A 1TB 5,200rpm hard drive provides plenty of storage—that’s twice as much as on the Inspiron 17. Port offerings are solid. On the left edge are an Ethernet port, an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port, and an SD card slot. On the right, there’s a DVD drive, two USB 2.0 ports, and a headset jack. The laptop integrates Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band 802.11ac wireless. Dell supports the Inspiron 15 with a limited one-year warranty.Performance
Equipped with a 2.1GHz Intel Core i3-5015U processor, 6GB of memory, and integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400, performance was what you’d expect in a budget system: not super fast, but without noticeable hang-ups or freezes. The laptop scored 2,472 points on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional test, which measure productivity. This is better than the Inspiron 17 5000 Series (2,097) and the Aspire One Cloudbook 14 (1,561). It also performed better than the competition on multimedia tests, shaving whole minutes off of the Photoshop and Handbrake tests in comparison. As I experienced during anecdotal testing, these results mean it can handle day-to-day tasks without causing you frustration.As you can guess by the price, the Inspiron 15 isn’t too well suited to gaming, though it did fare better than many other budget laptops. Performance with 3D was okay for the category, but the Heaven and Valley gaming tests returned 17 frames per second (fps) at best on medium quality settings, while 30fps is considered smooth. You could turn down the settings on some less-demanding games to get playable frame rates, but that’s about the best you can hope for. If that does appeal to you, the Inspiron 17 5000 Series and Cloudbook couldn’t crack 10fps, so you’ll have more luck with this system.
Finally, the Inspiron 15 (3558)’s battery life was good; it lasted 8 hours, 44 minutes, on our rundown test. That’s a lot longer than the Inspiron 17’s time of 5:20, which is shorter due mainly to its larger, higher-resolution (and thus more power-hungry) screen. The Aspire Cloudbook had both Inspirons handily beat with a time of 13:59.ConclusionThe Inspiron 15 (3558) is a fully functional, well-made laptop with good speed and a low price point. It’s not packed with features and keeps things simple, but for $329, it’s not missing anything essential. Its newer processor provides a noticeable bump up in performance over the Dell Inspiron 17 5000 Series Non-Touch’s CPU, and it boasts superior battery life and double the storage. You’re getting a smaller screen, but that’s really the only downside, and increased portability may be preferable to some. For these reasons, the Dell Inspiron 15 (3558) is our new Editors’ Choice budget desktop-replacement laptop. For a smaller and less expensive alternative, the $180 Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series (3162) is well worth a look.