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Dell Inspiron 17R 5737 Corei7-4500U/8G/1TB/ WIN7

 

 

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Review Dell Inspiron 17R-5737 Notebook

 

Powered by AMD. The top version of the Inspiron 17R is equipped with the rare Radeon HD 8870M. How well does the DirectX 11 chip harmonize with a ULV processor and is the performance high-end or average? Our review gives the answers.

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For the original German review, see here.

The Inspiron 17R is primarily intended for price-conscious multimedia fans. The combination of a frugal dual-core CPU and a powerful graphics card covers a wide range of applications and promises good battery runtimes as well as moderate energy consumption.

There are currently three models on Dell's homepage, starting from 649 up to 849 Euros (~$885 up to ~$1158). While the GPU, the hard drive, the optical drive and the wireless adaptor are identical, there are differences in the other hardware components. The cheapest version uses a Core i5-4200U (1.6-2.6 GHz) and a glossy HD+ screen (1600x900 pixels).

For around 70 Euros (~$95) more you do not get a better display, but a faster processor. The Core i7-4500U runs with 1.8-3.0 GHz under load, which is on a decent level. 

Our review unit is the top version for 849 Euros (~$1158). Dell not only tries to justify the additional charge with twice the amount of memory (16 vs. 8 GB DDR3 RAM), but also with an anti-reflective Full HD display.

Model   
Processor Core i5-4200U Core i7-4500U Core i7-4500U
GPU Radeon HD 8870M Radeon HD 8870M Radeon HD 8870M
Memory 8 GB DDR3 8 GB DDR3 16 GB DDR3
Storage 1,000 GB HDD 1,000 GB HDD 1,000 GB HDD
opt. drive DVD burner DVD burner DVD burner
Display 1600x900 glare 1600x900 glare 1920x1080 non-glare
Operating system Windows 8 64-bit Windows 8 64-bit Windows 8 64-bit
Price 649 Euros (~$885) 719 Euros (~$980) 849 Euros (~$1158)

Case

Brushed aluminum
Brushed aluminum

The chassis did not change since the last generation. Dell deserves praise for the nice metal surfaces that cover the lid and the palm rest. Aluminum is not a matter of course for devices below 1,000 Euros (~$1364).

However, the case is not completely made out of high-quality metal to keep the costs down. Besides the bottom, the outer frame of the notebook is also only made of plastic. Dirt is not really a problem thanks to the bright color scheme and the matte finish, only the glossy keyboard frame attracts fingerprints and dust particles.

There is also not much criticism with the design. The style of the Inspiron 17R is individual yet suitable for the masses and should work for the majority of users. One exception is the battery compartment, which sticks out at the top of the chassis. The thick curvature between the hinges is not really appealing. The 17-inch device is pretty good in terms of stability, but you can dent the area around the optical drive.

We could also find small imperfections in regard to the build quality. Our review unit had some slightly imprecise material transitions and gaps, wobbly touchpad buttons and some creaking sounds (strong pressure in the area of the DVD burner). We can also see the background illumination through the corners of the display frame, which should not be the case. The overall quality is, however, solid and comparable to many rivals; many of the mentioned weaknesses can only be seen with a closer inspection.

Connectivity

Ports

Besides four USB ports (2x USB 3.0), the port variety is pretty meager. eSATA or FireWire ports are missing, just like a DisplayPort or a VGA-out respectively. You just get the standard ports with HDMI and a Kensington lock. A positive aspect is the integrated card reader at the front that, according to the manufacturer, supports eight formats (see specs on the right).

A problem is the pretty aged Fast-Ethernet port; a Gigabit port should really be standard in 2014. It also does not improve the rating that Dell integrates a combined stereo jack.

Apropos suboptimal: The port layout is designed for right-handers and will scare off users who try to use a mouse on the left side of the case. Many attached cables can really affect the handling.

Wireless Communication

The wireless adaptor has the designation Dell Wireless 1705. Besides the usual WLAN standards 802.11 b/g/n it also supports Bluetooth 4.0. The range was decent in our test but not overwhelming. The notebook had 1-3 bars with a distance of around 15 meters and through several walls. The majority of rivals perform similar in such a scenario.

Left side: AC power, HDMI, Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, audio
Left side: AC power, HDMI, Ethernet, 2x USB 3.0, USB 2.0, audio
Front: Multi-in-1 card reader
Front: Multi-in-1 card reader
Right side: USB 2.0, optical drive, Kensington lock
Right side: USB 2.0, optical drive, Kensington lock

Maintenance

Maintainability of the 17R is limited. Removing the maintenance cover (two screws) gives you access to the 2.5-inch bay and the two memory slots. Fan, GPU, processor and wireless module require additional dismantling.

Preloaded software
Preloaded software

Software

Dell is able to keep a good balance between scope and unnecessary bloatware in regard to the preloaded applications. Almost everything could be deemed useful if you ignore the Amazon app. Among others you get a trial version of Microsoft Office 365 and McAfee Internet Security; Windows Essentials 2012 and a Media Suite from CyberLink are also available. 

This set of applications is complemented by several tools from the manufacturer, for instance My Dell with many settings or a backup and recovery application for the system. You can also delete them if you do not use them to save some storage. The notebook reacts rather sluggishly right after the boot.

Accessories

The number of provided accessories is not really generous. Similar to most companies, Dell only puts a quick-start guide and some information brochures (warranty information, security information, etc.) in the box. Recovery and driver DVDs are not included.

Warranty

The Internet shop Notebooksbilliger.de, which supplied our review unit, specifies the warranty with 24 months. If you order the Inspiron 17R directly from the manufacturer's website, you can replace the one-year carry-in and repair service (Limited Support) with a 12- to 48-month on-site service (Premium Support). The according upgrade comes with an additional charge between 69 and 249 Euros (~$94 and ~$339).

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