Review Dell Inspiron 17R-SE-7720 Notebook

Shao-Hung Liu (translated by Liala Stiegitz), 08/16/2012

Special Edition! Apart from the name, our test device no longer has much in common with the older generation models that we have reviewed. The newest hardware technology is packed in a new outfit. The add-on SE standing for “Special Edition” refers to the extra performance reserves as well as the high quality components in contrast to the standard Inspiron 17R.

Our review sample is Dell's Inspiron 17R SE 7720 - a 17-inch behemoth. Like in the Inspiron 15R SE, you have to be wary when ordering on Dell's homepage because the old and the new Inspiron models are sold under the same name. You should make sure to look at the case and installed hardware rather than the name to determine if it is the current Inspiron model.

Featuring Intel's powerful Core i7-3610QM quad-core processor with a default clock of 2.3 GHz, Nvidia's GeForce GT 650 and a total of 6 GB DDR3 RAM, the Inspiron 17R lines in among high-performance laptops - at least theoretically. As typical for Dell, the computer can be customized according to the needed power. However, the available options right now on the website are very limited.

With a weight of 3.3 kilograms (7.27 lb.), the Inspiron 17R SE must be classified as a desktop replacement. We will find out whether our test system's available performance will match the installed hardware in practical use.

Case

The Dell Inspiron 17R SE
Dell logo
Anodized aluminum in precision-embossed honeycomb pattern
Anodized aluminum in precision-embossed honeycomb pattern
Switch lever for releasing the cover. But where are the colorful covers?
Switch lever for releasing the cover. But where are the colorful covers?

It is evident looking at the case design that Dell has put effort into the Inspiron 17R Special Edition. No smooth surfaces in glossy paint are found like in the case of the Inspiron 17R (N7110). The interchangeable display covers (Switch covers) that we know are also available for the Special Edition and are there to provide some semblance of individuality. The display lid and the wrist rest are made of anodized aluminum featuring a precision-embossed honeycomb pattern that is palpable, but also a bit sensitive to fingerprints. Dell's logo is placed visibly on the lid.

Thanks to the anodized aluminum, the device not only looks good but also scores in terms of stability. The Inspiron 17R SE proves to be solidly built and doesn’t yield even in the keyboard area. However, this makes it a little too bulky with all the build material incorporated into the design for stiffness. Both the display's anodized aluminum back as well as the wrist rest are trimmed with silver strips that lend the Inspiron 17R SE a better appearance. Unfortunately, fingerprints easily stick to the anodized aluminum surface and more care is needed to keep the notebook looking good. 

The 17-inch screen is kept in place firmly by two medium sized hinges on both sides. But vibrations or adjusting the opening angle makes the display wobble a bit. Despite the size, the Inspiron does not have a closing mechanism to keep the screen closed tightly. Opening and closing the screen is a bit difficult but does not produce creaking noises that might taint the good impression. A HD webcam and the digital microphone are built into the top of the display.

Connectivity

The Inspiron 17R SE sports a good assortment of ports for a desktop replacement. They are located on both sides and in the front. The rear does not harbor any ports because the inserted battery uses the entire width. Although we deem the distribution to be subpar, right-handers should be able to cope well with the ports.

Dell installs an 8 in 1 card reader that supports the following standards: Digital (SD) Memory Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC), Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC), Multi Media Card (MMC), MultiMedia Card plus (MMC+), Memory Stick (MS), Memory Stick PRO (MS Pro), xD Picture Card (xD).

The power adapter and video out is followed by the vent on the left. The HDMI port and two USB 3.0 ports (one features active power for charging during sleep/inactivity) and the microphone and headphone jacks are directly beside them. The right is not as crammed. The optical drive (PLDS DVD+-RW DS-8A8SH) is found between two USB 3.0 ports, followed by an RJ45 Ethernet (10/100) port and the Kensington lock slot.

Power socket, analog VGA, vent, HDMI, USB 3.0 (Powered), USB 3.0, microphone, headphone
Power socket, analog VGA, vent, HDMI, USB 3.0 (Power Share), USB 3.0, microphone, headphone
USB 3.0, optical drive, USB 3.0, LAN port, Kensington lock
USB 3.0, optical drive, USB 3.0, LAN port, Kensington lock
LED indicator, 8 in 1 card reader
LED indicator, 8in1 card reader
Battery, switch lever
Battery, switch lever

Communication

The RJ45 Ethernet port (Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller) is mandatory as well as a standard in virtually every laptop. This also applies to the WLAN adapter, which no reasonable mobile device lacks nowadays. Dell's Inspiron 17R SE sports an Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 adapter that supports most common Wi-Fi standards for wireless Internet connections or linking up to a network. Bluetooth 4.0 is also is also included in the laptop.

Video conferences via Skype or similar programs are no problem for our test device having a 1MP webcam and an accompanying microphone in the display bezel.

Accessories

Microsoft Office Starter, McAfee Security Center (15 months, registration required) and Nero Control Center are among the preinstalled programs (mostly bloatware) found on the hard disk. Microsoft's Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit operating system is installed along with Adobe Premiere Elements 9 and Adobe Photoshop 9, which are slimmed-down versions of Adobe Premiere and Adobe Photoshop respectively. Another very useful preinstalled program is Dell Audio. It is basically a sound manager for controlling Skullcandy's built-in sound system including an integrated subwoofer.

A driver CD and installation media for Adobe Premiere Elements 9 and Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 is found in the box. A 130 watt PSU is found in addition to the Inspiron 17R SE and its battery.

Maintenance

Accessing the Inspiron 17R SE's hard disk and RAM are simple. Only two small screws have to be removed from the base. Then, the L-shaped cover can be removed easily but with a bit of care. The Wi-Fi module, HDD and the RAM, an mSATA slot and a secondary HDD slot are accessible. Unfortunately, normal users cannot reach the fan or the heat sink for cleaning purposes. The keyboard and the palm rest would have to be removed and the remaining case disassembled even more to access these components. However, this could result in the loss of the warranty. 

Warranty

A 12 month "Hardware Service: Next Business Day Limited Onsite Service" is included in the purchase price. It can be extended to three years for a steep surcharge of 180 Euro (~$230), which includes "Premium Phone Support" for software issues for the entire warranty period. Accidental damages are covered within the scope of the warranty for an additional 40 Euro (~$50) for 1 year.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Like its 15-inch sibling, the Inspiron 17R SE features a chiclet-style keyboard. In contrast to the Inspiron 15R SE, our test device sports a full-scale number pad as in external keyboards. Dell also uses a standard keyboard layout and that means long familiarization periods are reduced to a minimum. The optional backlit keyboard, as present in the Vostro V131 and Inspiron 15R SE, could lead to a bit of confusion when ordering online. Apparently, only devices without the "48 hour delivery" feature can be configured with a backlit keyboard. It costs an additional 40 Euro (~$50), as was in the case of the Inspiron 15R SE. 

Typing on the installed keyboard is pleasant. We cannot complain much about the quality. The pressure point is distinct and clearly palpable. Three hot keys for Windows Mobility Center are located above the keyboard and below the right hinge. Two buttons enable selecting the audio profile and one key can be assigned with a frequently used application.

Touchpad

The Inspiron 17R SE's touchpad is just as convincing. The pointer can be navigated very accurately. The touchpad surface is pleasant and the size is also adequate. The touchpad can be disabled quickly and conveniently via a key combination. An orange-colored LED above the touchpad indicates its deactivation when it begins to glow. Multi-gestures, like the ones on smartphones, are also supported and detected without problems.

Both mouse keys below the touchpad work flawlessly and provide good and clear feedback.

Touchpad
Touchpad
Chiclet-style keyboard
Chiclet-style keyboard
including a full-scale number pad
including a full-blown number pad

Display

Dell also has selected good quality components that give substance to the moniker ‘SE”. The Inspiron 17R SE sports a Full-HD screen (maximum resolution of 1920x1080 pixels) as appropriate for a multimedia device. However, Dell is a bit tightfisted with the optical drive and only installs a "standard" 8x DVD+/-RW drive into our configuration. A Blu-Ray drive would have been more befitting for the built-in Full HD screen Blu-Ray movies are best viewed on these resolutions. If a Blu-Ray drive is a must, it is available in the most expensive configuration priced  at 1199 Euro (~$1500).

The screen's illumination looks homogeneous, which is confirmed by our measurements. Our test device is well-positioned with a maximum brightness of 266 cd/m2 in the lower center. The illumination of 87% is also good.

264
cd/m²
262
cd/m²
249
cd/m²
241
cd/m²
254
cd/m²
231
cd/m²
261
cd/m²
266
cd/m²
251
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
Gossen Mavo-Monitor
Maximum: 266 cd/m²
Average: 253.2 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 254 cd/m²
Black: 0.35 cd/m²
Contrast: 726:1
Inspiron 17R SE vs. sRGB
Inspiron 17R SE vs. sRGB
Inspiron 17R SE vs. Adobe RGB
Inspiron 17R SE vs. Adobe RGB

A comparison with the Inspiron 15R SE shows the smaller device having slightly better brightness. However, the Inspiron 17R SE's screen compensates for this deficiency with a lower black value of 0.35 cd/m2 and better contrast ratio of 726:1 and this makes the pictures look more intense and vivid.

The built-in screen almost covers the sRGB space completely. However, it is not much of a comparison with the Adobe RGB space. The screen might not be meant for the graphic professional, but it would be an excellent display for the purpose of home entertainment. It is ultimately a consumer laptop that is not intended to meet professional claims.

Disregarding the size and weight, restricted outdoor use is quite possible when the device is used in shady places. Unfortunately the built-in screen cannot be viewed under direct sunlight due to an average brightness of 253.2 cd/m2. However, the matte screen prevents annoying reflections successfully.

The screen also scores quite well in viewing angle stability. The picture can still be recognized even when the display is almost closed. But there are slight losses in color. The lateral viewing angles are also fairly generous and pictures don’t distort even with tight viewing angles. This results in color deviations leading to a darker picture.

Reference
Viewing angles: Dell Inspiron 17R-SE
Viewing angles: Dell Inspiron 17R-SE
Viewing angles: Dell Inspiron 17R-SE
Viewing angles: Dell Inspiron 17R-SE
Viewing angles: Dell Inspiron 17R-SE
Viewing angles: Dell Inspiron 17R-SE
Viewing angles: Dell Inspiron 17R-SE

Performance

Modern notebook hardware copes easily with routine applications such as rendering multimedia files, office applications and internet surfing. Dell's Inspiron 17R SE is no exception. The Inspiron is qualified for more complex tasks such as video editing and gaming due to the strong quad-core CPU and GeForce graphics card.

System info CPUZ CPU
CrystalDiskMark
DPC Latency
System info HDTune
System info GPUZ HD Graphics 4000
System info GPUZ GT650M
System info CPUZ RAM SPD 2
System info CPUZ RAM SPD 1
System info CPUZ RAM
System info CPUZ Mainboard
System info CPUZ Cache
Windows Experience Index
System information: Dell Inspiron 17R-SE-7720

Processor

Dell's Inspiron 17R SE is at the very front in terms of performance due to Intel's Core i7-3610QM processor based on the latest Ivy Bridge architecture. The CPU is the cheapest model of Intel’s quad-core processors but has slightly better performance than Sandy Bridge's Core i7-2920XM CPU, which was the strongest CPU from the last generation. Compared with the higher clocked Core i7-3720QM with a default clock of 2.6 GHz, the installed Core i7-3610QM lags behind by approximately 10%. As already mentioned, routine applications are no problem for the CPU. HD video editing and gaming are not much of a challenge. 

This is also reflected in the benchmark results: A score of 6.16 in Cinebench R11.5 is quite close to the 6.2 points by the CPU in other notebooks. A similar picture is seen in the 3DMark 06 CPU and Cinebench R10 benchmarks.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4429
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
17092
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6714
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
5646 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
21206 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
6706 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
6.16 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
42.5 fps
Help

System Performance

This hardware configuration does not give us much reason for complaint regarding the system's performance. Subjectively, the system works smooth and fast, shows acceptable waiting times in transfer-intensive applications that occur due to the installed HDD. We believe it slows the system to an extent. Upgrading to an SSD would certainly be a worthy investment and also benefit the operating noise as well as the battery life in addition to faster boot times.

With a PCMark Vantage score of 9702 points, Dell's Inspiron 17R SE is neck and neck with MSI's GE60-i789W7H (9761 points) - a 15-inch laptop, and the 17-inch Samsung's Series 7 Gamer 700G7C (9795 points), which also sports Intel's Core i7-3610QM. The scores are as expected and our test device as well as the competition.

A PCMark 7 score of 2538 points compares to other laptops in the same way.  The Asus N76VZ-V2G-T1011V (2610 points) is about 3% better and the Asus N56VZ-S4044V (2505 points) is on a par with Dell's Inspiron for comparison. There are equally equipped notebooks, such as Samsung's Series 5 550P7C-S02 or MSI's GE70-i789W7H, which scored 2750 and 2745 points respectively in PCMark 7 and show an 8% higher result. However, the superior performance is not due to the GPU and the CPU. It is due to faster HDDs that spin at 7200 rpm rather than 5400 rpm disk in our test device. The biggest performance boost is achieved by upgrading to an SSD, as can easily be seen in Deviltech's Fire DTX (MSI's MS-16GA). 18697 in PCMark Vantage and 4193 points in PCMark 7 are achieved with the same CPU and GPU configuration, but with an SSD. That corresponds to an improvement of 93% and 65% respectively.

5.9
Windows 7 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.6
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.6
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
7.1
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
7.1
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage9702 points
PCMark 72538 points
Help

Storage Devices

The Inspiron 17R SE (unfortunately) relies on a conventional hard disk. In our case, it is Western Digital's WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVT-75A1YT0 that was installed in the smaller Inspiron 15R SE too. Consequently, it is not surprising that the installed HDD's performance of both devices is pretty close. Our test device also sports a one terabyte hard disk at 5400rpm and an average transfer rate of 84.48 MB/s. Consequently, it places itself ahead of Samsung's SpinPoint M8 which was installed in Medion's Akoya P7815 notebook. The hard disk is comparable in performance to a 7200 rpm HDD when it comes to access time of a mere 17.2 ms. Unfortunately, Dell no longer offers an SSD option for its Inspiron R SE models during the ordering process. The buyer has the option to go in for the best SSD their budget would allow. But that is not much of a problem with a cross-tip screwdriver and a bit of care.

WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVT-75A1Yt0
Transfer Rate Minimum: 51.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 108.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 84.8 MB/s
Access Time: 17.2 ms
Burst Rate: 102.6 MB/s

Graphics Card

Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M is an excellent card when it comes to performance to price ratio. It belongs to class 1 of our extensive graphics cards comparison. It is a DirectX 11.1 graphics card that is based on the Kepler GK107 chip and is manufactured using the 28nm process. Dell improves on Nvidia's reference design by 10 MHz by using a default clock of 745 MHz.  And with Turbo, goes up to 835 MHz, provided the temperatures are favorable. However, the GPU failed to stay at the boosted clock for long in our stress test and clocked down to the default clock of 745 MHz after a certain period. Moreover, the GeForce GT 650M installed in the Inspiron 17R SE features 2 GB GDDR5 memory that has a 128 bit bus.

The GeForce GT 650M's performance is significantly higher than that of the GT 640M due to the higher clocks. However, the narrow bandwidth can occasionally be a bottleneck. Compared with the last generation, the GT 650M is on a par with the older GTX 560M and, depending on the benchmark, sometimes even in the lead. It is quite apt for playing the latest games smoothly in high details. Nevertheless, the GeForce GT 650M quickly finds its limits particularly at high resolutions. The available performance is usually insufficient for the native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, depending on the game and its detail level. We refer to Gaming Performance for practical data in games. When the GT 650M's power is not required, the CPU-integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 takes over rendering pictures thanks to Optimus technology.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
14418 points
3DMark Vantage10068 points
3DMark 112312 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The Inspiron 17R SE's configuration is very tempting in regard to games, especially since there seems to be enough power to ensure smooth gameplay in high details. The GT 650M is good company for the Core i7-3610QM and should provide an excellent experience for people looking at seeking some decent level of gaming for this price.

Consequently, we could close in on the devil himself with 49 fps using the native resolution of 1920x1080 in Diablo III. The dwarfs in Blizzard's real-time strategy StarCraft 2 could also be chased away successfully at 41 fps in the maximum resolution and ultra settings. The old World of Warcraft engine is not a problem for the Inspiron 17R SE either. It unfortunately looks different with the role-playing game Skyrim. Here, the treasure hunt and search for better weapons was "only" possible in high settings (1366x768, 8x AA, 8x AF) and resulted in a smooth 41 fps. Higher settings put a lot of strain on Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M in Dirt Showdown (19 fps). It was smoothly playable after reducing the resolution and detail level to high (47 fps).

Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M quickly finds its limits at native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels in games like Skyrim and Dirt Showdown. The lack of raw power and the GDDR5 memory that only has a 128 bit bus, which can quickly turn into a bottleneck at such resolutions with enabled AA and AF, prevent better performance. The GTX 660MGTX 680M or AMD's Radeon HD 7970M, which also guarantees smooth gameplay at resolutions of 1920x1080 and with maximum details and effects even in the latest games and are intended for dedicated gaming devices.

low med.high ultra
World of Warcraft (2005) 19914587fps
StarCraft 2 (2010) 224796941fps
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 77594121fps
Diablo III (2012) 1581058549fps
Dirt Showdown (2012) 91674719fps

Emissions

System Noise

The Inspiron 17R SE will hardly be noticed in a quiet room when idling with an average of 31.6 dB (A). Even the built-in HDD is louder than the fan at idle measuring 32.5 dB (A) when accessing data. The fan's speed increases in several levels during load and as a result, its noise. However, we did not find the fan's frequency range penetrating or disturbing. According to the Voltcraft SL 320 meter, the average loudness is 43.7 dB (A) during load - a rate that is quite acceptable considering the high-performance hardware installed in our test device.

Noise Level

Idle 31.6 / 31.6 / 31.6 dB(A)
HDD 32.5 dB(A)
Load 43.7 / 44.2 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
Stress test

Temperature

The combination of Intel's Core i7-3610QM and Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M provides a lot of power, but also generates waste heat that has to be discharged. The surface temperatures are within an acceptable range when idling. The maximum temperature of 34.1 °C measured on the top are hardly noticed and do not need to be criticized. The maximum idle temperature of 36.8 °C on the bottom could prove to be uncomfortable on the lap. However, that is generally not to be recommended for a 17-inch notebook because of its size and weight anyway and will unlikely happen very often in practice.

The surface temperatures climbed to just over 50 °C during the stress test. It was ascertained on the center of the notebook. Although it gets noticeably warmer here, we did not find it uncomfortable. The maximum temperature of 53.8 °C in the vent area on the bottom is a bit high, but considering the potent hardware, it is still within an acceptable range. Although Turbo Boost cannot be maintained for long during load and the CPU is forced to clock down to default due to heat development, we fortunately did not ascertain throttling during the test.

Max. Load
 49.8 °C46.2 °C33 °C 
 48 °C50.4 °C35.8 °C 
 38.7 °C42 °C34.2 °C 
Maximum: 50.4 °C
Average: 42 °C
32 °C48.8 °C50.1 °C
31.9 °C44 °C53.8 °C
32 °C39.2 °C44.6 °C
Maximum: 53.8 °C
Average: 41.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  57 °C | Room Temperature 27.6 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

Another highlight of the Inspiron 17R SE is definitely the installed sound system from Skullcandy (2 speakers, and a subwoofer with Waves MaxxAudio 4.0). Dell includes the matching sound manager simply called Dell Audio. Apart from volume control, it enables adjusting the settings in the equalizer. However, you should not overdo it because the motto here is: less is often more. When the bass control is moved to high along with the maximum volume, the speakers tend to overdo the effect, particularly in trendy, bass-heavy music. Apart from this minor issue, Skullcandy's 2.1 sound system is convincing.

Battery Life

Power Consumption

In high-performance devices such as Dell's Inspiron 17R SE, not only is the available performance important but the energy needed to ensure this level of computing power is a consideration. We measure an average consumption of 15.4 W at idle. Our test device is within a good range when compared with the similarly configured Asus N76VZ-V2G-T1011V's 21.5 watts. 

In contrast to earlier models, the Inspiron 17R Special Edition consumes one watt more, but it is also quite a bit more powerful.

The similarities with the predecessor in idle power consumption stop during load. The DTR’s maximum consumption is 91.3 W in contrast to the 80.4 W of Dell's Inspiron 17R (N7110). This is due to the installed GeForce GT 650M that is enabled during load and consequently consumes more power. Nevertheless, Dell has done a good job in optimization when compared with the Asus N76VZ-V2G-T1011V that has much higher load consumption at 114.4 W.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.1 / 0.6 Watt
Idle 8.8 / 15.4 / 15.9 Watt
Load 82.8 / 91.3 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Although mobility is rather secondary in this weight class, a certain degree of freedom can be quite useful. We again use BatteryEater's Reader's test and recorded a maximum runtime of 5 hours and 4 minutes (304 minutes). Optimus technology detects the situation correctly and switches to Intel's HD Graphics 4000. The minimum mobile runtime nosedives to mere 59 minutes (BatteryEater's Classic, max. brightness, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth). The included 48 Wh lithium ion battery (11.1 volts, 4200 mAh) unfortunately cannot supply any more juice.

The notebook lasts an average of 151 minutes (2 hours and 31 minutes) when used to run a DVD. Watching movies shouldn’t be a problem.

The Inspiron 17R SE convinces in Wi-Fi use with 228 minutes (3 hours and 48 minutes) - a runtime with which you can work decently.

Readers Test
maximale Akkulaufzeit (Readers Test)
Classic Test
minimale Laufzeit  (Classic Test)
Charging
Charge
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 04min
WiFi Surfing
3h 48min
DVD
2h 31min
Load (maximum brightness)
0h 59min

Verdict

The Dell Inspiron 17R SE
Dell Inspiron 17R SE

Dell's Inspiron 17R Special Edition convinces us with its stability and workmanship. The anodized aluminum featuring a honeycomb pattern is also pleasing. However, we deem it too sensitive to fingerprints which are inevitable when working or playing on the device. Regular care and maintenance are the unavoidable consequence. Although there is a lever on the rear for switching the cover Dell probably will not offer any alternatively colored covers for its Special Edition.

A backlit keyboard is available for this laptop for an additional 40 Euro (~$50). However, this option is hidden a bit because it is only appears for the device that is not ready for fast delivery.

We are extremely pleased with the hardware included. A Core i7-3610QM processor and a GeForce GT 650M are installed, which is a potent combination that ensures smooth frame rates at high resolutions (1920x1080) even for the latest games. 6 GB of DDR3 working memory (dual-channel DDR3 SDRAM with 1600 MHz) complete the system. With this performance, the Inspiron 17R SE can be used as a multimedia center or as a desktop replacement (DTR).

We find it too bad that Dell does not offer an SSD upgrade on its homepage. It would make a lot of sense for such a device as it would increase its performance even more. Disregarding its size and performance, a mobile Wi-Fi runtime of up to 4 hours is possible - a time with which you can reasonably productive away from the mains.

Our test configuration of the Inspiron 17R SE is sold for 899 Euro (~$1150) and is a very good choice for anyone looking at sub-1000 Euro laptops with good gaming performance.

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In Review: Dell Inspiron 17R-SE-7720
In Review:  Dell Inspiron 17R-SE-7720

Specifications

Dell Inspiron 17R-SE-7720

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM77 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
6144 MB, dual-channel DDR3 SDRAM w/ 1.600MHz [1 x 2048 MB + 1 x 4096]
:: Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M - 2048 MB, Core: 745 MHz, Memory: 1000 MHz, GDDR5, nvlddmkm 8.17.12.9637, Intel HD Graphics 4000
:: Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, glossy: no
:: Harddisk
WDC Scorpio Blue WD10JPVT-75A1Yt0, 1024 GB 5400 rpm
:: Soundcard
Intel IDT High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
4 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 2 (microphone, headphone), Card Reader: 8in1,
:: Networking
Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller 10/100 (10MBit), Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 (b g n ), Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Optical drive
PLDS DVD-RW DS8A8SH
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 32 x 417 x 276
:: Weight
3.3 kg
:: Battery
48 Wh Lithium-Ion, 11.1 volt; 4200 mAh
:: Price
900 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 1 MP, Speakers: 2.1 sound system from Skullcandy, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, driver CD, charging cord, Adobe Premiere Elements, Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, McAfee (15 months), Office Starter, Dell Audio, Dell Stage

 

Dell's Inspiron 17R Special Edition.
Dell's Inspiron 17R Special Edition.
The HDD is quick and easy to remove -
The HDD is quick and easy to remove -
with a bit of care and removing four screws.
with a bit of care and removing four screws.
The RAM can also be accessed,...
The RAM can also be accessed,...
...just like the Wi-Fi module.
...just like the wifi module.
Touchpad and chiclet-style keyboard,...
Touchpad and chiclet-style keyboard,...
...and the number pad.
...and the corresponding number pad.
Also installed in the Inspiron 17R SE:
Also installed in the Inspiron 17R SE:
a 2.1 sound system by Skullcandy...
a 2.1 sound system from Skullcandy...
...including a subwoofer on the bottom.
...including a subwoofer on the base unit's bottom.
Two hinges...
Two hinges...
...on the left...
...on the left...
…and right keep the display firmly in position.
…and right keep the display firmly in position.
The webcam is built into the display bezel.
The webcam is built into the display bezel.
The base unit's cover.
The base unit's cover.
...completely reserved by the battery.
...completely reserved by the battery.
The display lid in anodized aluminum...
The display's back in anodized aluminum...
...featuring a precision-embossed honeycomb pattern.
...featuring a precision-embossed honeycomb pattern.
The display cover is easy to remove and replace thanks to the 'Switch' feature.
The display back is easy to remove and replace thanks to Switch.
But, where are the other colorful covers?
But, where are the colorful alternative covers?
Apparently, no colorful display covers are planned for the Special Edition.
Apparently, no colorful display covers are planned for the Special Edition.
The Inspiron 17R SE...
The Inspiron 17R SE...
...looks good no matter how it's looked at.
...looks good no matter how it's looked at.
From the left...
From the left...
...the right...
...right...
...the front...
...front...
...or the back.
...or the back.
LEDs indicate the device status.
LEDs indicate the device's status.
The rear is almost...
The rear is almost...
Honeycomb pattern on the display lid.
Honeycomb pattern on the display lid.

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$23.90 Bundle:2 items - Adapter&Power Cord/ Free USB Drive; Dell SLIM 90W AC Adapter"PowerSupply"For: Dell Notebook Model Numbers: Dell Inspiron 17R, Dell Inspiron 17R-N7010, Dell Inspiron 17R-N7110, Dell Inspiron 17R 7720, Dell Inspiron 17R SE 7720, Dell Inspiron 17RN, Dell Inspiron 17RV, Dell Inspiron 300M, Dell Inspiron 3420, Dell Inspiron 3520, Dell Inspiron 500M, Dell Inspiron 505M, Dell Inspiron 510M , 100% Compatible With Dell P/N: PA-3E, LA90PE1-01, J62H3, PA-1900-28D, 0J62H3, C120H, 330-4113, AA90PM111, PA-1900-32D, LA90PM111, ADP-90LD D, Y808G, Y807G,YD9W8, D094H, PA-1900-01D3, PA-1900-02D, PA-1900-02D2, WK890, DA90PE1-00, 330-1825, NN236, 330-1826, 330-1827, DA90PM111, 0W6KV, 330-1828, PA-10, YY20N, MK947, TK3DM, FA90PM111, PA-1900-02D3, ONN236, DA90PE3-00, PA-3E Family

$136.99 Dell Original 90W 19.5V 4.62A AC Adapter For Dell Notebook Model Numbers: Dell Inspiron 17R, Dell Inspiron 17R-N7010, Dell Inspiron 17R-N7110, Dell Inspiron 17R 7720, Dell Inspiron 17R SE 7720, Dell Inspiron 17RN, Dell Inspiron 17RV, Dell Inspiron 300M, Dell Inspiron 3420, Dell Inspiron 3520, Dell Inspiron 500M, Dell Inspiron 505M, Dell Inspiron 510M. Bundle - 3 items: AC Adapter, Power Cord and ElecPower Optical Mouse - Grey. 100% Compatible With Dell P/N: PA-3E, LA90PE1-01, J62H3, PA-1900-28D, 0J62H3, C120H, 330-4113, AA90PM111, YD9W8, PA-1900-32D, LA90PM111, ADP-90LD D, Y808G, Y807G, D094H, PA-1900-01D3, PA-1900-02D, PA-1900-02D2, WK890, DA90PE1-00, 330-1825, NN236, 330-1826, 330-1827, DA90PM111, 0W6KV, 330-1828, PA-2E, PA-10, YY20N, MK947, TK3DM, FA90PM111, PA-1900-02D3, ONN236, DA90PE3-00, PA-3E Family.

$30.00 AC adapter 90 Watt - original - PA-3E for Alienware M11x / M14x; Dell Inspiron 1110, 1150, 11z, 13R, 13z, 1440, 14R, 14R-N4110, 14V, 14z, 15 M5040, 15 N5040, 15, 1501, 1520, 1521, 1525, 1526, 1545, 1546, 1564, 15R, 15R-5520, 15R-7520, 15z, 1720 Gold, 1720, 1720 Silver, 1721, 1747, 1750, 1764, 17R, 17R-5720, 17R-SE (7720), 3520, 500m, 510m, 5150, 5160, 6000, 600m, 630M, 6400, 640M, 700m, 710m, 7720, 8500, 8600, 9200, 9300, 9400, E1405, E1505, E1705, E1710, M101z, M301z, M5010, M501R, M5030, M5110

$57.00 AC adapter 90 Watt - slim PA-3E for Alienware M11x / M14x; Dell Inspiron 1110, 1150, 11z, 1318, 1370, 13R (N3010), 13R, 13z, 14-1440, 14-1464, 1420, 14R, 14R-M4010, 14R-N4110, 14V, 14z, 15 M5040, 15 N5040, 15, 1501, 1520, 1521, 1525, 1526, 15-3521, 1545, 1546, 1564, 15R, 15R-5520, 15R-7520, 15z, 1720 Gold, 1720, 1720 Silver, 1721, 1747, 1750, 1764, 17R, 17R-5720, 17R-5721, 17R-SE (7720), 3520, 3521, 500m, 510m, 5150, 5160, 6000, 600m, 630M, 6400, 640M, 700m, 710m, 7720, 8500, 8600, 9200, 9300, 9

Pricerunner n.a.

Pro

+Robust, elegant case
+2.1 sound system from Skullcandy
+Pleasant input devices
+Solid multimedia performance
+Optional backlit keyboard
 

Cons

-Weight
-Battery Life
-No SSD in the configurator

Shortcut

What we like

The stable case made of anodized aluminum with the cool design ensures good looks and the Skullcandy 2.1 sound system for demanding listeners.

What we'd like to see

More transparency when ordering online. 

What surprises us

The 'Switch' feature is part of the Inspiron 17R SE, but until now there are no alternative color-covers, except for 'Stealth Black'.

The competition

If Dell's Inspiron 17R SE is interesting in this configuration, then having a look at Samsung's 550P7C-S02 and MSI's GE70-i789W7H might be a good idea. Another alternative to the Asus' N76VZ-V2G-T1011V.

Rating

Dell Inspiron 17R-SE-7720
08/07/2012 v3
Shao-Hung Liu

Chassis
84%
Keyboard
85%
Pointing Device
86%
Connectivity
75%
Weight
67%
Battery
78%
Display
88%
Games Performance
90%
Application Performance
91%
Temperature
68%
Noise
82%
Add Points
84%
Average
82%
84%
Gaming *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Dell Inspiron 17R-SE-7720 Notebook
Author: Shao-Hung Liu, 2012-08-16 (Update: 2013-06- 6)