Designed to be a desktop and portable replacement the Dell Inspiron 17r Special Edition is clearly meant to spend most of its time on your desk, but with the added advantage that when the need arises you can take it on the road with you. Even so, the laptop weighs in at 3.2kg and though that’s not exactly lightweight it is more than portable for those times when you need to be on the move.

This is a serious laptop with an incredible specification. The huge 17.3in screen makes this laptop a perfect replacement for a desktop machine. As well as the impressive size it’s full 1080p HD quality and is LED backlit for better overall image balance and quality. There’s a Blu-ray player in the two top-end models and all versions come with the ability to burn and Play DVDs. All models of the Inspiron 17r come with a powerful graphics card with a hefty 2GB of memory.

To match the screen the Dell has 3 Skullcandy speakers which includes a subwoofer to beef up the bass. There are four USB 3.0 ports and a standard Ethernet connection to match the Wireless 802.11n capability. There’s HDMI and VGA output allowing you to show your content on another screen and a digital memory card reader for all the most popular formats. As is standard these days there’s a webcam built in and you get the usual audio in and out jacks too. The 17r is available with an Intel Core i5 or i7 configuration giving speeds up to 3.4GHz and all that power is matched with 8GB of RAM and a roomy 1TB hard disk. There are two drive bays in the Dell too meaning you can install another hard disk to really push the storage capability up or use it for an SSD to get speedier performance.

The Core i7 processor is very speedy and for the everyday tasks you’ll notice that the Dell just powers through. Even with more demanding tasks the 17r has more than enough grunt to get the job done. With a 17.3in screen the Inspiron certainly stands out and in a good way, the sheer size of the display just seems huge at first and you can have multiple windows open all at once without everything feeling cramped. In addition when you do choose to dump the work and fire up a Blu-ray you get the benefit of a cinema-like experience at your desk.

The build quality is reassuringly sturdy and with its black anodised aluminium cover and palm rest the Dell certainly has a premium feel to it. This not only feels like a stylish and well-built laptop it looks like one too. The Scrabble-tile keyboard is well spaced and pleasing to type on and there’s a backlit option available for those who like their keys to light up. The screen really comes into its own when you’re watching movies, you can get completely immersed in the action and don’t have to sit squinting because of that 17.3in display. Viewing angles are good and no matter what task you’re performing the clarity of the screen is impressive.

Incredibly the Dell packs all this into a laptop that’s available from just £699 - this represents great value for money when you consider the power and features this laptop delivers. The 17.3in screen stands out and the performance of the Core i7 processor means that you can perform even the most intensive work on the go or in the office. It will also perform well as a family laptop being a useful entertainment system for the kids, but still with enough power to do the important tasks

There’s no doubt that the Dell has everything you could need from a desktop PC. Powerful enough to zip through even processor-intensive tasks and with plenty of graphics grunt to play the latest games.


The Inspiron 17R Special Edition is a hugely impressive laptop when you consider its price point and the specification you get for the money. This PC is well put together and has the kind of quality that will see it performing well as a family and work laptop that’s portable even with the enormous screen.