This laptop has several performance advantages over its similarly-tiered previous generation models in providing a 10nm technology processor mated to the UHD graphics card, which also performs quite well for many graphics applications despite not having its own dedicated on-board RAM.
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Many other aspects of the Inspiron 17-3000 are throwbacks to previous generation laptops including the means of accessing the interior for upgrades (a bit of disassembly is required) and the presence of a read/write DVD player, increasingly a rarity in the laptop market.
The Inspiron 17-3000 is marketed as a large-screen laptop in its budget price and performance targeting segment. It is great for use by students and home users who want a modest-performing machine for basic work tasks, internet browsing, lighter gameplay, and who prefer a larger screen for video and movie viewing.
Why have a larger screen on a laptop and why would any manufacturer continue to produce large, not easily portable devices? With internet streaming media services, the modern laptop is quickly becoming our stand-in for the television and a larger screen with IPS display technology allowing for wide-angle viewing is ideal for small groups of people who want to watch the same movie or TV show.
What is it like for Gaming?
We were not able to find the performance ratings yet for the UHD Graphics G1 on System Performance Lab, however, we did locate some other, less-detailed reviews of gaming performance. The integrated UHD graphics of this machine will run basic games like Minecraft, League of Legends, and DotA 2 smoothly with reduced graphics settings.
However, playing games with more demanding graphics requirements, such as Fortnite and Dead Red Redemption may cause the machine to struggle a bit with the graphics since part of the overall performance is based on available free memory for the graphics processor and the processing speed of the CPU.
Real-world tests with Red Dead Redemption with graphics quality tuned down about 50% yielded a playable experience briefly at frame rates of 15-20 fps until the game consumed all the available RAM and crashed (8 GB total were available, shares among the CPU and GPU).
Performance on Grand Theft Auto V on native resolution (1080p) with half-resolution render scaling was able to achieve frame rates of 25-40 fps (holding close to 30 with consistency) and made for a perfectly acceptable play experience.
Tests with the best graphics settings in Untitled Goose Game produced a very smooth performance and topped-out frame rates for the display (60 fps).
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For those who want a large laptop screen for movie watching, but feel that they just do not have the budget for anything but a small machine, the Inspiron 17-3000 is for you. Full of features, some of which are hard to find these days (such as the DVD-R player), you get a lot for a very reasonable price.
Comparably priced laptops are much smaller and usually have a more robust processor. We find, however, the 10th generation i3 of the Inspiron more than adequate for any standard computing task and well able to engage in more demanding work and switch between high memory demand applications.
The Inspiron 17-3000 we review here is a non-touchscreen model, although there is a touchscreen version available as well. Personally, we do not favor touchscreens for several reasons.
One, they accumulate fingerprints which require frequent screen cleaning. Two, the screen finish on touchscreens is glossy and screen images can be obscured in certain lighting conditions.
The overall design of the Inspiron is fairly straightforward, with options for either matte-black or matte-silver finish. The outer housing is plastic, yet, the inner housing is aluminum.
At first glance, one may assume the Inspiron 17-3000 is an older laptop since it borrows design elements from machines produced close to 10 years ago. There are no dedicated access ports for memory or hard drive removal.
The Inspiron 17-3000 also has a DVD-R tray, which is very rare in the current market and definitely a throwback to the last decade. With the demise of DVD rental stores, the utility of a DVD player became limited, however, the DVD-R is still useful for data archiving on writable DVD discs.
The Inspiron comes with a range of available ports for good connectivity, including a USB 2.0, two USB 3.1, a USB Type-C 3.1, an HDMI, an RJ-45 (10/100 internet), and a combination audio jack that permits use as either a microphone port, a headphone port, or both.
Opening the case is much like laptops of the past and requires you to remove a dozen or so screws, then pry the bottom case away from the top case. After removal, the hard part is over and all components are accessible from the underside of the mainframe.
The Inspiron 17-3000 has two memory card slots on the motherboard and comes standard with 8 GB of RAM (DDR4). The motherboard can accept a maximum of 16 GB of RAM.
The cooling system consists of a single heat pipe attached to two heat sinks on the CPU, which leads to a heat exchange radiator vented by a cooling fan. The exhaust is located to the rear of the laptop.
In normal use tests and even while watching videos or bit-streamed movies, the Inspiron 17-3000 never became warm. The only time the fan was audible was during high demand tasks, graphically-intensive tasks, or in switching between high-RAM using applications.
The Inspiron 17-3000 has a full HD screen (1920 x 1080 pixels) that uses IPS technology for good viewing angles. The screen has a dimensional ratio of 16:9, which is very compatible with standard movie display formats.
Pixel density is 127 PPI with a 0.1995 pitch, which provides plenty of picture detail for regular work, viewing videos and movies, or for light gaming. Screen brightness is excellent at 310 nits at screen center and color space coverage is very good at 94% of sRGB
Opening the lid requires two hands because of a stiff hinge, which spans most of the rear area of the top casing. The laptop is also quite heavy coming in at over 6 pounds, however, this is not uncommon in the larger 17-inch laptops and much of this weigh is contributed by the DVD-R drive.
The case also flexes quite a bit on opening, but this is not too unusual. Many manufacturers when designing a 17-inch laptop simply take a 14-inch or 15-inch laptop and scale it up.
The additional dimensions allow room for more torque to be applied to the frame and there is more frame flexure since the thickness of the housing materials is the same as with the smaller machines.
There have also been some reports by users of a light problem with white light being illuminated acutely across the bottom of the screen. This is likely due to poor screen sealing.
The lifespan of the battery is appallingly short, falling under 3 hours with regular use and in energy conservation mode.
Below, we detail all the specifications of the Inspiron 17-3000. Included are benchmarking scores for the CPU and GPU to provide some relative indication of expected performance.
Processor: Intel Core i3 (10th Generation) 1005G1 @ 1.2 GHz
Turbo Boost Speed: 3.4 GHz
Cache: 4 MB
64-Bit Processing, hyperthreaded
PassMark Benchmark Score: 5257
Special Features: Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, Intel Smart Cache system
RAM (max): 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM @ 2666 MHz (16 GB)
HDD 5400 rpm, 1 TB (SATA)
Display: LCD with LED backlight, anti-glare coating; viewing angles vertical and horizontal ±80°
TFT Type: IPS (In-Pane Switching)
Diagonal Size: 17.3 inches (43.94 cm)
Resolution: Full HD
Graphics Processor: Intel UHD Graphics G1
On-Board Memory: none
Boost Frequency: Up to 1.15 GHz
PassMark Benchmark Score: 1058
WiFI: Dell Wireless 1810 Card (802.11a,b,g,n,ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Ethernet Port (LAN): 10/100
SD Card Reader: Yes (accepts SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards)
Battery Type: Lithium-Ion
Total Capacity: 42 Wh
Number of Cells: 3
Power Supply: AC 110/220 V (60/50 Hz)
Consumption: 65 W, 19.5 V
USB 2.0 (1)
USB 3.1 Generation 1 (2)
USB Type-C 3.1 (generation 1)
Combo Jack (Headphone and Microphone)
Memory Card Reader
Software: Standard password protection
Physical: Fingerprint sensor, Standard Noble Wedge-type security slot
Dimensions (w x d x h): 16.4 x 11 x 1 inches
Weight: 6.68 lbs.
OS: Windows 10 64-bit preloaded
Microsoft Office (30-day trial)
McAfee LiveSafe (12-month subscription)
All in all, the Inspiron 17-3000 is a basic budget grade laptop with a few perks thrown in. You basically get what you pay for and despite the flashy silver exterior and huge screen, it is a budget machine with modest capabilities and is built in a manner so that it is affordable.
Although that may sound like a condemnation of this laptop, nothing could be further from the truth. Dell makes a capable 17-inch laptop in the Inspiron 17-3000 that can be afforded by those people with limited budgets who want that 17-inch HD screen experience.
No laptop review would be complete without dropping a little advice on what to look for in making your selections. There are several things to keep in mind when buying a new machine so that you will not be disappointed shortly after purchase.
How do you intend to use your laptop? If it will stay on the desk or go on and off the kitchen table, then a larger screen size (15-inch and up) is appropriate.
However, if you intend to travel, a smaller laptop is more of what you need. Think about two things in this decision: weight and opening the machine on an airline seat tray.
Many smaller laptops in the 12-13’ish inch size range usually weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5-3.5 pounds. If you are traveling with one of those, you will feel the difference and will appreciate it.
If you opt for a big ol’ 15-inch laptop, just try using it on a plane the next time you travel. With modern cramped airline seating, and especially if the person in front of you decides to recline their seat, you cannot fully open a 15-inch laptop on an airline seat tray without having to actually exit the seat.
So, what about those smaller machines? Smaller laptops tend to fall into three different product categories: Ultrabooks, notebooks, and convertibles.
Ultrabooks by definition are less than 1-inch thick, use SSDs for storage, and have higher-end i5 processors, and are lightweight (about 2.5 pounds or less). In many respects, they resemble their main competitors, the MacBook, and are intended to be just as portable.
Notebooks are basically small laptops with screens less than 15 inches and typically weigh 4-5 pounds. You probably have seen many notebooks and did not know they were notebooks, since they are identical in every aspect to regular laptops except in terms of screen size and weight.
Convertibles are very different from either of the aforementioned machines since they are ultralight (typically a little over one pound) and have reduced processing capability in favor of lighter weight, longer battery life, better portability, and are way cheaper than most laptops (prices many times of half what a laptop costs). They are termed convertibles since they can convert from a laptop-like device to a tablet device by folding away the keyboard.
If you travel and need a dependable machine for on the road, we cannot stress enough the utility of the convertible option. As designed, convertibles can be used in a variety of situations, including the tight quarters of aircraft travel.
If you need to do something quickly that will not require a keyboard, you can just pop out your machine and do it in tablet mode. The same also goes for watching videos or movies: why have a keyboard?
Despite differences from regular laptops, convertibles do run standard operating systems, either Windows 10 or the Chrome OS.
CPU, The Heart of the Machine
Core-based CPUs by Intel are a range of architectures with different levels of performance. Notebooks and entry-level machines usually employ Celeron or i3-based boards, which is more than enough for basic work, internet browsing, and viewing videos.
Mid-range consumer laptops typically come with i5 processors with either onboard GPUs or dedicated GPUs on the higher end. These processors represent the bulk of the current laptop market and can run the performance range from middling to high performance, depending on the clock speed and chip generation.
Premium laptops use Intel’s i7 architecture and cost quite a lot, but investing in an i7 machine means that it will be many years until the laptop starts to feel dated and sluggish. This is typically true for any processor chipset: the high-end versions, if well fed with RAM, will continue to be functional and fast even after several generations of chip design have passed.
These days, basic machines come with 8 GB of RAM for OS operation and running applications, however, if you are more of a power user, you should consider 16 GB minimum. Upgrading RAM these days is not all that expensive and most of the expense is in the laptop itself so. in for a penny, in for a pound.
Although you might be tempted to go with a much larger, much cheaper hard drive for storage, leave that option for any peripheral storage drives you intend to purchase later. Go for the SSD (solid-state drive).
There are no moving parts and nothing to bang around when you accidentally set your laptop down too firmly or bang on the table in a rage right after getting ganked by another player online (it’s happened to all of us, right?).
Right now, SSDs are more expensive and smaller than hard drives, but NVMe drives (Non-Volatile Memory Express) are coming out. Hard drives will dwindle away, SSD production volume will go up, and unit cost will go down.
The only way to really understand what battery life will be like for a given laptop is to consult independent reviews. These typically will involve some real-world tests that give you credible information on what you can expect.
Do not believe the horsepucky that manufacturers peddle regarding battery life. They will create the most ideal, low demand, low power situations possible to stretch that battery life to the maximum for better numbers.
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