Notebookcheck

Face Off: Dell Inspiron 15 5558 vs. Lenovo Z51 70 vs. Acer Aspire V3 574G

A little bit of everything. For gaming, work, media, or on-the-go, these are the three readily available notebooks that won't cost an arm or a leg. Which one is the overall best?

15-inch all-rounder notebooks for under $1000 USD can be considered the sweet spot for most buyers this Holiday season. These are the notebooks that are just as good at home as they are at work, for school, and even for 3D games.

Our comparison this week focuses on the popular 15-inch notebooks from the Inspiron, Aspire, and Ideapad Z series from Dell, Acer, and Lenovo, respectively. These are the jack-of-all-trades notebooks that skip on fancy hardware designs for affordability and accessibility.

We encourage users to check out our dedicated review pages below for more data and detailed analyses of each of the three models. This comparison is by no means a replacement, but a condensed aid for those on the fence.

Dell Inspiron 15 5558 Review

Lenovo Z51 70 Review (Z51 w/ R7 M360)

Acer Aspire V3 574G Review

Dell Inspiron 15
Dell Inspiron 15
Lenovo Z51
Lenovo Z51
Acer Aspire V3
Acer Aspire V3

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Case

Unlike the costlier Latitude series, the Inspiron 15 is plastic from top to bottom. The matte finishing and rubberized palm rests are a stark contrast to the shiny brushed aluminum designs on many Ultabooks. As for quality, the notebook is weakest on the center of the keyboard and outer lid where surfaces can be more easily depressed. However, these are common weak spots for notebooks. We can observe no manufacturing defects or creaking on our test model.

The Lenovo and Acer both utilize a combination of aluminum for both the palm rests and outer lid and plastic for everything else including the bezels and undersides. This doesn't mean that quality is any better than the Dell, however, as it is still possible to twist the base of the two notebooks. In Lenovo's case, creaking noises can be heard if attempting to twist its base. We can notice more uneven gaps on the Acer in particular, which suggests a less-than-perfect manufacturing. The lids of both the Acer and Lenovo are more susceptible to twists than the Dell.

While the quality of the Inspiron isn't perfect, it's still a couple steps ahead of the Z51 and Aspire V3. The fact that the Dell notebook also happens to be thinner, smaller, and lighter than the other two only adds insult to injury for Lenovo and Acer.

Winner: Dell Inspiron 15

380 mm / 15 inch 265 mm / 10.4 inch 26 mm / 1.024 inch 2.3 kg5.07 lbs381.6 mm / 15 inch 259 mm / 10.2 inch 23.9 mm / 0.941 inch 2.4 kg5.29 lbs345 mm / 13.6 inch 243 mm / 9.57 inch 23.35 mm / 0.919 inch 2 kg4.41 lbs

Ports in Comparison

Dell Inspiron 15
Dell Inspiron 15
Lenovo Z51
Lenovo Z51
Acer Aspire V3
Acer Aspire V3

Connectivity

Physical ports are nearly identical between the notebooks with one or two key exceptions. The Inspiron quickly loses this round for having less USB 3.0 ports, no VGA, and only a Fast Ethernet (10/100 mbps) RJ-45 port.

The Z51 and Aspire V3 have almost identical port placement. The slight advantage, however, goes to Acer for its 2.5-inch SATA III bay compared to the M.2 slot in the Z51. Upgrading a standard 2.5-inch drive is considerably cheaper at the cost of size and weight. In our particular case, opening the maintenance panel for the Lenovo unfortunately requires breaking the warranty seal as well.

Winner: Acer Aspire V3

Ports and Connections

Dell Inspiron 15 Lenovo Z51 Acer Aspire V3
USB 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
Video-out 1x HDMI 1x HDMI, 1x VGA 1x HDMI, 1x VGA
Other SD reader, optical drive, 1x 3.5 mm audio, Fast Ethernet, Kensington Lock SD reader, optical drive, 1x 3.5 mm audio, Gigabit Ethernet, Kensington Lock SD reader, optical drive, 1x 3.5 mm audio, Gigabit Ethernet, Kensington Lock
Storage Bays 1x 2.5-inch SATA III 1x M.2 1x 2.5-inch SATA III

Input Devices

Starting off with the Lenovo Z51, its keyboard is perhaps the weakest of the three. The gap between the keyboard and the base itself is uneven and the entire surface can be more easily dented compared to the Dell or Acer. Travel is very short and feedback is spongy and uneven due to the poor quality of the keyboard. The only upside is that the notebook carries full-size Arrow keys compared to the half-size keys on the Dell and Acer.

Dell and Acer both have the better typing experience compared to the Lenovo and are quite evenly matched compared to themselves. They offer short travel as usual for notebooks, but feedback is at least clearer and more acceptable.

As for trackpads, the Lenovo is the only one that offers dedicated mouse keys for those who prefer it over the integrated keys on the Dell or Acer. It also appears to have trouble recognizing inputs around edges and corners. Otherwise, the trackpads on the Dell and Acer are nearly identical in size and easier to use with no noticeable issues.

Winner: Keyboard -- Tie -- Dell Inspiron 15 and Acer Aspire V3

              Touchpad -- Tie -- Dell Inspiron 15 and Acer Aspire V3

Dell Inspiron 15 5558
Dell Inspiron 15 5558
Lenovo Z51
Lenovo Z51
Acer Aspire V3
Acer Aspire V3

Display

The matte 1080p screens on our three notebooks are a mixed bag. While sharpness is good, there are some notable downsides to colors, brightness, or contrast for each.

Dell's Inspiron provides double the contrast of the Lenovo and Acer for superior black levels. On the flip side, colors are less accurate than the Acer and the LED backlight is by far the dimmest. Meanwhile, our Lenovo is the only one with the inferior TN panel and suffers from an overly cool color temperature and the most inaccurate colors. Lastly, the Acer notebook is capable of more accurate colors without any calibration required and utilizes a brighter backlight as well, though contrast is still average at roughly 550:1.

The winner is a tossup between the Inspiron 15 and Aspire V3 depending on user preferences. Our personal preference is that visibility comes first as a dim display won't be of much help even if it has the superior contrast.

Winner: Acer Aspire V3

Dell Inspiron 15
Dell Inspiron 15
Lenovo Z51
Lenovo Z51
Acer Aspire V3
Acer Aspire V3
Displays at a Glance

Dell Inspiron 15 Lenovo Z51 Acer Aspire V3
Size 15.6-inch IPS 15.6-inch TN 15.6-inch IPS
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080
Pixel Density 141 PPI 141 PPI 141 PPI
Panel ID LG Philips 156WF6 Chi Mei CMN15C4 LG Philips LP156WF4-SPL1
Panel Matte Matte Matte
Dell Inspiron 15-5558Lenovo Z51-70Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
Screen
Brightness middle
177
229
257
Brightness
176
214
247
Brightness Distribution
78
85
84
Black Level *
0.15
0.45
0.45
Contrast
1180
509
571
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
8.52
10.51
7.36
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
9.72
11.32
7.82
Gamma
1.85 119%
2.47 89%
2.4 92%
CCT
5036 129%
12795 51%
6939 94%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
39
38
38
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
61
59
59.2

* ... smaller is better

Dell Inspiron 15 color profile
Dell Inspiron 15 color profile
Lenovo Z51
Lenovo Z51
Acer Aspire V3
Acer Aspire V3

Performance

CPU Performance

Dell, Lenovo, and Acer all offer multiple CPU options beyond what we have here, so this comparison is only between the configurations on hand.

Our three notebooks share the same Core i5-5200U CPU. With this variable held constant, any temperature and GPU performance differences should be easier to analyze. CPU performance is essentially identical across the notebooks, so no one notebook is artificially throttling the CPU by any extreme measures. Interestingly, the Lenovo is about 10 percent slower in single-threaded operations according to CineBench while multi-core operations are more in line with the Dell and Acer. This shouldn't pose any significant performance penalties, however.

See our dedicated CPU page on the Core i5-5200U for more comparisons and benchmarks.

Hardware at a Glance

Dell Inspiron 15 Lenovo Z51 Acer Aspire V3
CPU 2.2 GHz Core i5-5200U 2.2 GHz Core i5-5200U 2.2 GHz Core i5-5200U
TDP 15 W 15 W 15 W
RAM 8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz, Dual-channel, 2x SODIMM slots 8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz, Single-channel, 2x SODIMM slots 8 GB DDR3 1600 MHz, Dual-channel, 2x SODIMM slots
GPU Nvidia GeForce 920M (Optimus) AMD Radeon R9 M375 (Enduro) Nvidia GeForce 940M (Optimus)
Dell Inspiron 15
Dell Inspiron 15
Acer Aspire V3
Acer Aspire V3
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
108 Points ∼50%
Lenovo Z51-70
96 Points ∼44%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
108 Points ∼50%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
261 Points ∼6%
Lenovo Z51-70
259 Points ∼6%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
258 Points ∼6%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
1.26 Points ∼52%
Lenovo Z51-70
1.13 Points ∼46%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
1.26 Points ∼52%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
2.8 Points ∼6%
Lenovo Z51-70
2.84 Points ∼6%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
2.78 Points ∼6%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
4232 Points ∼13%
Lenovo Z51-70
4203 Points ∼13%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
4200 Points ∼13%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
2623 Points ∼7%
Lenovo Z51-70
2898 Points ∼7%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
2948 Points ∼7%
PCMark 7
System Storage (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
1523 Points ∼21%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
5220 Points ∼73%
Computation (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
15328 Points ∼54%
Lenovo Z51-70
13929 Points ∼49%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
14997 Points ∼53%
Creativity (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
5758 Points ∼40%
Lenovo Z51-70
9048 Points ∼63%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
9536 Points ∼66%
Entertainment (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
2715 Points ∼25%
Lenovo Z51-70
3660 Points ∼34%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
3506 Points ∼33%
Productivity (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
1454 Points ∼13%
Lenovo Z51-70
4021 Points ∼37%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
3840 Points ∼35%
Lightweight (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
2083 Points ∼28%
Lenovo Z51-70
5037 Points ∼69%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
4852 Points ∼66%
Score (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
2736 Points ∼30%
Lenovo Z51-70
5071 Points ∼55%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
4857 Points ∼53%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
3609 Points ∼55%
Lenovo Z51-70
4274 Points ∼66%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
4070 Points ∼62%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
3225 Points ∼31%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
3705 Points ∼35%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
2830 Points ∼46%
Lenovo Z51-70
3612 Points ∼59%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
3187 Points ∼52%

GPU Performance

The GeForce 920M in the Dell is slower than both the Radeon R9 M375 and GeForce 940M by wide margins. The M375 and 940M are both mid-range GPUs compared to the entry-level 920M, so users can expect 15 to 50 percent slower graphics performance out of the Dell depending on the 3DMark benchmark.

Meanwhile, the M375 and 940M trade blows fairly well in the same benchmarks. The Lenovo and Acer should theoretically provide nearly the same GPU performance levels.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
1704 Points ∼3%
Lenovo Z51-70
3314 Points ∼7%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
2432 Points ∼5%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
1157 Points ∼3%
Lenovo Z51-70
1667 Points ∼4%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
1639 Points ∼4%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
7214 Points ∼4%
Lenovo Z51-70
8466 Points ∼5%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
8946 Points ∼5%
Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
39.83 fps ∼23%
Lenovo Z51-70
38.7 fps ∼23%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
39.22 fps ∼23%
Cinebench R15 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
46.22 fps ∼19%
Lenovo Z51-70
45.5 fps ∼18%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
52.36 fps ∼21%

Gaming Performance

Results from the synthetic benchmarks translate well into real-world gaming performance. The GeForce 920M is consistently pumping out 20 to 40 percent fewer frames per second than both the M375 and 940M. The 940M tends to perform better at lower resolution settings than the M375, though the performance advantages shrink when running on higher graphical settings.

See our dedicated GPU pages on the GeForce 920M, Radeon R9 M375, and GeForce 940M for more comparisons and benchmarks.

Tomb Raider
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:FX AF:16x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
11.8 fps ∼4%
Lenovo Z51-70
17.8 fps ∼6%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
17.3 fps ∼6%
1366x768 High Preset AA:FX AF:8x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
25.7 fps ∼5%
Lenovo Z51-70
36.2 fps ∼7%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
35 fps ∼7%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
43.3 fps ∼8%
Lenovo Z51-70
50 fps ∼9%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
64.8 fps ∼11%
1024x768 Low Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
83.8 fps ∼13%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
130.7 fps ∼21%
Batman: Arkham Knight
1920x1080 High / On AA:SM AF:16x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
6 fps ∼4%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
8 fps ∼6%
1920x1080 High / On (Interactive Smoke & Paper Debris Off) AA:SM AF:8x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
8 fps ∼5%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
15 fps ∼9%
1366x768 Normal / Off AF:4x (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
13 fps ∼6%
Lenovo Z51-70
22 fps ∼11%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
18 fps ∼9%
1280x720 Low / Off AF:Trilinear (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
16 fps ∼7%
Lenovo Z51-70
27 fps ∼13%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
21 fps ∼10%
Dirt Rally
1920x1080 Ultra Preset AA:4x MS (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
12.5 fps ∼7%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
12.5 fps ∼7%
1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
16.8 fps ∼8%
Lenovo Z51-70
24.8 fps ∼12%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
23.5 fps ∼12%
1366x768 Medium Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
33.1 fps ∼15%
Lenovo Z51-70
40.8 fps ∼19%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
46.4 fps ∼21%
1024x768 Ultra Low Preset (sort by value)
Dell Inspiron 15-5558
136.1 fps ∼26%
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
146.1 fps ∼28%

Stress Test

To test system stability, we run both Prime95 and FurMark to simulate maximum stress. These unrealistic conditions do not represent daily workloads, but are instead meant to put both the CPU and GPU at 100 percent capacity. If the notebook remains stable, then you can be sure it can handle any other tasks without major hardware failures.

All three notebooks run stably, but the Aspire V3 is the most impressive as it is able to maintain both GPU Boost and CPU Boost. This is quite uncommon as at least one core will throttle more often than not under similar conditions. The Inspiron 15 is unable to maintain any Boost benefits at all when running both Prime95 and FurMark, but it is at least able to maintain its base clock speeds. Core temperatures are generally lower than the Aspire V3 as a result.

Our author for the Lenovo Z51 did not provide GPU clock speeds during the stress test, so we are unable to draw any conclusive remarks. We can, however, show that the CPU throttles just ever so slightly from 2.2 GHz to a steady 2.1 GHz. Core temperatures are also high at 83 C. From a performance standpoint, however, the Acer wins this round.

Winner: Acer Aspire V3

Dell Inspiron 15 5558
Dell Inspiron 15 5558
Lenovo Z51 70
Lenovo Z51 70
Acer Aspire V3 574G
Acer Aspire V3 574G
CPU and GPU Clock Rates Under Stress

Dell Inspiron 15 Lenovo Z51 Acer Aspire V3
Rated GPU Core Clock (MHz) 954 1015 1072
Stable GPU Core Clock on FurMark (MHz) 954 -- 1163
Rated CPU Core Clock (GHz) 2.2 2.2 2.2
Stable CPU Core Clock on Prime95 (GHz) 2.2 2.1 2.5
Maximum CPU temperature 81 C 83 C 80 C
Maximum GPU temperature 61 C -- 78 C

Emissions

System Noise & Temperature

The systems fans in both the Acer and Dell never idle, but are thankfully at low enough speeds where fan noise is not an issue during daily loads. The Lenovo is the quieter notebook out of the three and stays well below 40 dB(A) is most cases. Its fan becomes inactive during low processing loads for silent operation. Nonetheless, we can notice no humming or abnormal noises from any of the notebooks.

Surface temperatures are highest on the Acer and lowest on the Dell with the Lenovo sitting comfortably between them. The low-power GeForce 920M and higher fan noise in the Dell may partly explain its cooler temperatures compared to the more graphically powerful Z51 and Aspire V3. Expect one side of the keyboard to always be warmer than the other when gaming.

Winner: System Noise -- Lenovo Z51

              Temperature -- Dell Inspiron 15

Average Fan Noise and Surface Temperature

Dell Inspiron 15 Lenovo Z51 Acer Aspire V3
Fan Noise when idling 33.5 dB(A) 32.1 dB(A) 32.8 dB(A)
Fan Noise under high loads 45.9 dB(A) 40.7 dB(A) 43.4 dB(A)
Average surface temperature when idling 26.8 C 26.8 C 28.6 C
Average surface temperature under high loads 30.2 C 33.1 C 37.6 C
Ambient temperature 22 C 24 C 24.5 C

Battery Life

The Inspiron takes this round without much of a fight due to its higher capacity, longer runtimes, and replaceable battery. Under similar WLAN conditions, our test model can outlast the Lenovo and Acer by up to 50 minutes. Battery replacement on these two competing models is inconvenient as the maintenance panel must first be removed.

Winner: Dell Inspiron 15

Dell Inspiron 15-5558
40 Wh
Lenovo Z51-70
32 Wh
Acer Aspire V3-574G-59MA
37 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
666
673
WiFi v1.3
337
289
281
Load
103
75
91

Verdict

The Inspiron 15 carries the dimmer display and the weaker GPU. Nonetheless, it outclasses the Lenovo and Acer in nearly every other aspect.
The Inspiron 15 carries the dimmer display and the weaker GPU. Nonetheless, it outclasses the Lenovo and Acer in nearly every other aspect.

The Dell Inspiron 15 takes the cake for an easier recommendation over the Lenovo Z51 and Acer Aspire V3. Its smaller dimensions, lighter weight, longer battery life, removable battery, and higher quality chassis are hard advantages to ignore.

Are there reasons to choose the Acer or Lenovo instead? Users who want the brighter display for better visibility in bright environments and are mainstream gamers may not prefer the Dell. In this case, the Acer is the better deal than the Lenovo as it is simply better built than the Lenovo with a better quality display. Otherwise, non-gamers who simply want a reliable and portable notebook for work and the occasional media playback will find the Inspiron 15 a better experience.

Dell Inspiron 15

Pricecompare

Lenovo Z51

Pricecompare

Acer Aspire V3

Pricecompare

Dell Inspiron 15 5558Lenovo Z51 70Acer Aspire V3 574G

+ Smaller, thinner, and lighter

+ Stronger build quality

+ Higher contrast

+ Lower surface temperatures

+ Longer battery runtimes

+ Replaceable battery

+ Good graphics performance

+ Full-size Arrow keys

+ Dedicated mouse keys

+ Quieter fan

+ Good graphics performance

+ Brighter display backlight

+ More accurate colors

+ Maintains CPU and GPU Boosts at high workloads

- Dimmer display backlight

- Louder fan noise under high loads

- No VGA or Gigabit Ethernet and fewer USB 3.0 ports

- Poorer graphics performance

- Warranty void if removing maintenance panel

- No 2.5-inch SATA bay

- Inaccurate TN display panel

- Uneven keyboard quality

- Weaker build quality; creaking

- Loud fan noise under high loads

- Weaker build quality; uneven gaps visible

- Higher surface temperatures

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Face Off: Dell Inspiron 15 5558 vs. Lenovo Z51 70 vs. Acer Aspire V3 574G
Allen Ngo, 2015-10-21 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.