We purchase every product we review with our own funds—we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Even though small mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have grown in popularity, traditional computers still have a place. That’s what makes laptop computers so desireable. They offer a lot of computing power, yet they’re also mobile.
When considering a new laptop, it’s a good idea to stick with a well-known brand name. In this shopping guide, we’re focusing on the best Dell laptops. Dell has been building computers since the mid-1980s, and is now one of the biggest computer manufacturers in the world.
In compiling our Dell laptop shopping guide, we’ve thoroughly researched the product category. All of our information aims to give readers the trustworthy data they need to make a wise purchase. You can count on our product recommendations and information to be free from bias, because we never accept free samples from manufacturers. Please continue reading to understand the key components in the top Dell laptop computers.
If you’re considering a Dell laptop purchase, you may be wondering whether a laptop is the best use of your budget. After all, you do have a few different options for computing devices.
Laptops and desktops both offer excellent computing power. They are similar types of computing devices. You can use laptops and desktop computers to perform nearly any task you want. The most powerful devices will run high-end gaming software, or provide fast video processing. More affordable desktop and laptop computers make internet usage and word processing easy.
Desktop computers tend to offer more power for the amount you’ll pay than laptops. Desktop PCs are easier to upgrade, too, giving them a longer lifespan. However, laptops give you the ability to work anywhere at anytime. They contain a battery and are small enough to carry with you, unlike a desktop computer.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK
Fast All-Around Laptop
This model offers excellent speed in a laptop, which works well for users who demand a lot from their machines. The i7559 includes a ton of storage space with a 1 TB hard disk drive, which photographers will love. Users demanding performance on the go appreciate the Dell model’s 10-hour battery life. Even though it’s a slightly older laptop, it still performs at a top-end level with a great price.
Some people think of a tablet as a laptop without the physical keyboard. The tablet uses a touch screen for user interaction, rather than a physical keyboard. However, you can usually attach a keyboard if desired.
Tablets can perform basic computing functions, like web surfing, email checking, and simple word processing-type tasks, much like a simple laptop. However, they can’t match a powerful laptop’s processing capability for more complex tasks, such as running gaming software.
Tablets and laptops are both easy-to-carry mobile devices, although tablets are smaller and lighter. You could think of a tablet as a fun portable device, while a laptop is more of a work device that’s portable.
Should your laptop battery case swell a bit over time, you should no longer use it. Li-ion batteries sometimes swell as they age.
Smartphones have a surprising amount of computing power for their small size. You certainly can perform some basic computing tasks on a smartphone. But they don’t have the ability to perform serious work related tasks like a laptop.
Smartphones are great for communicating with others while on the go, through social media, voice calls, texting, or email. Because they fit in a pocket, people often use them for these tasks.
For most people, selecting a smartphone versus a laptop isn’t an either/or proposition. They’ll own both types of devices, as their strengths complement each other well for a professional who’s on the go.
The watt hour, or Whr, measurement of a battery doesn’t tell you how many hours a battery will run. However, a battery with a higher Whr number will run longer than a small Whr.
When comparing different Dell laptop models, you need to know how the different components work. We’ll help you figure out which components are the most important for your needs.
The components at the top of the list will give you faster performance and more enjoyment for power-hungry software.
Dell laptops contain many other features, including WiFi technology, Bluetooth technology, Ethernet ports, USB ports, HDMI ports, headphone ports, and memory card slots. Most laptop models have all of these options available.
Never carry the laptop by the screen. The hinge on the screen is a significant stress point for the laptop case, and it could break if you don’t handle the laptop properly.
The CPU works as the primary processor in any laptop. Most Dell laptops will feature Intel processors, rather than AMD processors.
Processors with more cores, a higher frequency speed (measured in GHz, or gigahertz), and a larger cache (measured in MB, or megabytes) will provide more power. Laptops with these processors also will cost more.
A loud fan in a laptop may indicate an obstruction in the vent area. The fan keeps the laptop’s interior components cool, so it’s a very important piece of gear.
Random Access Memory, or RAM, is a temporary storage area for running software. RAM is measured in GB, and RAM speed measurements occur in MHz, or megahertz. Higher numbers represent more power.
Fewer and fewer new laptops include optical drives for CDs and DVDs. Those that do will be larger and heavier than laptops that don’t.
Laptop size depends in large part on the the size of the display screen. If you want a bigger screen, you’ll need a bigger, heavier laptop.
Display screens in Dell laptops usually employ LCD technology, which allows for large displays of a high quality.
Manufacturers measure screen size diagonally in inches. Pay attention to maximum screen resolution too, where full HD resolution equals 1920x1080 pixels.
Dell laptop screens are measured diagonally from one corner of the screen to the opposite corner.
The hard disk drive, or HDD, is the primary storage area in the laptop for files, photos, and videos. Most people want as much storage space as possible, measured in GB, or gigabytes. (For larger HDDs, 1,000 GB equals 1 TB, or terabyte.)
A solid state drive, or SSD, uses flash storage technology, instead of the spinning platters found in a hard disk drive. SSD runs much faster than HDD technology and provides more reliability, but it costs more too. You’ll measure SSD storage in GB.
Looking for an easy way to conserve battery power with a Dell laptop? Try turning down the screen brightness.
With so many different Dell laptops available in the market, you will have a variety of price point options. This gives you a great chance to find the exact features you need at a price you can afford. To find the right Dell laptop, we suggest figuring out what you can afford to spend. Then prioritize the features you need the most and find a model in your budget that excels in those areas.
Most Dell laptop computers that fit in this low price point are simple Chromebook models. They sometimes will have touch screens, but they won’t feature high levels of processing power. However, they work well for the most basic tasks, including running cloud-based software and apps. Just don’t expect to run high-end gaming software, or do serious photo processing with a laptop in this price range.
Product in Depth
Product in Depth
Dell Inspiron Flagship Backlit Keyboard Laptop
Affordable Laptop, Works Hard
Value sometimes can be tough to find in the laptop market, but this Inspiron model delivers exactly what the budget shopper needs. Don’t expect top-of-the-market performance from this affordably priced laptop. Yet it will give the average user more than enough processing power and storage capacity. It even includes a handy backlit keyboard, something you don’t often see at this price point.
Mid-range-priced Dell laptops have a nice collection of basic features. For the majority of people, a laptop in this price range will work perfectly.
It can run word processing and spreadsheet software, it works with cloud-based apps, and it can perform web surfing well.
You sometimes will find a Dell laptop that has one or two high-end features in this price range, such as a large display screen, or a large amount of storage space.
Notebooks sometimes will have hot spots on the laptop case. Just make sure you can hear the fan running, and small hot spots shouldn’t cause concern.
High-end Dell laptops in this price range will run the most demanding software around. You’ll be able to run high-end gaming software, as well as process video and photos quickly.
These models have excellent processors, large amounts of fast-performing RAM, and huge hard disk drive storage space.
These laptops offer both traditional hard disks, as well as solid state storage drives.
Expensive Dell laptops may even feature large touch screen displays and long warranty periods.
Q. What kind of performance can I expect from my Dell laptop battery?
A. Lithium-ion batteries provide power to laptops. However, they do wear out slowly over time. Most users will notice the battery start delivering less usage time around 16 to 24 months after buying the laptop. Those who use the battery a lot will notice this problem sooner than those who generally run the laptop off AC power. Eventually, you will have to purchase a replacement battery. When you do so depends on when the declining battery power begins to affect your ability to work like you want.
Q. Do I have to purchase a Dell-branded battery?
A. When buying a replacement battery for your Dell laptop, you can buy a Dell-branded unit or a third-party battery. Most third-party batteries offer good quality, and will run just fine with your laptop. However, Dell does not recommend using third-party batteries, because the company has no control over the quality and safety of them. If you choose not to buy a Dell battery, research third-party batteries carefully, looking for safety concerns, before buying one.
Q. Why would I pick a Dell laptop over a desktop computer?
A. People who need portability in a computer prefer a laptop over a desktop computer. If you always work at a desk and nowhere else, a desktop PC works great. On average, the desktop PC offers more power at cheaper prices than a laptop. However, providing the ability to work anywhere at any time marks a significant advantage for Dell laptops.
Q. What are some of the dangers of laptops?
A. Because of their portable design, you always run the risk of dropping the notebook computer and possibly destroying it. Additionally, if the keyboard or display screen break down in a laptop, the entire unit becomes unusable. With a desktop computer, you can just swap out the broken part and keep working. Certain parts of a laptop can wear out too, such as the hinge on the screen, that leave the laptop inoperable. But the convenience of using a laptop outweighs these potential problems for a lot of people.
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At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.