Lumpy but suggesting longevity, the Inspiron 15 7000 Series ought to survive as desktop replacement at home or the office. Powerful discrete graphics will please gamers and professionals, although the reflective screen and a trying trackpad knock points off usability. If you can live with these foibles, it’s good value.
The line that divides business and consumer laptops can be blurred today, and never more so than the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series. It has the no-nonsense square build of a business machine, sober black and conformist, yet Dell positions the new Inspiron for work or home.
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Note: This model has now been upgraded to a version with Nvidia’s new GTX 1050Ti. It costs £1049 from Amazon, but the old model is still on sale at Amazon and is over £100 cheaper.
Dell Inspiron 15 7559 review: price
You can buy the Inspiron 15 7559 from Dell’s website. The range is called the Inspiron 15 7000, and the base model costs £749. For that you get only a 1080p screen rather than the 4K panel on the £999 model reviewed here. You don’t get an SSD in addition to the 1TB hard drive, either, and only half of the 16GB of RAM. A middle-ground version has the 4K screen, but no SSD and only 8GB of RAM for £849.
Dell Inspiron 15 7559 review: Features and design
Underscoring its business credentials, it’s a sturdy lump of a laptop, weighing nearly 2.8kg, betraying almost no flex on its stiff noir chassis. Lifting it open is a physical effort, courtesy of stiff hinges and a chunky lid holding a 4K UHD display with thick glass touch-panel frontispiece. All that mass doesn’t prevent perennial lid wobble should you actually touch the screen, and an absence of an anti-reflective coating turns the screen into a 15.6in mirror outside darkened rooms.
The main processor is the latest quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ running at 2.6GHz, albeit with last-gen DDR3L memory from two 8GB sticks. More important to system responsiveness, the C: drive is a 128GB SSD. It’s budget Hynix SATA flash storage that’s complemented by a more sedate one-terabyte D: disk.
Some pro users demand powerful graphics if they’re running creative or scientific software that can reap the rewards of GPU acceleration. But we suspect the larger audience for Dell’s choice of Nvidia GTX 960M will be gamers who understand this discrete processor’s potential.
Overall build quality is very satisfactory, although the rubbery finish on lid and top deck easily picks up unsightly fingerprints. We found the keyboard particularly classy, precise and quiet, although the US layout on our sample meant a half-height Return key. The UK version should have the standard double-height key.
Less attractive was the noisy trackpad, reasonably accurate but with an annoying dull clunk evinced from every single finger tap. If you use the 7559 in a reference library, expect scathing looks.
Two internal fans is not unusual for quad-core 15in laptops but Dell fits three large air vents to secure ventilation (two exhaust to left, one inlet right). Following good business practice, the bottom panel is quickly removed to allow exchange of storage, memory, wireless card and battery service.
Dell Inspiron 15 7559 review: Performance
The new Skylake quad-core chip here beats an older chip at same frequency, a Haswell (fourth-generation) Core i7-4720HQ. Ok, so it beats it by only 2 percent or less in Geekbench (3577 and 12878 points compared to 3494 and 12801 from the Asus G501). PCMark 8 Home returned a great result of 3018 points using OpenCL acceleration; 2621 points without.
The Nvidia graphics propelled the Dell in gaming to 55fps for Batman: Arkham City at full-HD with all the stops out. Likewise Tomb Raider at Ultimate detail was possible, if now averaging only 34fps. You could even experiment with UHD resolution – we saw 27fps with Normal detail.
The touchscreen is an IPS panel for decent image quality. We measured contrast ratio at 500:1 and there’s 97 percent coverage of the sRGB standard. Battery life was a usable 5 hr 27 min streaming video wirelessly, if short for the large 74Wh battery.
Dell Inspiron 15 7559: Specs
- 15.6-inch (3840 x 2160) 282ppi IPS touchscreen, glossy finish
- Windows 10 Home
- 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ (3.5 GHz Turbo) 4 cores, 8 threads
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M with 4GB GDDR5 + Intel HD Graphics 530
- 16GB (2x 8GB) 1600MHz DDR3L RAM
- 128GB M.2 2280 SATA SSD (Hynix SC300) + 1TB 5400rpm SATA HDD (Seagate/Samsung ST1000LM024)
- 802.11ac 1×1 MIMO (Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165)
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 3x USB 3.0
- HDMI 1.4
- Kensington Security Slot
- SDXC card slot
- stereo speakers
- 0.9Mp webcam
- dual array mics
- 3.5mm headset jack
- US tiled keyboard with numberpad and white backlight
- buttonless trackpad, 105 x 90mm, (ELAN)
- 74Wh lithium-ion battery, non-removable
- 130 W mains charger with IEC C6 inlet
- 383 x 265 x 26.1mm (29.2mm inc feet)