AMD. Our review will show whether it is actually worth it.

Dell's Inspiron series of multimedia laptops now comes in three different categories, ranging from the extremely cheap Inspiron 15, entry-level models with an Intel Pentium or an Intel Core i3 CPU (the 3000 series) and the exclusive 7000 series ultrabooks with aluminum cases and touchscreens.

The Inspiron 5000 laptops are placed in between. While they may not ship with a metal chassis, its plastic case comes with a much better build quality than that of the 3000 series devices. In addition, the 5000 series provides more performance: Our test device ships with both an Intel Core i5-4210U and a dedicated GPU made by AMD.

The device thus plays in the same league as e.g. an Acer TravelMate P255, an Acer Aspire E1-572G, an Asus X550LD or a HP Compaq 15. The MSI CX61 and the HP Pavilion 15 are also interesting alternatives.

Case

Plastic on the inside, aluminum on the outside.
Plastic on the inside, aluminum on the outside.

As already mentioned, the 5000 series marks the new middle-class when it comes to the Inspiron series, with a premium plastic chassis and even a lid made from brushed aluminum. Dell tends to change the design of its laptops from generation to generation, and the same holds true with the Inspiron 15-5547: The chassis has been revamped completely. While the de-facto predecessor, the Inspiron 15R, already used a combination of aluminum and plastic for its case, it felt a lot bulkier and less elegant than the Inspiron 15-5547.

There's not much choice in terms of colors: A combination of black and silver, that's it. We do, however, like this choice a lot, and also the new, much slimmer shape when compared to the Inspiron 15R. The new Inspiron 15-5547 never exceeds 22 millimeters in height, and due to its slightly wedged shape and its non-vertical edges, it appears to be even thinner. The Inspiron 15R, however, measured 31.3 millimeters, although it shipped with an optical drive which our test device omits. Then again, the new model weighs 200 grams less, with just 2230 grams left. This is better than the entire competition - but all of these devices do ship with an optical drive.

Build quality is decent given its price, but there are some weaknesses. Although the case does ship with even clearances, the surface around the palm rest can actually be pulled up a bit, leading to a clearance between it and the rest of the base unit. Another gap can be felt between the metal lid and the display frame, and again, both parts can be pried apart. In addition, there is not enough torsion resistance, especially when pressure is applied at the edges. The same holds true for the display lid (despite being made from aluminum), with image distortions becoming visible once pressure is applied.

Our overall impression: Great design - the Inspiron 15-5547 looks both minimalistic and sleek, especially when considering its price point - but mediocre build quality.

Connectivity

All ports are located at the rear halves of both sides - which is great, as they don't stand much risk of becoming a nuisance there (e.g. when connecting a mouse). Since the display actually extends beyond the rear edge of the device once the laptop is opened, no ports can be found there.

The slim chassis makes it necessary to reduce the number of available ports: Two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI out, Ethernet, a card reader and a combined Line In/Out port - not much for a 15-inch device, especially since there is no optical drive (which all of its competitors have), and even more so since e.g. the HP Pavilion 15 manages to integrate a DVD burner without being noticeably thicker than our test device (22.6 millimeters instead of 22 millimeters).

The 1 TB HDD is no unique feature either - most other laptops ship with a similarly sized one.

Left-hand side: Kensington lock, power connector, USB 2.0, SD card reader
Left-hand side: Kensington lock, power connector, USB 2.0, SD card reader
Right-hand side: Line In/Out (combined), 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet
Right-hand side: Line In/Out (combined), 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet
Front: no ports
Front: no ports
Rear: no ports
Rear: no ports

Communication

An Ethernet port can be found on the right-hand side of the chassis but is not capable of more than 100 Mbit/s (no Gigabit Ethernet). In terms of Wi-Fi, however, Dell has (by using a Wireless-AC 3160 modem) included all standards, both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands and even 802.11 ac.

Wireless reception quality is great - even at a distance of 10 meters (with two walls in between), four or even five out of five bars could be measured, and even though two additional meters (and an additional wall) decrease this value to two bars, webpages still load rather quickly.

Maintenance

In terms of maintenance, Dell attempts to make it as easy as possible for its customers to access their devices. Many laptops even ship with guides telling the user how to swap different components. In the case of the Dell Inspiron 15-5547, it takes just two screws to open the maintenance hatch and gain access to the battery, the HDD and the RAM modules. In addition, the Wi-Fi module could be swapped and the fan could be cleaned, too. The only weakness: The battery is now placed inside so that it cannot be swapped as easily as with earlier models.

Warranty

12 months of pickup and repair service are included. It costs a rather proud sum of 59 Euros (~$78) to upgrade to an on-site service with premium phone support, while 12 additional months can be had for 89 Euros, ~$118 (three or four years in total: 139 Euros (~$185) and 199 Euros (~$266), respectively).

Input Devices

Keyboard

The chiclet-style keyboard comes with a separate numpad and large keys (14x14 millimeters) set 4 millimeters apart - great for a fast typing experience (with the exception of the smallish arrow keys and the numpad keys, which measure only 12 millimeters in terms of width). The function keys fulfill two roles at once, with the special keys (such as volume up/down or screen brightness) being the standard choice. Still, although the F1 to F12 keys can only be accessed by simultaneously pressing the Fn key, this priority setting can be reversed when opening the Dell control panel. Even better: Important key combinations such as Alt+F4 for quickly closing apps always work, even without pressing the Fn key.

The keyboard bed barely flexes during typing (only when a lot of pressure is applied). The keys are easy to press, offering soft (and thus often insufficient) feedback. Key travel is decent, and overall the keyboard is fun to use although it is not terribly precise.

Touchpad

The touchpad is actually a ClickPad, meaning that the mouse buttons have been integrated directly into the touch-sensitive area. They are rather loud, but their pressure point is easily discernible. Those who are used to keeping one finger on the left or right mouse button might want to reconsider since the second finger is well capable of irritating the touchpad. Overall, the ClickPad is rather large (diameter: 12.5 centimeters), its gliding properties are nice and it doesn't get smudgy.

Those who are not bitterly opposed to ClickPads in general will not find too much to criticize about the one used by the Dell Inspiron 15-5547.

Further input options

Optionally, a touchscreen can be had as well - although this means that no dedicated GPU can be selected (at least according to the currently available variants on Dell's website).

Keyboard
Keyboard
ClickPad
ClickPad

Display

Even though most manufacturers have started to realize that many customers do not, in fact, prefer glossy displays, Dell once more chooses to go down the reflective route with its Inspiron 15-5547. The glossy panel comes with a resolution of (just) 1366x768 pixels, and in contrast to its predecessor (the Dell Inspiron 15R), there is no optional Full HD variant available - these are only available for the Inspiron 15 7000 series.

The brightness of the LED display isn't great either: Just 178.2 cd/m² on average is pretty dim (and darker than that of almost all competitors), although brightness homogeneity is decent at 86%.

175
cd/m²
182
cd/m²
185
cd/m²
173
cd/m²
191
cd/m²
186
cd/m²
165
cd/m²
167
cd/m²
180
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 191 cd/m²
Average: 178.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 191 cd/m²
Black: 0.25 cd/m²
Contrast: 764:1

Thanks to more-than-decent black levels of 0.25 cd/m², the contrast ratio is still pretty good at 764:1, rendering blacks as blacks, without too much of a grayish tint. Colors, however, don't feel very vivid or lifelike. In terms of sharpness, a non-Full HD display does show its weaknesses on a 15-inch screen, especially with all the high-resolution displays available.

Our hardware tools in combination with CalMAN software yield more precise measurements concerning color fidelity, revealing a noticeable bluish tint (leading to a "cool" impression of most colors). This can even be seen by taking a look at the grayscale rendition images where whites look more like blues, or at the color accuracy data points which are skewed as well.

The color (and grayscale) deviations when compared to the reference values of the sRGB color space are very high. Thus, the display is completely unsuitable for graphics and video professionals, at least as long as it is not calibrated. While the color deviations may not be a killer issue for most consumers, they will have to live with the cool colors of the screen.

CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Color saturation
CalMAN Color saturation

Although the laptop appears to be well-suited for outdoor usage thanks to its slim profile and its somewhat reduced weight, this can only be accomplished on cloudy days. The low brightness of the screen and the glossy display make it hard to use outdoors - and even indoors, it can be tricky to find a spot where the reflections don't put too much strain on one's eyes.

Horizontal viewing-angle stability is quite decent, with just a little amount of brightness being lost when viewed from the sides. Vertical viewing-angle stability, however, is not decent. Color distortions occur quickly, making it even harder to try to identify colors with some accuracy (in addition to the blue tint). One can never be sure that one sees the "true" color as e.g. blues rapidly switch from bright to dark hues.

Outdoor usage
Outdoor usage
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

The Dell Inspiron 15-5547 makes use of a low-voltage CPU, which reduces power consumption while also diminishing performance when compared to high-voltage CPUs. Still, the Intel Core i5-4210U with its clock speed of 1.7 GHz should be powerful enough for all common office tasks and even for most games. It is accompanied by a generous amount of 8 GB of RAM, a dedicated mid-range GPU (the AMD Radeon R7 M265) and a conventional HDD (with 1 TB of storage). While none of the pre-defined variants ship with an SSD, the hard drive could, of course, always be swapped later.

Dell offers three different variants of the Inspiron 15-5547, with a faster Intel Core i7-4510U CPU and an optional touchscreen being available. Otherwise, all three models are identical.

System information Dell Inspiron 15-5547

Processor

The Intel Core i5-4210U clocked at 1.7 GHz comes with two cores and a maximum turbo clock speed of up to 2.7 GHz or 2.4 GHz, depending on whether just one or both cores are active. Via Hyper-Threading, the CPU is capable of handling up to four tasks simultaneously. It requires up to 15 watts of power.

While its clock speed may be a bit higher than that of the Intel Core i5-4200U (used e.g. by the Asus X550LD), there is no noticeable difference in terms of benchmarks results. Non-low-voltage CPUs such as the Intel Core i5-4200M (used e.g. by the MSI CX61) are considerably faster, beating the Intel Core i5-4210U by approx. 30 to 50%.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4739 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
8744 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5897 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.03 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.11 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
38.36 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
103 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
235 Points
Help
Cinebench R10
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
8744 Points ∼25%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
11789 Points ∼33% +35%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
9433 Points ∼27% +8%
MSI CX61-i572M
13085 Points ∼37% +50%
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
4739 Points ∼56%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
5732 Points ∼67% +21%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
4785 Points ∼56% +1%
MSI CX61-i572M
5892 Points ∼69% +24%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
2.11 Points ∼12%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
2.85 Points ∼16% +35%
Acer TravelMate P255-MG-54204G50Mnkk
2.47 Points ∼14% +17%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
2.47 Points ∼14% +17%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
2.48 Points ∼14% +18%
HP Compaq 15-a024sg
2.38 Points ∼14% +13%
MSI CX61-i572M
3.23 Points ∼18% +53%
HP Pavilion 15-n213eg
2.49 Points ∼14% +18%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
1.03 Points ∼52%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
1.34 Points ∼67% +30%
Acer TravelMate P255-MG-54204G50Mnkk
1.1 Points ∼55% +7%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
0.98 Points ∼49% -5%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
1.11 Points ∼56% +8%
HP Compaq 15-a024sg
0.97 Points ∼49% -6%
MSI CX61-i572M
1.34 Points ∼67% +30%
HP Pavilion 15-n213eg
1.12 Points ∼56% +9%
Cinebench R15
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
235 Points ∼15%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
263 Points ∼17% +12%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
228 Points ∼15% -3%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
230 Points ∼15% -2%
HP Compaq 15-a024sg
214 Points ∼14% -9%
MSI CX61-i572M
298 Points ∼19% +27%
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
103 Points ∼59%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
117 Points ∼66% +14%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
98 Points ∼56% -5%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
99 Points ∼56% -4%
HP Compaq 15-a024sg
85 Points ∼48% -17%
MSI CX61-i572M
120 Points ∼68% +17%

Legend

 
Dell Inspiron 15-5547 Intel Core i5-4210U, AMD Radeon R7 M265, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-75JC3T0
 
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537 Intel Core i7-4500U, AMD Radeon HD 8850M, Toshiba MQ01ABD100
 
Acer TravelMate P255-MG-54204G50Mnkk Intel Core i5-4200U, AMD Radeon R7 M265, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142
 
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk Intel Core i5-4200U, AMD Radeon R7 M265, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT0 12-9WS142
 
Asus X550LD-XX023H Intel Core i5-4200U, NVIDIA GeForce 820M, Toshiba MQ01ABF050
 
HP Compaq 15-a024sg Intel Core i3-3110M, NVIDIA GeForce 820M, HGST Travelstar 5K1000 HTS541010A9E680
 
MSI CX61-i572M Intel Core i5-4200M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M, WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-22JC3T0
 
HP Pavilion 15-n213eg Intel Core i5-4200U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M, Toshiba MQ01ABD100

System Performance

When compared to the Dell Inspiron 15R-5537, our test device falls behind in terms of system performance by approx. 10% - most of this effect will be due to the lower clock speeds of the CPU used by our machine. Otherwise, it does take the lead in terms of system performance (by a slim margin) when compared to similar competitors thanks to its large amount of RAM.

During real-life usage, performance was almost always smooth, but there were quite a lot of unexpected loading times, and boot-up (of programs as well as the entire system) took quite a bit of time due to the conventional HDD - this would be different with an SSD.

PC Mark
PCMark 73022 points
PCMark 8 Home v23340 points
PCMark 8 Creative v23499 points
PCMark 8 Work v24411 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
3022 Points ∼44%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
3319 Points ∼48% +10%
Acer TravelMate P255-MG-54204G50Mnkk
2582 Points ∼37% -15%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
2742 Points ∼40% -9%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
2533 Points ∼37% -16%
HP Compaq 15-a024sg
2464 Points ∼36% -18%
MSI CX61-i572M
2285 Points ∼33% -24%
HP Pavilion 15-n213eg
2724 Points ∼39% -10%
PCMark 8
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
3340 Points ∼67%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
3699 Points ∼75% +11%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
2228 Points ∼45% -33%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
3499 Points ∼53%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
3945 Points ∼59% +13%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
2231 Points ∼34% -36%
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
4411 Points ∼81%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
4400 Points ∼80% 0%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
3035 Points ∼55% -31%

Storage Devices

The Western Digital Scorpio Blue HDD with its 1 TB of storage and its 5400 rpm is no speed monster, reaching average data transfer rates when compared to the other media-centric laptops. Accordingly, some apps as well as the system take a bit longer to start, but, as already mentioned, one could always swap the HDD for an SSD to gain a noticeable speed boost.

WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-75JC3T0
Sequential Read: 90.69 MB/s
Sequential Write: 89.93 MB/s
4K Read: 0.51 MB/s
4K Write: 0.98 MB/s
4K-64 Read: 0.82 MB/s
4K-64 Write: 0.83 MB/s
Access Time Read: 16.6 ms
Access Time Write: 14.5 ms
Score Read: 10 Points
Score Write: 11 Points
Score Total: 27 Points

Graphics Card

Our test device ships with two graphics cards, the dedicated AMD Radeon R7 M265 and the onboard Intel HD Graphics 4400. The former (the AMD Radeon R7 M265) comes with 2 GB of dedicated DDR3 memory and a clock speed of up to 825 MHz. Via AMD-Enduro technology, the system can always switch between both chips, depending on the current usage pattern. While idle or under light loads (e.g. for the Windows desktop and simple applications), the integrated (w.r.t. the CPU) low-power Intel HD Graphics 4400 is used. Unfortunately, Enduro is not quite there yet when compared to the more precise Nvidia Optimus system, requiring us to often manually insert certain games into the list of applications which should use the dedicated chip.

The CPU doesn't have much influence on the benchmark results of the most recent 3DMark suite. Here, our test device takes the last spot, behind all of its competitors, including its de-facto predecessor (the Inspiron 15R-5537 with an AMD Radeon HD 8850M) and the Acer Aspire E1-572G which uses the same GPU as our test device. Why is that? Dell has chosen not to use the faster 128-bit memory interface for the GPU. The next chapter will show how much of a difference that makes in terms of (gaming) performance.

3D Mark
3DMark 111934 points
3DMark Ice Storm30674 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4013 points
3DMark Fire Strike908 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
1934 Points ∼11%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
2444 Points ∼14% +26%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
2012 Points ∼11% +4%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
1302 Points ∼7% -33%
HP Compaq 15-a024sg
1351 Points ∼7% -30%
MSI CX61-i572M
1350 Points ∼7% -30%
HP Pavilion 15-n213eg
1868 Points ∼10% -3%
3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
30674 Points ∼19%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
35889 Points ∼22% +17%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
38911 Points ∼24% +27%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
50055 Points ∼31% +63%
HP Compaq 15-a024sg
51917 Points ∼32% +69%
MSI CX61-i572M
43085 Points ∼27% +40%
HP Pavilion 15-n213eg
51645 Points ∼32% +68%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
4013 Points ∼15%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
5537 Points ∼20% +38%
Acer TravelMate P255-MG-54204G50Mnkk
5435 Points ∼20% +35%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
5357 Points ∼20% +33%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
4225 Points ∼15% +5%
HP Compaq 15-a024sg
4323 Points ∼16% +8%
MSI CX61-i572M
4773 Points ∼17% +19%
HP Pavilion 15-n213eg
5073 Points ∼19% +26%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Score (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5547
908 Points ∼7%
Dell Inspiron 15R-5537
1707 Points ∼13% +88%
Acer Aspire E1-572G-54204G50Mnkk
1211 Points ∼9% +33%
Asus X550LD-XX023H
763 Points ∼6% -16%
HP Compaq 15-a024sg
822 Points ∼6% -9%
MSI CX61-i572M
783 Points ∼6% -14%
HP Pavilion 15-n213eg
1052 Points ∼8% +16%

Gaming Performance

Other laptops with the AMD Radeon R7 M265 offer a lot more gaming performance than our test device. The issue: Although the GPU would actually be capable of using its DDR3 memory via a 128-bit interface, Dell uses the slower, but cheaper variant with a 64-bit memory interface. This leads to a noticeable difference in terms of performance when compared to e.g. the Acer Aspire E1-572G or the Acer Aspire V5-561G (both ship with the same GPU while making use of a 128-bit memory interface) of approx. 20 fps when playing BioShock Infinite. For some games with details set to high (e.g. for Tomb Raider), this makes the difference between "still more or less playable" and "strongly stuttering."

The Dell Inspiron 15-5547 is still well-suited for older games such as Anno 2070 or less demanding titles such as Diablo III. These can even be played with medium or high details, using the native resolution of the display (1366x768). More recent games such as Thief or Assassin's Creed: Black Flag won't run smoothly - not even with everything set to minimum. It does depend on the engine, however, with e.g. Wolfenstein: The New Order running rather well even with medium settings.

Gamers who prefer fast action titles or multiplayer games will not be too happy with this machine, with the low frame rates (even for medium settings in most games) making it hard to compete with other players using more capable hardware.

While running on battery, graphics performance decreases even further: BioShock Infinite e.g., runs at 32.3 fps (lowest settings) instead of 53.4 fps.

low med.high ultra
Anno 2070 (2011) 90422613fps
Diablo III (2012) 82.451.345.127.6fps
Far Cry 3 (2012) 41.529.917.38.3fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 68.634.221.110.6fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 53.432258fps
Metro: Last Light (2013) 28.220.714.36.4fps
Assassin´s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013) 19.415.39.34.2fps
X-Plane 10.25 (2013) 51.225.210.14.2fps
Thief (2014) 15.49.88.23.4fps
Titanfall (2014) 52.531.225.410.1fps
The Elder Scrolls Online (2014) 59.639.426.27.3fps
Wolfenstein: The New Order (2014) 46.339.818.510.1fps
Watch Dogs (2014) 30.221.63.22.1fps

Emissions

System Noise

Pretty slim and pretty quiet: That's the ideal for a laptop, at least for most people. However, such a feat is not always that easy to accomplish since all the innards need to fit inside the chassis - and they need to be cooled sufficiently.

The single fan used by the Dell Inspiron 15-5547 apparently doesn't have any problems getting rid of all the hot air: Unless gaming (or otherwise taxing its internal components), the fan can only be heard when one's ear is moved very close to the rear part of the machine. The HDD is almost inaudible, too.

Even under load, the Dell laptop remains a bit quieter than its competitors, at (usually) 36.5 dB(A) under load, with a peak value of 41.6 dB(A). So far so good - but what about the heat emissions?

Noise Level

Idle 29.0 / 29.0 / 29.0 dB(A)
HDD 29.8 dB(A)
Load 36.5 / 41.6 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-300 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

Unfortunately, under maximum load up to 51.2 °C is reached at the bottom of the notebook - too much to be used on one's lap. However, this only occurs when the laptop is being used under maximum load for a long time - even when gaming, actual temperatures are much lower (although possibly not low enough to make using it on one's lap much more comfortable).

Luckily, most of these heat emissions are located in the rear half of the device. The palm rest remains cool at all times. While idle, almost the entire laptop remains cool, with just a little excess heat at the bottom of the device.

Our stress test shows that the CPU cannot hold its turbo clock speed of 2.4 GHz when both CPU and GPU are put under full load; both cores remain at their standard clock speed of 1.7 GHz. Still, such a scenario will likely never occur in real life. During the Cinebench R15 benchmark (with high loads, but just for the CPU), the Intel Core i5-4210U has no problems remaining at its turbo clock speed at all times.

Max. Load
 35.1 °C40.4 °C39.1 °C 
 30.8 °C38.9 °C38.3 °C 
 25.9 °C26.3 °C30.8 °C 
Maximum: 40.4 °C
Average: 34 °C
44.9 °C51.2 °C38.4 °C
32.5 °C43.4 °C29.8 °C
29.2 °C27.8 °C26.8 °C
Maximum: 51.2 °C
Average: 36 °C
Power Supply (max.)  49.6 °C | Room Temperature 23.3 °C | Raytek Raynger ST

Speakers

The two stereo speakers are located right beneath the front rim. They are supported by the Waves Maxx Audio software, but while we were quite happy with the speakers used by the Inspiron 15R, these here fall into a different category. Maximum volume levels may be high, but there is nothing clear and balanced about the sounds the system produces under these conditions. Even when the volume is decreased, music sounds more as if listening through a speakerphone. In addition, highs are over-emphasized, making for a painful audio experience.

Audio quality also depends a lot on the kind of music being played. With Adele's "Skyfall" (with a large background orchestra), it quickly becomes hard to make out single instruments, and there is even some slight roaring. Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire" works a lot better, as there are less instruments to be heard in the background.

The Waves Maxx Audio tool is hidden in the Dell Audio program. Different sound profiles can be chosen, but we recommend using either "music" or "movies," since the pre-defined "MaxxSense" profile leads to the aforementioned roaring, asking far too much of the already weak speakers.

Unfortunately, there is only a combined Line In/Out port, making it hard to connect microphone and speakers at the same time. The audio jack is, however, well-built, with no whooshing sounds being noticeable once high-end headphones are connected.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Great: The Dell Inspiron 15-5547 doesn't draw a lot of power. More precisely, nothing at all when turned off. While this should be taken for granted, some competitors behave differently. Standby consumption is great, too, at just 0.1 watts.

Up to 6.1 watts while idle (thanks to the low-voltage CPU) is less than what the other comparable devices require. Under full load, up to 55.7 watts can be needed, an above-average value. However, such a behavior is the exception, with 37.3 watts being a more reasonable real-life assumption - and a rather lowish value when compared to its competitors.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.1 Watt
Idle 3.5 / 5.0 / 6.1 Watt
Load 37.3 / 55.7 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

At a first glance, battery life seems to be approx. on par with that of the Inspiron 15R-5537. Then again, the predecessor to our test device shipped with a much larger battery capacity of 65 Wh instead of the 34 Wh used by the Inspiron 15-5547 - making this result much more awe-inducing.

More than 6 hours of browsing time via Wi-Fi is indeed above average (most competitors offer around 4 hours), as is 5 hours of movie playback time - more than enough even for longer train rides. Generally speaking, the battery life of the Dell Inspiron 15-5547 is pretty capable of handling most everyday situations while also yielding a weight reduction due to the much smaller battery pack.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
8h 9min
WiFi Surfing
6h 13min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
5h 12min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 17min

Verdict

In review: Dell Inspiron 15-5547. Test device provided by Dell Germany.

The Dell Inspiron 15-5547 is a solid, if a bit uninspired device. Dell's entry-level to mid-range multimedia laptop has become slimmer and lighter while retaining the above-average battery life of its predecessor. Maintenance has never been easier, too: It just takes two screws to reach its innards. The design is nice (the brushed aluminum lid actually feels like that of a high-end device), and its build quality is decent - given the price point. Wi-Fi reception is great (as is most of its connectivity) and the input devices are quite usable.

The graphics card comes with an unnecessary limitation: Due to Dell employing a 64-bit memory interface instead of the 128-bit used by the competition, the GPU is a lot slower than it should be. In addition, the laptop can run quite hot (which should be mentioned although it only happens rarely). The speakers are average at best, and don't even get us started about the dismal color accuracy of the display, making it hard to discern between different hues.

None of these weaknesses are completely unforgivable, and it should be evident that at such a price point, not everything can be perfect. Still, after such a nice first impression by the premium-looking chassis, issues such as the "throttled" GPU, the below-average display and the mediocre speakers wouldn't have been necessary.

Those looking for a slim, sleek laptop with good battery life while not in need for a gaming powerhouse, might have found the right device with the Dell Inspiron 15-5547. All others might want to have a closer look at the competition, as other devices offer more gaming performance for approximately the same amount of money. The Acer Aspire E1-572G ships with better speakers, and the MSI CX61 even comes with a decent matte Full HD display.

 

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In review: Dell Inspiron 15-5547. Test device provided by Dell Germany.
In review: Dell Inspiron 15-5547. Test device provided by Dell Germany.

Specifications

Dell Inspiron 15-5547
Processor
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon R7 M265 - 2048 MB, Core: 825 MHz, Memory: 2000 MHz, atiumdag 13.350.1002.0, + Intel HD Graphics 4400
Memory
8192 MB 
, PC3-12800
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, AU Optronics B156XW04, LED, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
Harddisk
WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVX-75JC3T0, 1000 GB 
5400 rpm , 919 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5mm combined Line In/Out, Card Reader: SD card reader,
Networking
Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller 10/100 (10MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 3160 (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 22 x 380 x 259 ( = 0.87 x 14.96 x 10.2 in)
Weight
2.23 kg ( = 78.66 oz) Power Supply: 320 g ( = 11.29 oz)
Battery
43 Wh Lithium-Ion, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 6 h
Price
599 Euro
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Additional features
Webcam: Webcam with 1280 x 720 pixels, Speakers: Stereo speakers (at the front, below the rim), Keyboard: Chiclet-style keyboard with numpad, Keyboard Light: no

 

[+] compare
The Dell Inspiron 15-5547 is an affordable multimedia laptop.
The Dell Inspiron 15-5547 is an affordable multimedia laptop.
Still, the Dell manages to become part of a new (lower) middle-class concerning multimedia laptops.
Still, the Dell manages to become part of a new (lower) middle-class concerning multimedia laptops.
This can be seen by taking a look at the aluminum lid.
This can be seen by taking a look at the aluminum lid.
While the inside is made from plastic, it feels pretty nice.
While the inside is made from plastic, it feels pretty nice.
Overall build quality is decent.
Overall build quality is decent.
Still, there are some uneven clearances, and torsion resistance is mediocre at best.
Still, there are some uneven clearances, and torsion resistance is mediocre at best.
Both the shape and the sleek, simple design are very nice.
Both the shape and the sleek, simple design are very nice.
The chiclet-style keyboard.
The chiclet-style keyboard.
Keys and the spaces in between are large; typing feels soft.
Keys and the spaces in between are large; typing feels soft.
The arrow keys are a bit on the small side.
The arrow keys are a bit on the small side.
The special functions have priority, the F keys can only be accessed by pressing Fn (although this can be changed in the settings menu).
The special functions have priority, the F keys can only be accessed by pressing Fn (although this can be changed in the settings menu).
The large ClickPad feels decent.
The large ClickPad feels decent.
Booting up the laptop takes a lot of time due to the conventional HDD.
Booting up the laptop takes a lot of time due to the conventional HDD.
The speakers are located at the front (below the rim), but they don't sound great at all.
The speakers are located at the front (below the rim), but they don't sound great at all.
Not even support from Waves Audio improves the sound much.
Not even support from Waves Audio improves the sound much.
Just one fan is deemed enough to cool the system.
Just one fan is deemed enough to cool the system.
Loosening two screws is enough to reach the innards.
Loosening two screws is enough to reach the innards.
Here, the fan can be cleaned.
Here, the fan can be cleaned.
Alternatively, the battery can be swapped (it, too, can only be accessed through the maintenance hatch).
Alternatively, the battery can be swapped (it, too, can only be accessed through the maintenance hatch).
It might not be a bad idea to swap the HDD for an SSD.
It might not be a bad idea to swap the HDD for an SSD.
8 GB of RAM should be more than enough for almost everything the user throws at the system.
8 GB of RAM should be more than enough for almost everything the user throws at the system.
Generally speaking, its maintenance options are great.
Generally speaking, its maintenance options are great.
The Dell ships with Windows 8.
The Dell ships with Windows 8.
The CPU? An Intel Core i5-4210U.
The CPU? An Intel Core i5-4210U.
At the front rim, two LEDs are located (HDD activity and battery level).
At the front rim, two LEDs are located (HDD activity and battery level).

Similar Laptops

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

Devices with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

» Lenovo Edge 15-80H10004US Notebook Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i5 4210U
» Asus F555LD-XX243H Notebook Review Update
GeForce 820M, Core i3 4010U
» Dell Latitude E5550 Notebook Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i5 4310U

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Price Check

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Pro

+Slim, lightweight chassis
+Aluminum lid
+All ports located at the rear part of the sides
+Decent input devices
+Dual band Wi-Fi (802.11 ac)
+Decent application performance
+Great maintenance options
+Quiet operation
+Good battery life
+Low energy consumption
 

Cons

-Build quality not always perfect
-Clickpad sometimes not too precise
-"Throttled" GPU
-Hot under full load
-Only 12 months of warranty
-No Gigabit Ethernet
-Display with strong bluish tint
-Glossy, highly reflective screen
-Mediocre vertical viewing angles
-Below-average speakers

Shortcut

What we like

The slim, rather lightweight chassis is great.

What we'd like to see

Better innards: A faster GPU, a display with less bluish tint and non-mushy-sounding speakers.

What surprises us

That Dell's middle-class multimedia laptop shows weaknesses in several crucial multimedia-related categories.

The competition

Acer TravelMate P255, Acer Aspire E1-572G, Asus X550LD, HP Compaq 15, MSI CX61, HP Pavilion 15.

Rating

Dell Inspiron 15-5547
07/21/2014 v4
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
74 / 98 → 76%
Keyboard
82%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
62 / 95 → 65%
Weight
62 / 67 → 89%
Battery
84%
Display
72%
Games Performance
64 / 93 → 69%
Application Performance
77%
Temperature
87%
Noise
92 / 95 → 97%
Audio
55%
Camera
58 / 85 → 68%
Average
73%
77%
Multimedia *
Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Dell Inspiron 15-5547 Notebook Review
Author: Florian Wimmer, 2014-08- 1 (Update: 2014-08-14)