The new Dell Inspiron 17R series laptop offers some significant changes from its predecessor. Not only is the styling much more on par with its competitors, including a brushed metal finish, curved edges and a sleeker profile the 17R is upping its game in the world of computing where appearance is entering the market. The 17R also offers a significant value when you consider that a lot of laptop manufacturers consider any 17 inch laptop a “gaming” option where they usually tack on a large price premium simply because its a desktop replacing laptop.
Dell generally releases coupons on the 17R ranging in $25 to $75 ranges, we haven't seen a coupon for the Inspiron 17R go beyond that level yet, but you should note that the coupons are also accompanied by various different ranges of "instant savings stack-ability." For example, one $25 coupon may stack with a $300 instant saving, while a $75 may stack only with a $200 instant saving amount. In this situation, the $25 code takes the cake.
Every model comes with Intel’s latest i series processors. Both the i3 and i5 will offer a good level of performance for the average user. Interchangeable lids are a nice feature although quite the premium in price when on a budget. Premium upgrades like wireless video connectivity, Blu-Ray disk drive, and some modest graphics options make the 17R a fairly versatile option with a fair amount to offer.
Graphics and Media Option
Graphics options on the 17R are modest. The Geforce 525M should get you playing most games today with medium detail at 720p resolution which is perfectly acceptable if you don’t just have to have the best graphics. Black Ops for instance should be playable on high settings while Crysis 2 needs to be turned down to medium or even Low for best frame rates. When considering upgrading graphics always remember that it will hurt battery life over the integrated options.
The Blu-ray drive is a nice option to see, but it is disappointing to not see a 1080p display as an option on this laptop. Build in HDMI makes it easy to play content on a larger screen with just one cable hookup, or even eliminate cables completely with the wireless video option. It is a disappointment to not see a 7200RPM hard drive option for the performance minded consumer, but we can live without it.
Memory and Storage
Every model comes with a good amount of RAM as well as storage, making even their base configurations still very solid choices. 300GB of storage goes a long ways unless you’re storing a lot of video content. 3GB of memory will also allow for some fairly respectable multitasking abilities. If you plan on running Windows Server or are constantly running a lot of background processes the 4GB or 6GB would be nice upgrades if the budget allows for it.
The Bottom Line
At 7 pounds the 17R isn’t exactly a traveling laptop, but then again what 17 inch laptop is? Good aesthetics combined with a good range of multimedia and video options makes the 17R a great option for someone who would rather have a laptop instead of a desktop for the occasional travel or space savings, but can also easily offer a modest gaming laptop at a great price point. If you are looking at the 17R as a power user needing a true desktop replacement missing upgrades like the i7 processor and USB 3.0 will be missed, but are far from essential.