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Dell Vostro 15-5581 Laptop Review: An office laptop with an MX130 for some light gaming

Nino Ricchizzi, 👁 Sebastian Jentsch, Andrea Grüblinger (translated by Alex Alderson), 06/23/2019

Start-up laptop. The Vostro name has been the moniker of Dell's series of budget laptops for years. The company has given the old workhorse a hardware upgrade and ironed out some of the kinks, but some questionable decisions remain.

Dell has designed the Vostro 15-5581 as a simple office laptop suitable for start-ups and as an everyday office workhorse. The company sells the device in several configurations, which are all practically freely customisable. The Vostro 15-5581 starts at around 550 Euros (~US$626), although our review unit costs closer to 730 Euros (~US$832). Incidentally, it is currently the most expensive model that Dell sells.

Inside, Dell has included an Intel Core i5-8265U processor, an NVIDIA GeForce MX130 GPU, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM, a 128 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD. All models come with the same 15.6-inch, matte, 1080p, IPS display.

We have chosen to compare the Vostro 15-5581 against its predecessor, the Vostro 15-5568, along with other comparably priced 15.6-inch business laptops. Our comparison devices will include the Acer TravelMate X3410, HP 250 G7 and the HP ProBook 450 G6.

Dell Vostro 15-5581 (Vostro 15 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce MX130 - 2048 MB, Core: 1109 MHz, Memory: 1253 MHz, GDDR5, 24.21.13.9872 (NVIDIA 398.72) DCH
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR4-2400
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 141 PPI, 156CL04 1G2XW, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Cannon Lake-U PCH-LP Premium
Storage
SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831, 128 GB 
, + 1 TB WDC HDD
Soundcard
Intel Cannon Lake-H/S - cAVS (Audio, Voice, Speech)
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Combined 3.5 mm headphone and microphone jack, Card Reader: SD
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000/2500/5000MBit/s), Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 18.04 x 359.1 x 249 ( = 0.71 x 14.14 x 9.8 in)
Battery
42 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo speakers, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.992 kg ( = 70.27 oz / 4.39 pounds), Power Supply: 317 g ( = 11.18 oz / 0.7 pounds)
Price
730 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

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Case

The Vostro 15-5581 retains some of the design cues of its predecessors, but with an overall more modern look. The device has narrower display bezels than the Vostro 15-5568, while Dell has modernised its ports too. Gone is the VGA port, which is replaced by a more flexible USB Type-C port instead. Additionally, the Ethernet port has switched sides, although at the expense of a fourth USB Type-A port.

Overall, the Vostro 15-5581 looks quite stylish for a business laptop. Its plastic case is susceptible to pressure, but not worryingly so.

Accessing the internal components requires removing the bottom case, something we have seen more OEMs resort to with their business laptops. While having to remove the bottom case is more inconvenient than having a maintenance flap, it is fairly easy to do. Please see our Vostro 15-5568 review for information on how to do this, as the two devices are disassembled in the same way.

The Vostro 15-5581 has an understated and elegant design
The Vostro 15-5581 has an understated and elegant design
Dell has given its Vostro 15 series...
an overdue makeover.
The Vostro 15-5581 is suitable for all general office work...
but has enough power...
for light gaming and multimedia work.
Right-hand side: SD card reader, 1 x USB port, 1 x Ethernet port, Noble security
Right-hand side: SD card reader, 1 x USB port, 1 x Ethernet port, Noble security
Left-hand side: Power connector, 1 x USB Type-C port, 1 x HDMI port, 2 x USB Type-A ports, 3.5 mm jack
Left-hand side: Power connector, 1 x USB Type-C port, 1 x HDMI port, 2 x USB Type-A ports, 3.5 mm jack

SD Card Reader

We like that Dell continues to include a full-sized SD card reader in its Vostro 15-series. However, we wish it would upgrade its performance. The one in our review unit could not even average 30 MB/s when tested with our Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 UHS-II reference card, which is abysmally slow. The Vostro 15-5581 is in good company though, with most of our comparison devices averaging roughly the same transfer speeds. Only the ProBook 450 G6 managed somewhat respectable speeds.

SDCardreader Transfer Speed
average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
HP ProBook 450 G6-5TJ93EA
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
76.1 MB/s ∼100% +373%
Average of class Office
  (10.2 - 191, n=280)
62.6 MB/s ∼82% +289%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
31.4 MB/s ∼41% +95%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
25.2 MB/s ∼33% +57%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
22 MB/s ∼29% +37%
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
20.9 MB/s ∼27% +30%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
16.1 MB/s ∼21%
maximum AS SSD Seq Read Test (1GB)
HP ProBook 450 G6-5TJ93EA
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
82.1 MB/s ∼100% +199%
Average of class Office
  (9.5 - 255, n=255)
78.9 MB/s ∼96% +187%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
34.1 MB/s ∼42% +24%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
27.5 MB/s ∼33%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
25.5 MB/s ∼31% -7%
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
25 MB/s ∼30% -9%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
  (Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II)
9.5 MB/s ∼12% -65%

Communication

Our review unit came with the Intel Wireless-AC 9560, a popular Wi-Fi module found in many modern laptops. Dell has only included a 1x1 antenna though, which restricts the module to around 300 Mbit/s download and upload speeds. Had the Vostro 15-5581 had 2x2 antennas, it would have probably averaged about 30% faster transfer speeds.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265
551 (min: 441, max: 572) MBit/s ∼100% +69%
Average of class Office
  (5 - 1334, n=226)
476 MBit/s ∼86% +46%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
327 (min: 289, max: 356) MBit/s ∼59%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
RealTek Semiconductor, Device ID: C821
281 (min: 257, max: 287) MBit/s ∼51% -14%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
205 MBit/s ∼37% -37%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
54 MBit/s ∼10% -83%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265
565 (min: 533, max: 587) MBit/s ∼100% +81%
Average of class Office
  (34 - 1176, n=226)
452 MBit/s ∼80% +44%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
Intel Wireless-AC 9560
313 (min: 176, max: 346) MBit/s ∼55%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
RealTek Semiconductor, Device ID: C821
269 (min: 182, max: 363) MBit/s ∼48% -14%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
268 MBit/s ∼47% -14%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
49 MBit/s ∼9% -84%
0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590Tooltip
Dell Vostro 15-5581 Intel Wireless-AC 9560; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø327 (289-356)
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø550 (441-572)
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES RealTek Semiconductor, Device ID: C821; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø281 (257-287)
Dell Vostro 15-5581 Intel Wireless-AC 9560; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø314 (176-346)
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø565 (533-587)
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES RealTek Semiconductor, Device ID: C821; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø269 (182-363)

Security

The Vostro 15-5581 comes with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0, as does every laptop that ships with Windows 10. All models come with a Noble lock slot, with Dell reserving a fingerprint scanner as an optional extra.

Input Devices

A look at the keyboard and trackpad on the Dell Vostro 5581
A look at the keyboard and trackpad on the Dell Vostro 5581

Keyboard

Dell equipped the Vostro 15-5568 with an awful keyboard. Thankfully, the manufacturer has rectified this for its successor, equipping it with a spacious keyboard that is good enough for a long day’s use.

The keys have short and smooth strokes with precise pressure points. The key resistance could be better, but this is a minor gripe. The keyboard also comes with two-stage backlighting by default.

Trackpad

Dell has made strides with the trackpad too. The company has replaced the imprecise and jerky one it used in the Vostro 15-5568 with one on which it is easy to perform multi-finger gestures. The one in our review unit reproduces our inputs promptly and precisely onscreen, while its large surface area gives you plenty of room to perform long scrolling movements when browsing the web or a large Excel document.

Oddly, the integrated mouse buttons are easier to activate at the edges of the trackpad than towards its centre. We cannot say whether this is a localised issue with our machine or something more widespread. We suspect the loud and high-pitched clicking sound that the buttons emit when pressed will occur with every unit though.

Display

Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array
Our review unit suffers from minor backlight bleed
Our review unit suffers from minor backlight bleed

Dell equips all configurations of the Vostro 15-5581 with the same 15.6-inch matte IPS panel. The 1080p display has stable viewing angles, but it is simply too dim. X-Rite i1Pro 2 records the one in our review unit reaching an average maximum brightness of 213 cd/m², which is dimmer than the display in the Vostro 15-5568 and all but the HP 250 G7 of our comparison devices. We would have liked Dell to have equipped the Vostro 15-5581 with a display that could average at least 300 cd/m², albeit none of our comparison devices manage this either.

225
cd/m²
217
cd/m²
216
cd/m²
205
cd/m²
231
cd/m²
200
cd/m²
204
cd/m²
215
cd/m²
205
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
156CL04 1G2XW
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 231 cd/m² Average: 213.1 cd/m² Minimum: 14 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 231 cd/m²
Contrast: 1777:1 (Black: 0.13 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.81 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6, calibrated: 4.2
ΔE Greyscale 5.19 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
58% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 37% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.33
Dell Vostro 15-5581
156CL04 1G2XW, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Chi Mei CMN15C4, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Chi Mei CMN154C-8KV42 , , 1920x1080, 15.6
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
BOE0687, , 1920x1080, 15.6
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
N140HCA-EAC, , 1920x1080, 14
Response Times
4143%
-17%
3987%
3884%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
36 (18, 18)
41 (24, 17)
-14%
47.6 (24.4, 23.2)
-32%
41 (22, 19)
-14%
42 (22, 20)
-17%
Response Time Black / White *
27 (16, 11)
15 (11, 4)
44%
27.2 (10, 17.2)
-1%
12 (7, 5)
56%
30 (17, 13)
-11%
PWM Frequency
208 (10)
26000 (20)
12400%
25000 (90)
11919%
24500 (20)
11679%
Screen
-62%
-71%
-69%
6%
Brightness middle
231
239
3%
229
-1%
205
-11%
255
10%
Brightness
213
219
3%
222
4%
205
-4%
218
2%
Brightness Distribution
87
86
-1%
82
-6%
88
1%
72
-17%
Black Level *
0.13
0.43
-231%
0.56
-331%
0.52
-300%
0.08
38%
Contrast
1777
556
-69%
409
-77%
394
-78%
3188
79%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.81
10.11
-110%
10.36
-115%
11.15
-132%
5.01
-4%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.33
17.33
-108%
14.95
-79%
19.08
-129%
17.44
-109%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
4.2
2.98
29%
4.06
3%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.19
10.88
-110%
10.9
-110%
12.62
-143%
3
42%
Gamma
2.33 94%
2.33 94%
2.21 100%
2.38 92%
2.26 97%
CCT
7088 92%
11924 55%
10084 64%
14189 46%
6185 105%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
37
38
3%
37.69
2%
38
3%
40
8%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
58
60
3%
57.92
0%
59
2%
63
9%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
2041% / 909%
-44% / -62%
1959% / 800%
1945% / 837%

* ... smaller is better

The Vostro 15-5581 has a more colour-accurate display than its predecessor, but that is not saying much as Dell equipped the latter with a woeful TN panel. Our review unit has an impressively low black value though, which we measured at 0.13 cd/m². This helps the display achieve a respectable 1,777:1 contrast ratio, putting the Vostro 15-5581 second to the TravelMate X3410 in our comparison table Overall, the Vostro 15-5581 has a decent display by IPS standards at this price.

CalMAN: ColorChecker - uncalibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - uncalibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - calibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - calibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale - uncalibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale - uncalibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - uncalibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - uncalibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - calibrated
sRGB colour-space coverage
sRGB colour-space coverage
AdobeRGB colour-space coverage
AdobeRGB colour-space coverage

Unfortunately, the display is too dim for working outside. While its matte finish diffuses reflections, even moderate sunlight completely washes out the display, rendering the device useless. You should have no problems using the Vostro 15-5581 in the shade though.

Using the Vostro 15-5581 outside is tricky...
Using the Vostro 15-5581 outside is tricky...
because of its dim display.
because of its dim display.
Its matte panel diffuses reflections well though.
Its matte panel diffuses reflections well though.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
27 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 16 ms rise
↘ 11 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 54 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (24.8 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18 ms rise
↘ 18 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 30 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (39.5 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 208 Hz ≤ 10 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 208 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 10 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 208 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9331 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.


Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Dell has equipped our review unit with an ultra-low voltage (ULV) low-power quad-core processor, a dedicated NVIDIA graphics card, and 8 GB of single-channel RAM along with a 128 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD. This configuration currently retails for 730 Euros (~US$832) and is powerful enough for all office tasks. It can even handle some light gaming, about which we will discuss more in the Gaming Performance section of this review.

If 730 Euros (~US$832) exceeds your budget, then Dell sells four cheaper models starting at 550 Euros (~US$626). The base model dispenses with the dedicated GPU, has less RAM and has a Core i3 processor though, which will give it noticeably weaker performance than the device in this review.

Processor

Our review unit comes with a Core i5-8265U processor, a quad-core chip based on Intel’s Whiskey Lake architecture. The CPU has a 1.6 GHz base clock speed, but it can achieve a 3.7 GHz all-core boost thanks to Intel Turbo Boost. Intel restricts the Core i5-8265U to a 15 W thermal design power (TDP) by default, but the CPU can temporarily boost this to 25 W when required.

We checked the performance of our review unit by running several Cinebench R15 benchmarks, with it scoring an impressive 613 points in the multi-core test. This puts the Vostro 15-5581 second to the VivoBook 14 in our comparison table, but neither device can maintain this peak performance.

Our graph below demonstrates how aggressively both throttle, with the Vostro dropping to below 460 points by the midpoint of our 30-minute CB R15 Multi 64Bit loop. Scores level out at around 470 points, by which point the CPU has downclocked from an initial high of 3.3 GHz to 2.5 GHz to prevent itself from overheating. The Vostro 15-5581 still scores over 120 points more than its predecessor though even after throttling.

The Vostro 15-5581 does not throttle performance when running on battery power though. Hence, you will retain its full capabilities even when you are on the move and away from a power outlet.

Please see our CPU benchmarks page for more information on the Core i5-8265U and how it compares against other processors.

0102030405060708090100110120130140150160170180190200210220230240250260270280290300310320330340350360370380390400410420430440450460470480490500510520530540550560570580590600610620630Tooltip
Dell Vostro 15-5581 Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø483 (456.69-613.01)
Dell Vostro 15-5568 Intel Core i7-7500U, Intel Core i7-7500U: Ø346 (342.68-353.96)
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø486 (482.38-503.85)
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø487 (483.41-509.01)
Asus VivoBook 14 F412FJ-EB084T Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel Core i5-8265U: Ø503 (492.9-621.35)
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Asus VivoBook 14 F412FJ-EB084T
Intel Core i5-8265U
161 Points ∼100% +45%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel Core i5-8265U
160 Points ∼99% +44%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (111 - 164, n=31)
155 Points ∼96% +40%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel Core i5-8265U
153 Points ∼95% +38%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Core i7-7500U
147 Points ∼91% +32%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Core i5-7200U
129 Points ∼80% +16%
Average of class Office
  (20 - 199, n=538)
112 Points ∼70% +1%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
Intel Core i5-8265U
111 Points ∼69%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus VivoBook 14 F412FJ-EB084T
Intel Core i5-8265U
623 Points ∼100% +2%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
Intel Core i5-8265U
613 Points ∼98%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U
  (457 - 750, n=34)
594 Points ∼95% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel Core i5-8265U
509 Points ∼82% -17%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel Core i5-8265U
483 Points ∼78% -21%
Average of class Office
  (36 - 1050, n=545)
345 Points ∼55% -44%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Core i7-7500U
342 Points ∼55% -44%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Core i5-7200U
319 Points ∼51% -48%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
111 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
613 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
78.26 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Help

System Performance

In short, you should never experience any lags or stutters when using the Vostro 15-5581. It always performed smoothly during our tests, with it loading apps and the OS quickly.

Our PCMark benchmark results confirm this, although the device scored around 15% less than our highest-scoring comparison device. Single-channel RAM is the culprit here.

PCMark 10
Digital Content Creation
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
GeForce MX130, 8550U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3071 Points ∼100% +24%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
2693 Points ∼88% +9%
Asus VivoBook 14 F412FJ-EB084T
GeForce MX230, 8265U, Kingston RBU-SNS8180DS3512GJ
2685 Points ∼87% +8%
Average of class Office
  (320 - 3884, n=155)
2658 Points ∼87% +7%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
2620 Points ∼85% +6%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
2477 Points ∼81%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
 
2477 Points ∼81% 0%
Productivity
Asus VivoBook 14 F412FJ-EB084T
GeForce MX230, 8265U, Kingston RBU-SNS8180DS3512GJ
6755 Points ∼100% +33%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
6339 Points ∼94% +25%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
6171 Points ∼91% +21%
Average of class Office
  (1266 - 7964, n=155)
5490 Points ∼81% +8%
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
GeForce MX130, 8550U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
5437 Points ∼80% +7%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
5088 Points ∼75%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
 
5088 Points ∼75% 0%
Essentials
Asus VivoBook 14 F412FJ-EB084T
GeForce MX230, 8265U, Kingston RBU-SNS8180DS3512GJ
7981 Points ∼100% +6%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
7660 Points ∼96% +1%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
7547 Points ∼95%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
 
7547 Points ∼95% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
7529 Points ∼94% 0%
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
GeForce MX130, 8550U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
7368 Points ∼92% -2%
Average of class Office
  (2683 - 9790, n=155)
6983 Points ∼87% -7%
Score
Asus VivoBook 14 F412FJ-EB084T
GeForce MX230, 8265U, Kingston RBU-SNS8180DS3512GJ
3764 Points ∼100% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
3617 Points ∼96% +11%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
3573 Points ∼95% +9%
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
GeForce MX130, 8550U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3565 Points ∼95% +9%
Average of class Office
  (803 - 4597, n=156)
3276 Points ∼87% 0%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
3272 Points ∼87%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
 
3272 Points ∼87% 0%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
GeForce MX130, 8550U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
5030 Points ∼100% +2%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
4946 Points ∼98%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
 
4946 Points ∼98% 0%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
GeForce 940MX, 7500U, Micron SSD 1100 (MTFDDAV256TBN)
4821 Points ∼96% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
4637 Points ∼92% -6%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, SanDisk X400 256GB, SATA (SD8SB8U-256G)
4573 Points ∼91% -8%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
4542 Points ∼90% -8%
Average of class Office
  (1226 - 5428, n=350)
4024 Points ∼80% -19%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Dell Vostro 15-5581
GeForce MX130, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
3727 Points ∼100%
Average Intel Core i5-8265U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
 
3727 Points ∼100% 0%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
GeForce 940MX, 7500U, Micron SSD 1100 (MTFDDAV256TBN)
3672 Points ∼99% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, SK hynix BC501 HFM256GDHTNG
3666 Points ∼98% -2%
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
GeForce MX130, 8550U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3578 Points ∼96% -4%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, SanDisk X400 256GB, SATA (SD8SB8U-256G)
3331 Points ∼89% -11%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
UHD Graphics 620, 8265U, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
3254 Points ∼87% -13%
Average of class Office
  (1169 - 4770, n=410)
3058 Points ∼82% -18%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3727 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4946 points
Help

Storage Devices

Dell has equipped our test device with a 128 GB SSD and a 1 TB. The former is an SK Hynix BC501 drive that utilises NVMe, which means that it should have fast transfer speeds. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, with the one in our review unit averaging a measly 236 MB/s write speeds. Other NVMe SSDs like the WDC SN520 in the HP 250 G7 trounce the SK Hynix BC501.

Dell Vostro 15-5581
SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
Dell Vostro 15-5568
SanDisk X400 256GB, SATA (SD8SB8U-256G)
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Micron SSD 1100 (MTFDDAV256TBN)
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G
Average SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
12%
182%
24%
Write 4K
129.3
109.5
-15%
179.3
39%
108 (90.3 - 129, n=3)
-16%
Read 4K
41.02
26.43
-36%
47.7
16%
39.3 (37 - 41, n=3)
-4%
Write Seq
203.4
474.2
133%
1265
522%
284 (203 - 327, n=3)
40%
Read Seq
271.2
482.8
78%
1184
337%
772 (271 - 1033, n=3)
185%
Write 4K Q32T1
252.3
160.5
-36%
450.6
79%
239 (197 - 269, n=3)
-5%
Read 4K Q32T1
281.4
221.5
-21%
555.7
97%
279 (272 - 285, n=3)
-1%
Write Seq Q32T1
319.8
500.1
56%
1455
355%
303 (269 - 321, n=3)
-5%
Read Seq Q32T1
1588.6
532.9
-66%
1717
8%
1597 (1589 - 1606, n=3)
1%
AS SSD
-20%
-14%
188%
-7%
Copy Game MB/s
161.08
528.39
223 (217 - 229, n=2)
Copy Program MB/s
106.42
239.94
135 (112 - 159, n=2)
Copy ISO MB/s
267.46
764.56
245 (224 - 266, n=2)
Score Total
922
917
-1%
896
-3%
3181
245%
883 (764 - 963, n=3)
-4%
Score Write
319
253
-21%
424
33%
1468
360%
295 (238 - 328, n=3)
-8%
Score Read
417
435
4%
307
-26%
1131
171%
407 (360 - 444, n=3)
-2%
Access Time Write *
0.045
0.083
-84%
0.057
-27%
0.024
47%
0.0467 (0.041 - 0.054, n=3)
-4%
Access Time Read *
0.073
0.098
-34%
0.149
-104%
0.046
37%
0.0947 (0.07 - 0.141, n=3)
-30%
4K-64 Write
166.22
156.39
-6%
290.68
75%
1190.32
616%
154 (112 - 182, n=3)
-7%
4K-64 Read
257.9
357.92
39%
231.89
-10%
936.89
263%
257 (249 - 264, n=3)
0%
4K Write
115.54
50.3
-56%
87.58
-24%
143.9
25%
106 (92 - 116, n=3)
-8%
4K Read
39.14
26.84
-31%
25.59
-35%
46.26
18%
34.3 (23.8 - 40, n=3)
-12%
Seq Write
370.18
465.22
26%
462.19
25%
1339.37
262%
359 (337 - 370, n=3)
-3%
Seq Read
1194.79
502.49
-58%
492.65
-59%
1476.64
24%
1157 (878 - 1399, n=3)
-3%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-20% / -20%
-1% / -3%
185% / 185%
9% / 6%

* ... smaller is better

SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831
Sequential Read: 940.7 MB/s
Sequential Write: 236 MB/s
512K Read: 696.7 MB/s
512K Write: 191.6 MB/s
4K Read: 36.85 MB/s
4K Write: 95.13 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 269.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 186.3 MB/s

Graphics Card

The next hardware update for the Vostro 15-series is the graphics card. Dell has equipped the 15-5581 with an NVIDIA GeForce MX130 for more expensive configurations, which offers 10% better performance than the GeForce 940MX found in the Vostro 15-5568.

Our review unit maintains full GPU performance on battery power, just as it does with its CPU too.

Please see our GPU comparison page for more information on the GeForce MX130 and how it compares against other GPUs. You can also add other laptops to the comparison tables below.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i7-8550U
3203 Points ∼100% +29%
HP ProBook 450 G6-5TJ93EA
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i7-8565U
2908 Points ∼91% +17%
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX130
  (2476 - 3203, n=14)
2872 Points ∼90% +16%
Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i7-8550U
2802 Points ∼87% +13%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, Intel Core i7-7500U
2583 Points ∼81% +4%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i5-8265U
2476 Points ∼77%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
1384 Points ∼43% -44%
Average of class Office
  (185 - 5332, n=662)
1323 Points ∼41% -47%
3DMark
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX130
  (623 - 686, n=4)
650 Points ∼100% 0%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i5-8265U
649 Points ∼100%
Average of class Office
  (76 - 1158, n=56)
481 Points ∼74% -26%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i7-8550U
2495 Points ∼100% +10%
HP ProBook 450 G6-5TJ93EA
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i7-8565U
2383 Points ∼96% +5%
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX130
  (2149 - 2495, n=13)
2350 Points ∼94% +4%
Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i7-8550U
2322 Points ∼93% +2%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i5-8265U
2267 Points ∼91%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, Intel Core i7-7500U
2085 Points ∼84% -8%
Average of class Office
  (138 - 4109, n=481)
1017 Points ∼41% -55%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
763 Points ∼31% -66%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i7-8550U
14880 Points ∼100% +12%
HP ProBook 450 G6-5TJ93EA
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i7-8565U
13776 Points ∼93% +4%
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX130
  (12166 - 14880, n=13)
13617 Points ∼92% +3%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i5-8265U
13240 Points ∼89%
Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
NVIDIA GeForce MX130, Intel Core i7-8550U
12406 Points ∼83% -6%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX, Intel Core i7-7500U
11406 Points ∼77% -14%
Average of class Office
  (1208 - 27117, n=527)
7057 Points ∼47% -47%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel HD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-7200U
6554 Points ∼44% -50%
3DMark 11 Performance
2692 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
10635 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
2115 points
3DMark Time Spy Score
724 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The GeForce MX130 is powerful enough for some light gaming, but do not expect too much from this entry-level dedicated GPU. Our review unit handles older titles like BioShock Infinite with ease, but it falls about 17% short of expectations and even slips a few percent behind its predecessor.

Please see our gaming benchmarks page for more GeForce MX130 benchmarks and how it compares against other GPUs.

BioShock Infinite
1366x768 High Preset
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
68.75 fps ∼100% +35%
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX130
  (48 - 69, n=10)
61.6 fps ∼90% +21%
Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
60.5 fps ∼88% +19%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Core i7-7500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
52.38 fps ∼76% +3%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
Intel Core i5-8265U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
51 fps ∼74%
Average of class Office
  (4.43 - 128, n=347)
27.2 fps ∼40% -47%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
24 fps ∼35% -53%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
23.6 fps ∼34% -54%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Core i5-7200U, Intel HD Graphics 620
18.8 fps ∼27% -63%
1366x768 Medium Preset
Acer TravelMate X3410-M-50DD
Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
80.21 fps ∼100% +40%
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX130
  (57.3 - 84.5, n=10)
72.9 fps ∼91% +27%
Asus VivoBook 15 F510UF-ES71
Intel Core i7-8550U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
69.9 fps ∼87% +22%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Core i7-7500U, NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
61.93 fps ∼77% +8%
Dell Vostro 15-5581
Intel Core i5-8265U, NVIDIA GeForce MX130
57.3 fps ∼71%
Average of class Office
  (5.6 - 145, n=368)
31.5 fps ∼39% -45%
Lenovo ThinkPad E490-20N8000RGE
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
29.3 fps ∼37% -49%
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
Intel Core i5-8265U, Intel UHD Graphics 620
28.4 fps ∼35% -50%
Dell Vostro 15-5568
Intel Core i5-7200U, Intel HD Graphics 620
23 fps ∼29% -60%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 83.6 57.3 51 48.7 fps

Emissions

Noise

Pink noise speaker characteristics
Pink noise speaker characteristics

Dell's new business laptop often runs quietly, especially during undemanding tasks like web browsing and replying to emails. Occasionally, the fan in our review unit switches on at idle, but it only reaches a maximum volume of 31.6 dB(A). The fan peaked at 43 dB(A) under sustained load, but this only happens when we push the machine to its limits. The intensity and speed with which the fan ramps up is too aggressive for our liking though.

Noise Level

Idle
30.6 / 31.6 / 31.6 dB(A)
Load
42.6 / 42.8 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.6 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2034.432.632.733.834.42538.631.83234.338.63133.134.432.437.333.14030.830.930.933.430.85030.630.530.433.230.66328.827.930.229.828.88027.826.828.527.727.810026.82526.425.726.812525.42625.625.525.416025.725.624.324.925.720024.725.523.424.224.725025.626.32323.325.631527.62822.222.227.640027.727.921.221.227.750025.926.220.22025.963027.227.519.619.527.280028.928.919.518.728.9100030.930.920.318.330.9125034.434.720.11834.4160034.334.721.517.434.3200032.933.319.617.632.9250032.933.218.317.632.9315031.130.918.617.931.1400028.528.518.417.928.5500025.125.118.218.225.1630023.323.518.218.223.3800021.721.818.318.121.71000020.120.218.218.220.11250018.818.918.118.218.81600018.418.518.118.218.4SPL42.642.831.630.642.6N3.63.71.41.33.6median 26.8median 26.3median 19.6median 18.2median 26.8Delta2.32.11.722.3hearing rangehide median Fan NoiseDell Vostro 15-5581

Temperature

The Vostro 15-5581 also runs coolly in daily use, with surface temperatures generally remaining at around 25 °C. One or two areas exceed 30 °C but by less than 1 °C.

Our review unit only starts to get hot to the touch under extreme load, with one area reaching an uncomfortable 44.7 °C. The temperature of the power supply also peaks at 42 °C, but the palm rest on our review unit stays well below 30 °C.

System information during a FurMark and Prime95 combined stress test
System information during a FurMark and Prime95 combined stress test

We also subjected our review unit to a stress test to see how it managed its performance under extreme load. We left FurMark and Prime95 running for an hour, with CPU core temperatures quickly rising above 90 °C. This spike in temperatures caused the CPU to downclock to just 1.1 GHz to cool itself down.

Worse still, the Vostro 15-5581 takes a while to return to peak performance having been pushed hard. Our review unit scored 20% lower in 3DMark Cloud Gate immediately after our stress test compared to when we ran it from cold. Not all modern laptops exhibit the same behaviour, for reference.

Max. Load
 40.6 °C
105 F
44.7 °C
112 F
40 °C
104 F
 
 36 °C
97 F
39.3 °C
103 F
31.5 °C
89 F
 
 26.4 °C
80 F
27.1 °C
81 F
27 °C
81 F
 
Maximum: 44.7 °C = 112 F
Average: 34.7 °C = 94 F
36.6 °C
98 F
43.6 °C
110 F
35.2 °C
95 F
26.2 °C
79 F
37.5 °C
100 F
40.9 °C
106 F
25.1 °C
77 F
26 °C
79 F
25.6 °C
78 F
Maximum: 43.6 °C = 110 F
Average: 33 °C = 91 F
Power Supply (max.)  42.2 °C = 108 F | Room Temperature 23.1 °C = 74 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 34.7 °C / 94 F, compared to the average of 29.4 °C / 85 F for the devices in the class Office.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 44.7 °C / 112 F, compared to the average of 34 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 43.6 °C / 110 F, compared to the average of 36.4 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.2 °C / 81 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 27.1 °C / 80.8 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.1 °C / 82.6 F (+1 °C / 1.8 F).
Heat map of the top of the device at idle
Heat map of the top of the device at idle
Heat map of the bottom of the device at idle
Heat map of the bottom of the device at idle
Heat map of the top of the device under load
Heat map of the top of the device under load
Heat map of the bottom of the device under load
Heat map of the bottom of the device under load

Speakers

Pink Noise speaker characteristics
Pink Noise speaker characteristics

Dell has equipped the Vostro 15-5581 with surprisingly good speakers considering its price. While voices sound rather dull and cannot reproduce much bass, they are good enough for Skype and YouTube sessions.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2034.633.834.62533.634.333.63132.237.332.24031.533.431.55031.133.231.16329.629.829.68028.727.728.710030.125.730.11253725.53716040.124.940.120041.124.241.125052.623.352.631557.822.257.840063.321.263.350062206263064.119.564.180070.318.770.3100066.318.366.3125064.11864.1160065.317.465.320007017.670250063.317.663.3315066.117.966.1400062.417.962.4500062.718.262.7630061.218.261.280006018.1601000057.918.257.91250054.618.254.61600057.618.257.6SPL77.230.677.2N37.91.337.9median 62median 18.2median 62Delta5.425.435.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6median 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseDell Vostro 15-5581Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Dell Vostro 15-5581 audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (70.27 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 18.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.7% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.7% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1.9% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (16.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 20% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 74% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 21%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 22% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 71% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 1% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Power Management

Power Consumption

The Vostro 15-5881 is economic by office laptop standards, although its predecessor and the more comparable HP 250 G7 consume considerably less when idling than our review unit does. An idle consumption of between 5 W and 11 W should present no problems in daily use.

The Vostro 15-5581 comes into its own under sustained load though, with it averaging 34 W during our tests. The device also consumed a maximum of 50 W during our stress tests, which makes it more efficient than our comparison devices that also have dedicated GPUs, like the ProBook 450 G6.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.34 / Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5 / 7.9 / 11.2 Watt
Load midlight 34 / 50.2 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Dell Vostro 15-5581
8265U, GeForce MX130, SK hynix BC501 HFM128GDJTNG-831, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Dell Vostro 15-5568
7500U, GeForce 940MX, Micron SSD 1100 (MTFDDAV256TBN), TN LED, 1920x1080, 15.6
HP ProBook 450 G6-5TJ93EA
8565U, GeForce MX130, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, WDC PC SN520 SDAPNUW-512G, TN, 1920x1080, 15.6
Average NVIDIA GeForce MX130
 
Average of class Office
 
Power Consumption
11%
-6%
26%
-10%
-24%
Idle Minimum *
5
3.1
38%
3.12
38%
3.2
36%
4.54 (3.12 - 7.5, n=13)
9%
7.56 (2.34 - 32, n=973)
-51%
Idle Average *
7.9
6.3
20%
6.3
20%
5.7
28%
6.98 (5.3 - 9.7, n=13)
12%
11.4 (4.2 - 42, n=973)
-44%
Idle Maximum *
11.2
6.5
42%
9.78
13%
6.1
46%
9.08 (7 - 13, n=13)
19%
13.8 (5 - 67, n=973)
-23%
Load Average *
34
46
-35%
57.6
-69%
36.5
-7%
54.1 (34 - 74.3, n=13)
-59%
37.2 (7.43 - 99.3, n=958)
-9%
Load Maximum *
50.2
54
-8%
67.3
-34%
37.5
25%
66.4 (40.5 - 107, n=13)
-32%
46 (12.2 - 129, n=960)
8%
Witcher 3 ultra *
42

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Dell equips the Vostro 15-5581 with a 3-cell 42 Wh battery, which is a capacity on par with our comparison devices. The Vostro 15-5581 and Vostro 15-5568 have the same capacity batteries, but the former lasted considerably longer in our practical battery life tests than the latter.

While the Vostro 15-5568 needed recharging after just 4:20 hours of our practical Wi-Fi battery life test, its successor lasted for 6:50 hours in the same test before it switched off. We conduct our Wi-Fi battery life test by running a script that simulates the load required to render websites, for reference. We also adjust the display to approximately 150 cd/m². Overall, the Vostro 15-5581 matches the class average here.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
12h 27min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
6h 50min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
6h 34min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 37min
Dell Vostro 15-5581
8265U, GeForce MX130, 42 Wh
Dell Vostro 15-5568
7500U, GeForce 940MX, 42 Wh
Dell Vostro 15-5568
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 42 Wh
HP 250 G7 6HM85ES
8265U, UHD Graphics 620, 41 Wh
Average of class Office
 
Battery Runtime
-16%
16%
-1%
-2%
Reader / Idle
747
800
7%
1011
35%
833
12%
572 (101 - 1857, n=800)
-23%
H.264
394
512
30%
426
8%
437 (139 - 862, n=184)
11%
WiFi v1.3
410
260
-37%
357
-13%
339
-17%
417 (105 - 1104, n=356)
2%
Load
97
79
-19%
110
13%
91
-6%
101 (37 - 259, n=755)
4%

Pros

+ affordable
+ decent input devices
+ matte IPS display
+ good maintenance & repair options

Cons

- dim display
- aggressive fan control
- slow SD card reader
- low PCIe write speeds

Verdict

The Dell Vostro 5581 laptop review. Test device courtesy of Cyberport.
The Dell Vostro 5581 laptop review. Test device courtesy of Cyberport.

The device has a stylish design, although its plastic case has a few craftsmanship inconsistencies. Dell has equipped the Vostro 15-5581 with decent input devices too, so you should never feel the need to grab an external mouse or keyboard.

Unfortunately, the display in our review unit is underwhelming, with an unacceptably low maximum brightness. It has stable viewing angles and a matte finish though, so reflections from bright artificial lights should never be a problem.

On the plus side, the Vostro 15-5581 has enough power to handle all office tasks and even some more graphics-intensive ones thanks to its GeForce MX130 GPU. However, the device does not get the most from the two components, and its fan behaviour is too aggressive for our liking. The Vostro 15-5581 has made strides from its predecessor though, with more power, better input devices and improved battery life.

The Dell Vostro 15-5581 is an average 15.6-inch laptop. It will not inspire people, but it was not built to do so. Simply, it will get the job done.

Overall, the Vostro 15-5581 excels in a few areas like battery life and CPU performance. An underwhelming display, aggressive fan and comparatively slow SSD blight what could have been a solid business laptop though.

Dell Vostro 15-5581 - 06/17/2019 v6(old)
Nino Ricchizzi

Chassis
80 / 98 → 82%
Keyboard
78%
Pointing Device
79%
Connectivity
53 / 80 → 67%
Weight
63 / 20-67 → 92%
Battery
89%
Display
Games Performance
65 / 68 → 95%
Application Performance
86 / 92 → 93%
Temperature
91%
Noise
80%
Audio
59%
Camera
40 / 85 → 46%
Average
72%
81%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Dell Vostro 15-5581 Laptop Review: An office laptop with an MX130 for some light gaming
Nino Ricchizzi, 2019-06-23 (Update: 2019-06-25)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.