###leftbanner###
 
 

Review Dell Inspiron 15z (5523) Ultrabook

Manuel Christa (translated by Peter Krastev), 01/24/2013

Inspiring. Ultrabooks have found their way into Dell's Inspiron family. The all-rounders of the past now benefit from lower weight and longer battery life, in addition to the good performance. We examine whether the ultrabook measures up to the broad multimedia class.

For the original German review, see here.

The thin line between ultrabooks and multimedia notebooks is gradually disappearing. First came the elegant Zenbooks that emulated the genre leader MacBook Air. The ultrabooks of today are a bit thicker and heavier, due to the  additional equipment such as DVD drive and 15.6-inch screen. Both of these are characteristics of the broad class of multimedia notebooks. But the usual ultrabook features are also not neglected: Solid State Drives or hard drives with ExpressCache offer quick system start-up. At about 2 kg, the Dell Inspiron 15z 5523 is approximately one kilogram lighter than most 15.6-inch notebooks. The predecessor with the same name, Inspiron 15z, was still a classical multimedia notebook.

As with all its devices, Dell offers an individually configurable notebook. Our Inspiron 15z 5523 comes with the cheapest available processor Intel Core i5-3317U – a ULV CPU of the current Ivy Bridge generation with a good price-performance ratio. It also houses the graphics chip Intel HD Graphics 4000, which is augmented by the dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 630M with 2 GB of video memory. The total system memory available is 6 GB, composed of one 4 GB and one 2 GB modules, occupying both RAM slots. In addition Dell's ultrabook comes with a 128 GB Solid State Drive, of which at least 18 GB is taken up by Windows 8 Pro (64 bit).

In this configuration, the Inspiron 15z is available for 749 Euros (~$1008) on Dell's website. Those who are happy with just the integrated graphics chip and the conventional 500 GB hard drive, can save exactly 100 Euros (~$134). An upgrade of our configuration to the Intel i7-3517U costs 50 Euros (~$67).

Case

Dell Inspiron 15z
Dell Inspiron 15z

The Inspiron 15z looks like a proper ultrabook with its gray brushed aluminum display lid and palm rest. The well-rounded edges are a matter of taste. Although the metal surfaces are not as dirt prone as is high-gloss plastic, some fingerprints are still clearly visible. The same is true about dust on the glossy display, which is not an issue on matte screens. Thus, a cleaning cloth is a must-have accessory.

The fancy metal surfaces are protected by plastic around the edges and on the bottom cover, both of which feel quite solid. In addition, all the gaps are uniform and the Inspiron 15z can be awarded a good workmanship mark.

A 15-inch notebook, which at 23 mm is also very thin, will mostly have the disadvantage of a wobbly display. The Inspiron 15z is not an exception. When opening the 5 mm thin display lid, it feels like no teetering should be expected. But small vibrations prove the opposite. Still, the hinges hold the lid firmly in place and it can be comfortably opened with one hand. The maximum opening angle is only about 120 degrees.

to top

Connectivity

Webcam: noise is clearly visible
Webcam: noise is clearly visible

As we already mentioned, the ultrabook has no less equipment than a multimedia notebook. The 15z features a DVD burner and a LAN port, which needed an adapter on most ultrabooks of the first generation. In addition, the notebook has a total of four USB ports - two on each side. The HDMI, Kensington Lock and the SD card reader were also not forgotten. We are only missing a VGA port, because external monitors and projectors do not always have an HDMI input. All of the interfaces are located on both sides and are not too close to each other. At the front the status LEDs glow discreetly in white.

Like most notebooks, the 15z also has a webcam above the display. It is nothing special with a resolution of 1.3 megapixels. Our test shows some noise in the picture despite the sufficient light. The quality is enough for Skype video calls, but nothing more. A small LED right next to the camera indicates operation. Thanks to the integrated microphone, you can easily "Skype" without any external accessories.

Front: white status LEDs
Front: white status LEDs
Left side: AC jack, Kensington, LAN, HDMI, USB 3.0, audio jack
Left side: AC jack, Kensington, LAN, HDMI, USB 3.0, audio jack
Right side: SD card reader, USB 3.0, DVD burner
Right side: SD card reader, USB 3.0, DVD burner

Communication

Dell has equipped the Inspiron 15z with a "Dell Wireless 1704" module that uses the latest WLAN and Bluetooth standards. The former supports 802.11b/g/n and we cannot ask more of it. But our test revealed some problems. At first the ultrabook could not connect to the access point, but that was resolved after a re-installation of the driver. The module also could not communicate well with our FritzBox, which is a couple of years old and supports the b/g standards. Although the tray icon said that the connection was stable, the internet access was interrupted at random intervals. A reboot of the module bought us some more internet time. There are different explanations of the problem on some internet forums, but unfortunately we could not find a solution for the period of the review. However, the connection to other access points was flawless.

The range of the WLAN module was rather mediocre. At a distance of 10 meters (~33 feet) and a wall between the router and the notebook, the wireless strength fluctuated between two and four bars out of five. With one floor and about two walls between the two devices, the ultrabook could not connect to the router at all. In comparison, both an old netbook with an Atheros module and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 still had reception at this point.

The latest Bluetooth Version 4.0, which is more energy efficient than the widely used version 3.0, is also available. Annoyingly, Bluetooth and WLAN can only be switched off or on together and not separately via the Fn button.

Accessories

The ultrabook comes only with the essentials. In addition to the power supply and some printed materials, there is only a single DVD with drivers, which currently can also be downloaded off the internet. A Windows Recovery DVD could have been useful in order to quickly restore the system to its factory settings. Instead, we have the Windows Recovery function and Dell's "Backup and Recovery" at our disposal.

Maintenance

A small cover allows quick access to the system memory. The rest of the bottom side cannot be removed without the risk of damage. Therefore, attempting to do so is not advisable at least for amateurs. You cannot easily access the other components such as hard drive, graphics card, and fan.

Warranty

Dell delivers the Inspiron 15z with a two-year warranty. If you purchase the ultrabook directly from the manufacturer, you will also receive one year of the so-called On-Site Hardware Service, which promises "hardware repairs within one day". Also included are 90 days of over-the-phone support. For 75.01 Euros (~$100) it can be extended to one year. 97.50 Euros (~$131) pays for two years of On-Site Hardware Service and just as long phone support. Three years of both costs 180 Euros (~$242).

In addition, one year accident protection can be purchased for 40 Euros (~$53). Also, Dell offers software theft protection via the LoJack application. This of course only protects against inexperienced thieves that would continue to use the installed operating system.

to top

Input Devices

Keyboard

The Inspiron 15z has a keyboard in the common chiclet style. It features low-profile square keys with rounded corners. The 3 mm gap between the keys separates them well and can prevent typos. The keys also have a clear pressure point, thus allowing convenient and quick typing. Generally, the good workmanship and keyboard quality go hand in hand. At the top right of the keyboard we find three special buttons. One opens the Windows Mobility Center, allowing quick access to the main modules of the notebook. The second one switches between the various sound settings. The third key is configurable and can start any program.

A highlight, in the truest sense of the word, is the keyboard's back lighting. It can be switched off completely or adjusted in two steps via an Fn key. If the keyboard has not been used for some time, the lighting automatically switches off and comes back on at the first key press.

Touchpad

The touchpad is slightly recessed into the body and visually fits well in the overall image of the notebook. The slightly rough surface is different optically and tactile from the brushed aluminum of the palm rest. Finger gliding is comfortable and the cursor movement is smooth. The familiar multi-touch gestures, such as two-finger scrolling or zooming, work well. The tray icon of the touchpad leads to an extensive menu, offering a variety of gestures with up to four fingers. In spite of all efforts, we could not make even one of them work. Only the two already mentioned gestures worked as advertised. The software seems incompatible with Windows 8 – we can only hope for an update.

The two mouse buttons are made of smooth plastic, but imitate the aluminum look of the case. They function perfectly, have a pleasant pressure point, and do not wobble. Overall, the touchpad corresponds to the good workmanship of the case.

Keyboard
Keyboard
Back lighting
Back lighting
Touchpad
Touchpad
to top

Display

Outside use
Outside use

The screen has a diagonal of 15.6-inches and has a resolution of 1366x768 pixels in the 16:9 format. A higher resolution can often be found only in a device above the 1000 Euros (~$1346) mark. This is a glossy display, which hinders outdoor use. The values of the screen we measured prove that the image quality cannot compensate for this shortcoming. The maximum brightness of 212 cd/m² forces compromises in brightly lit places. The contrast ratio of 650:1 is surprisingly good for the moderate brightness values.

212
cd/m²
209
cd/m²
208
cd/m²
192
cd/m²
209
cd/m²
192
cd/m²
195
cd/m²
194
cd/m²
205
cd/m²
Information
X-rite i1 Basic Pro 2
Maximum: 212 cd/m²
Average: 201.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 214 cd/m²
Distribution of brightness

The low coverage of the sRGB and AdobeRGB color spaces is no surprise. Anyway, it is relevant only to professional graphics and photo editors. As expected, the color spaces are barely reproduced. Nevertheless, the Inspiron 15z is slightly better in this test than its smaller brother, the 14z.

Inspiron 15z vs. sRGB
Inspiron 15z vs. sRGB
Inspiron 15z vs. AdobeRGB
Inspiron 15z vs. AdobeRGB
Inspiron 15z vs. Inspiron 14z
Inspiron 15z vs. Inspiron 14z
Viewing angles Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
Viewing angles Dell Inspiron 15z-5523

While the viewing angles of the Inspiron 14z were abysmal, those of the 15z can be considered as acceptable. Horizontally, the image remains relatively stable up to 45 degrees. Vertically, we see a fading and color inversion even at a small angle. This is typical for notebooks with a TN panel. The rarely used IPS panels offer significantly better viewing angles, as the Lenovo ThinkPad Twist Convertible shows.

to top

Performance

The heart of Dell's Inspiron 15z in our configuration is the Intel Core i5-3317U. It is a popular choice since it offers good value for money to most customers. The processor has two cores with a base clock of 1.7 GHz. At idle, the frequency is automatically reduced to 800 MHz and under high load Turbo Boost should increase it to 2.6 GHz (single core). The chip also houses the Intel Graphics HD 4000, which is used in simpler applications in order to save power. The dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 630M comes with 2 GB video memory. Thanks to Nvidia Optimus technology it is automatically turned on for demanding video and 3D applications. As we already mentioned, the Inspiron also comes with 6 GB of RAM, which ought to be enough for most users. The 128 GB Solid State Drive is rather fast, but might be a bit too small as a storage device.

In this configuration, the Dell Inspiron 15z costs 749 Euros (~$1008). The cheapest version with Intel Core i3-3217U, 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive with a 32 GB ExpressCache will set you back 599 Euros (~$806). The most powerful chip is the Intel Core i7-3517U, which Dell offers in the Inspiron 15z model starting from 949 Euros (~$1277).

Systeminfo CPUZ CPU
Systeminfo CPUZ Cache
Systeminfo CPUZ Mainboard
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM
Systeminfo CPUZ RAM SPD
Systeminfo GPUZ
System information Dell Inspiron 15z-5523

Processor

CPU benchmark: the CPU runs at the base frequency under load
CPU benchmark: the CPU runs at the base frequency under load

Compared to other notebooks with the same processor, the Inspiron 15z shows a rather poor performance in the CPU benchmark Cinebench. The smaller Inspiron 14z or even the cheaper Asus Aspire V5-571G are about 50% quicker in the Single Rendering test. We saw the same results in both the 32 and 64 bit Multi Core tests.

According to the specifications, a single core should be able to reach 2.6 GHz and both cores - 2.4 GHz. But under continuous load, which the benchmark simulated, neither cores exceed the base clock. This is the reason for the relatively low scores. This also leads to performance loss in demanding applications. Some consolation comes from the fact that the frequency is not lower on battery power - the benchmarks showed the same results as when plugged in.

Cinebench R10 - Rendering Single 32Bit
Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Liteon LCT-128M3S
2354 Points ∼40%
Dell Inspiron 14z (5423)
Radeon HD 7570M, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
3519 Points ∼60% +49%
Acer Aspire V5-571G-53314G50Makk
GeForce GT 620M, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
3488 Points ∼60% +48%
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit
Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Liteon LCT-128M3S
1.61 Points ∼13%
Dell Inspiron 14z (5423)
Radeon HD 7570M, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
2.38 Points ∼20% +48%
Acer Aspire V5-571G-53314G50Makk
GeForce GT 620M, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
2.38 Points ∼20% +48%
Cinebench
CB10 Rendering Single 32Bit2354 points
CB10 Rendering Single 64Bit2827 points
CB10 Rendering Multi 32Bit5112 points
CB10 Rendering Multi 64Bit6279 points
CB10 OpenGL 32Bit4567 points
CB10 OpenGL 64Bit4582 points
CB R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit1.61 points
CB R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit22.82 fps
Help

System Performance

The extensive benchmarks of the PCMark Vantage and PCMark 7 will serve as an indicator to the overall system performance. Unfortunately the 1.5-hour Vantage benchmark came up with no results, so here are the PCMark 7 ones. Compared to the aforementioned notebooks it is obvious that the poor CPU performance has no effect here. The score of the Inspiron 15z trumps all notebooks with the same CPU. The reason is the SSD - all of the other laptops use slower hybrid solutions with ExpressCache.

The advantage of the flash memory is noticeable especially in combination with Windows 8. Although the lack of a Start menu might be confusing to new users, the usual loading times for system and application start-up are almost non-existent. A cold start of the notebook takes a couple of seconds, little more than when waking from Sleep mode.

PCMark 7 - Score
Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Liteon LCT-128M3S
3679 Points ∼56%
Dell Inspiron 14z (5423)
Radeon HD 7570M, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
2790 Points ∼42% -24%
Acer Aspire V5-571G-53314G50Makk
GeForce GT 620M, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
1858 Points ∼28% -49%
Acer Aspire M5-581TG-53314G52Mass
GeForce GT 640M, 3317U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 20 GB SSD Cache
2826 Points ∼43% -23%
5.3
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
6.3
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.5
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
5.3
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.7
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
8.1
PC Mark
PCMark 73679 points
Help

Storage Devices

Our test model comes with a Solid State Drive (SSD) made by Liteon (LCT-128M3S). The manufacturer promises maximum read and write speeds of over 500 MB/s. The sequential read rate we measured was 493 MB/s and the write one was only 187 MB/s. The first value is rather good for a flash drive. While the write rate was far from the advertised one, it should not matter that much to the overall performance.

As we already mentioned, the hybrid solution of a 500 GB hard drive and an ExpressCache costs 100 Euros (~$134) less. The small Inspiron 14z we tested came with a Solid State Drive made by Samsung that had similar read rates and slightly better write rates.

Liteon LCT-128M3S
Sequential Read: 486.4 MB/s
Sequential Write: 199.6 MB/s
512K Read: 369.1 MB/s
512K Write: 197.2 MB/s
4K Read: 18.97 MB/s
4K Write: 32.57 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 264.9 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 195.2 MB/s

Graphics Card

In addition to the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000, the Inspiron 15z can be equipped with the dedicated Nvidia GeForce GT 630M, as is our test model. It is an affordable graphics card of the lower middle class, which allows playing some games on the ultrabook. Automatic switching between the two graphics solutions is also possible thanks to Nvidia Optimus technology. The Intel chip is used for simple desktop applications and thus saves power and increases battery life. The dedicated GeForce card takes over during demanding HD movies or 3D applications.

The results from 3DMark 11 are as expected. The smaller Inspiron 14z is equipped with the somewhat slower AMD Radeon HD 7570M, which scored about 3/4 of the points of the GeForce. The slightly lower-clocked GeForce 620M of the aforementioned Acer Aspire V5-571G also has a similar score. The ultrabook Acer Aspire M5-581TG comes with a GeForce 640M. Its lead of 50% is due to the significantly higher number of Shaders and the new Kepler architecture. The 630M is part of Nvidia's previous Fermi generation.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
7689 points
3DMark 111214 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance
Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
GeForce GT 630M, 3317U, Liteon LCT-128M3S
1214 Points ∼9%
Dell Inspiron 14z (5423)
Radeon HD 7570M, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
926 Points ∼7% -24%
Acer Aspire V5-571G-53314G50Makk
GeForce GT 620M, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
1145 Points ∼9% -6%
Acer Aspire M5-581TG-53314G52Mass
GeForce GT 640M, 3317U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 20 GB SSD Cache
1859 Points ∼14% +53%

Gaming Performance

Games suffer from the CPU frequency limitation
Games suffer from the CPU frequency limitation

If we have a dedicated graphics card on board, we should be able to play some games on the ultrabook. Although, at this price, some compromises are to be expected. With the help of some older and some modern games, we test the gaming capabilities of the Inspiron 15z. First is Starcraft 2, which we played without significant frame rate drops. The game runs at 1024x768 pixels and low details with more than 100 fps. But even at native resolution and medium details it is still playable at 50 fps. Only at a higher setting would the game stutter in some demanding battles.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a 2011 role playing game that is graphically more demanding. Yet it is playable at lower details and native resolution – even though the counter never exceeded 30 fps. Under load, as when playing Skyrim, the limitation of the CPU clock is the ultrabook's bottleneck for games.

Assassin's Creed 3 is a brand new title. It is playable on the Inspiron 15z at native resolution and medium details. You can find various gaming benchmarks on the GeForce GT 630M page, which should indicate basic gaming capabilities with some restrictions. Those who intend to play older or not so demanding games will find a good price-performance compromise with this card. But an ultrabook is generally the wrong choice for higher gaming demands.

low med.high ultra
StarCraft 2 (2010) 1244926fps
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 292825fps
Assassin´s Creed III (2012) 3624fps
to top

Emissions

Noise Level

Unlike a conventional hard drive, the SSD is completely silent, because there are no mechanical elements. This leaves the fan and the DVD drive, when used, as the Inspiron 15z's sources of noise. When working on a desktop, say with Office applications, the ultrabook remains pleasantly quiet. Only when playing games or under similar demanding applications does the fan spin up. The noise level we measured was 42 dB, which is a mediocre result. When playing a DVD, the drive is sporadically audible, but this does not disturb the movie experience in any way.

Noise Level

Idle 29.5 / 31.4 / 31.6 dB(A)
DVD 34.5 / dB(A)
Load 39.1 / 42.3 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test
Stress test

As you can see on the diagram, the only hot spot is on the bottom, round the AC jack, and it gets warm only when the notebook is under load. The keyboard and palm rest remain pleasantly cool, mainly because of the aluminum surface. We measured values not exceeding 30 °C. Higher temperatures were observed only on the bottom side. The smaller Inspiron 14z with the same processor gets a bit warmer under load.

During the stress test, we put the system under constant load with FurMark and Prime95. The CPU frequency limitation of the processor is justified here. In order to protect the hardware from overheating, the CPU is not allowed to exceed its base clock frequency. Even after one hour, the reported maximum temperature of the CPU was 80 °C – even 10 °C higher would not have been critical. If you run only Prime95 or FurMark, the processor reaches just 70 °C. Thus the fan does not have a lot of work, as in notebooks without such frequency limitation, and keeps the ultrabook constantly cool. The benchmarks we ran again right after the stress test showed results without significant deviation.

Max. Load
 45.2 °C44.0 °C28.6 °C 
 41.8 °C41.2 °C28.6 °C 
 28.4 °C29 °C27.2 °C 
 
47.1 °C45.1 °C26.7 °C
39.6 °C33.1 °C27.1 °C
29.3 °C29.5 °C26.1 °C
Maximum: 45.2 °C
Average: 34.9 °C
 Maximum: 47.1 °C
Average: 33.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  49.3 °C | Room Temperature 24 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The stereo speakers, located beneath the front of the notebook, offer clear sound and can be turned up quite loud. The ultrabook lacks a subwoofer, which is getting more and more popular among multimedia notebooks and gives more bass. Like in the smaller 14z, a button allows the selection of various sound profiles. They do not really make a difference to the sound of the 15z either and are unnecessary. If you value better sound quality, we advise the use of external (active) speakers.

to top

Energy Management

Power Consumption

At just 5.9 W the ultrabook has a properly low minimum consumption. In comparison, the smaller 14z draws a minimum of 7.4 W. The maximum energy consumption of the 15z is almost 47 W, which is about 10 W higher than the Inspiron 14z. The main reason is the powerful Nvidia graphics card. The maximum output of the power supply is 90 W, which is more than enough.

Power consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 5.9 / 9.7 / 9.9 Watt
Load 44.2 / 46.8 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

As the already mentioned 14z, the Inspiron 15z comes with a built-in Lithium-Ion battery with a capacity of 44 Wh. Theoretically, given the minimum power consumption, the battery should last more than 7.5 hours. The actual time was measured with the Battery Eater Tool, which simulates reading a text document instead of absolutely idle state. With lowest screen brightness and disabled wireless modules, the battery lasted almost 7 hours.

A more practical scenario is offered by the surf test. We set the brightness on medium and let a script reload websites of different sizes. The Inspiron 15z was out of juice after 5 hours and 34 minutes. The ultrabook lasts almost half an hour less  playing a DVD with the same brightness, but deactivated WLAN.

The minimum run time should be less than an hour, because the maximum consumption of the notebook is higher than the battery's capacity. The Classic test by Battery Eater showed 1 hour and 12 minutes. This shows that the ultrabook does not draw the maximum 46 W constantly, probably because of the CPU frequency limitation. Since this scenario is not realistic, the battery should last longer than this even in demanding applications.

Battery runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
7h 02min
WiFi Surfing
5h 34min
DVD
4h 05min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 12min
to top

Verdict

Dell Inspiron 15z
Dell Inspiron 15z

Dell has successfully integrated the ultrabook into the multimedia Inspiron family. The 15z bridges the gap between the two notebook classes without sacrificing too much on either side.

First off is the stylish appearance that deserves the title ultrabook. The brushed aluminum not only looks good, but also emphasizes the high quality of the case. It is remarkably thin for a 15-inch notebook and is also well built. The hardware components are also on an ultrabook level: the Intel Core i5-3317U is a processor with a good price-performance ratio, supported by the Nvidia GeForce GT 630M. Occasional gaming is also possible on the Inspiron 15z. The Solid State Drive in combination with Windows 8 makes working rather quick - the system boots in seconds and so do the other programs.

The display is less convincing. Due to its glossy surface and relatively low brightness, it is less than suitable for outdoor use. The performance of the notebook suffers from a CPU that is limited to its base clock, thus remaining below its potential. However, this ensures that the ultrabook is always cool and quiet. Also unsatisfactory is the pre-installed software. Under Windows 8 not all of the multi-touch gestures shown in the Touchpad Tool work, even after activation. This leaves just a couple of the standard ones. There is also no separate deactivation of the Bluetooth and WLAN. The Fn key switches both of them on or off. This is not user-friendly or practical. We are hoping for an update here.

The hybrids between ultrabooks and multimedia notebooks are increasing in number. On the one hand they are chic, slim, lightweight and offer long battery life. On the other hand, they are also suitable for gaming, listening to music and watching movies. At over 2 kg and with a 15-inch screen, the 15z is not exactly the most delicate ultrabook. Also, other notebooks of the same class have a longer battery life, but without the dedicated graphics card. These are the requirements that multimedia notebooks must meet - although they are bigger and heavier, they often have better graphics cards, a wider range of interfaces and better sound.

The Dell Inspiron 15z is a type of compromise, which should please a large number of customers without major or specific demands. A big advantage of Dell is the individual configuration of the notebooks, thus allowing the ultrabook to meet most requirements.

7 comments

Got questions or something to add to our article? Even without registering you can post in the comments!
Read all comments / answer
#7 Re: Review Dell Inspiron 15z (5523) Ultrabookgobhat, 09:57 06.10
I have purchased 15z in may,2013 and getting lot of issue. Dell replaced 2 times motherboard and WI-FI card. Still facing lot of other issue.Not Recommending to anyone....
#6 Re: Review Dell Inspiron 15z (5523) UltrabookGustav, 09:41 08.09
I have the same problem with connectivity..  I am very dissatisfied!!! ...
#5 Re: Review Dell Inspiron 15z (5523) Ultrabookosama, 14:15 10.07
i have problem with brightness...... when i blog out the power cable it auto contrast the brightness even i increase it...as...when i open a dark photo  the brightness comes low..and it cant chamge ...
#4 Re: Review Dell Inspiron 15z (5523) Ultrabookdivewoot, 18:36 26.06
I also have problems with the wifi randomly dropping the connection (says limited connectivity) you have to forget the connection and then make it again to get it back. This is very frustrating. Other wifi devices in the same room as the 15z have no problems at all. ...
#3 Re: Review Dell Inspiron 15z (5523) UltrabookBhrett, 21:31 10.04
I have had to have the motherboard and daughterboard replaced twice on mine!...
#2 Re: Review Dell Inspiron 15z (5523) Ultrabookgodlich, 11:14 03.03
How difficult is it to change the HDD? I have a model with HDD and want to replace it by an SSD......
#1 Re: Review Dell Inspiron 15z (5523) UltrabookAG, 18:25 18.02
I have had the 15z for almost two months, and the connectivity problem exists as well, on virtually any network that I use - random disconnects that are only remedied by hibernating/restarting the computer. It is very annoying!...
Read all 7 comments / answer

Comment this article:

In review: Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
In review: Dell Inspiron 15z-5523

Specifications

Dell Inspiron 15z-5523

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM77 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
6144 MB, DDR3 SDRAM
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M - 2048 MB, Core: 800 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, Nvidia Optimus
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, TN LED, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Liteon LCT-128M3S, 128 GB
:: Connections
4 USB 3.0, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Line in, Card Reader: 8in1 (SD/MMC/xD/SDHC/SDHD/MS/MS PRO/SDIO) ,
:: Networking
Atheros AR8161/8165 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Dell Wireless 1704 802.11b/g/n (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GA11N
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 23 x 347 x 240
:: Weight
2.17 kg Power Supply: 0.34 kg
:: Battery
44.4 Wh Lithium-Ion, 12.502 V/3.551 Ah
:: Price
700 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1.3 MP, Speakers: Stereo speakers (Skullcandy), Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty

 

The Dell Inspiron 15z is only 23 mm thick
The Dell Inspiron 15z is only 23 mm thick
The display lid made of brushed aluminum is an eye-catcher
The display lid made of brushed aluminum is an eye-catcher
The metal is protected by a plastic frame
The metal is protected by a plastic frame
Unfortunately the display is not matte
Unfortunately the display is not matte
and has a low brightness
and has a low brightness
The maximum opening angle is 120 degrees
The maximum opening angle is 120 degrees
The mandatory webcam with 1.3 megapixels
The mandatory webcam with 1.3 megapixels
Windows 8 comes preinstalled
Windows 8 comes preinstalled
Good workmanship: the gaps are even
Good workmanship: the gaps are even
The power button is located on the left hinge
The power button is located on the left hinge
and glows in white
and glows in white
The ultrabook has three special keys
The ultrabook has three special keys
The sticker on the left palm rest
The sticker on the left palm rest
Below which are the white status LEDs
Below which are the white status LEDs
On the right is an indication of the Intel chip
On the right is an indication of the Intel chip
The bottom of the notebook is made of plastic
The bottom of the notebook is made of plastic
At the front are the two speakers
At the front are the two speakers
Above the air vent is the Windows sticker
Above the air vent is the Windows sticker
Four of these rubber feet give the Inspiron 15z stability
Four of these rubber feet give the Inspiron 15z stability
The case screws are hidden underneath rubber covers
The case screws are hidden underneath rubber covers
A small cover on the bottom
A small cover on the bottom
provides access only to the system memory
provides access only to the system memory

Similar Notebooks

Similar Notebooks from a different Manufacturer

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

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Price Comparison

Pro

+good housing
+individually configurable
+dedicated graphics card
+always remains cool
+mostly silent
 

Contra

-glossy display
-low brightness
-no CPU Turbo under load
-cumbersome maintenance

Shortcut

What we like

The good case and the price-performance ratio.

What we'd like to see

A better display, despite the low price.

What surprises us

Only the system memory can be replaced, the rest of the hardware components are hard to reach.

The competition

The aforementioned smaller Inspiron 14z. A cheaper notebook with almost identical hardware - Acer Aspire V5-571G. Slightly more powerful is the Acer Aspire M5-581TG ultrabook.

Ratings

Dell Inspiron 15z-5523
01/08/2013 v3
Manuel Christa
Workmanship 88%
Keyboard 81%
Mouse 76%
Connectivity 66%
Weight 86%
Battery 84%
Display 77%
Games Performance 78%
Application Performance 94%
Temperature 81%
Noise 88%
Impression 85%
Average 82%

82%

Multimedia *
Weighted Average

* Weighted Average Multimedia Notebook:
Workmanship 8%, Keyboard 8%, Mouse 6%, Connectivity 8%, Weight 6%, Battery 8%, Display 10%, Games Performance 10%, Application Performance 10%, Temperature 8%, Noise 8%, Impression 10%

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Review Dell Inspiron 15z (5523) Ultrabook
Author: Manuel Christa, 2013-01-24 (Update: 2013-06- 6)