By Tech Powered Dad | September 3, 2015
A few weeks ago, I had a bad experience with a member of the Lenovo Yoga 3 family. That left me on the verge of considering my first ever Mac for home use. After pricing Macs, I doubled down instead a picked up a Dell Inspiron I7352-3111SLV from BestBuy.com. As is often the case when I get my hands on a new electronics product, I thought I’d do a review of this PC for Tech Powered Math.
Why I Went with the Dell I7352-3111SLV
First, I wanted a 2-in-1. I have messed around with my Dell Venue 8 Pro enough over the last couple of years to know that I like using a touch screen with my operating system, and while Windows 8 was imperfect, my hope was that Windows 10 would be a big improvement on the concept (and so far it seems to be). I like the idea of being able to fold my laptop into a tablet when I’m curled up in front of the TV, or being able to fold it up and use it as my TV. While there are a lot of touch screen laptops available, there are not as many that fold into tablets as I would have thought, and the Dell I7352-3111SLV fit the bill.
That said, I wanted a PC that was relatively lightweight and small, or the scenarios I just described would be negated. During my brief time with the Yoga 3, I found that 11.6″ was a little bit too small for my liking, but so far I’m finding the Dell’s 13.3″ screen to hit the mark precisely for my needs and provide a nice keyboard as well. At 3.66 pounds, you won’t confuse it with a MacBook Air, but it’s still considerably lighter than my old PC or a MacBook Pro, and I’m good with this weight.
I also try to keep the price down when PC shopping. I went with the core i5 model. I didn’t feel that I needed the horsepower of the i7 or the larger hard drive it comes with, and I knew I was going to upgrade the hard drive anyway (I haven’t done a lot of heavy lifting with my PC yet, but so far the i5 model has met my expectations with snappy performance). I’ve seen some price fluctuations there, but Best Buy usually seems to have it around $800 and occasionally cheaper. That was a good enough price that I felt comfortable doing an upgrade–more on that later.
Additional Things I Like
The I7352-3111SLV is also a sharp looking PC. It’s got a thin rubber layer covering its mostly metal body. The screen is bright and easy to see. It also has a backlit keyboard, something that I’ve come to appreciate while working late into the night, which has a really nice responsiveness when typing. Battery life has also been excellent for me. I haven’t done any official tests, but I haven’t had to recharge in the middle of a day yet.
Part of the reason that the I7352-3111SLV is cheaper is that it comes with an HDD rather than an SSD (Solid State Drive). However, at its lower price point, I was comfortable paying a little extra for an 500 GB SSD that I picked up on Amazon. I was a little nervous about making this upgrade, but it turns out that Dell made it very easy for a lay person like me to dissemble the PC, remove the hard drive and replace it.
Kudos to Dell for installing very little bloatware along with Windows 10. While it doesn’t seem like I should have to give a PC manufacturer credit for limiting the junk that I have to uninstall, it’s pretty clear that is the norm nowadays, so thanks, Dell. Another small touch that I appreciate: the memory card slot is deep enough to accept the card so that it doesn’t protrude at all. I wish all laptops were like this, and it is very frustrating when they don’t.
A Few Weaknesses
Smudges seem inevitable.
All is not perfect with the Dell I7352-3111SLV. While I like the look of the rubberized surface, and it seems less susceptible to scratches, it does pick up smudges really easily, and they don’t wipe away nearly as easily as they are picked up.
Additionally, while the overall construction of the I7352-3111SLV feels very solid, there are a couple of issues I have with that fold back display. First, it really does not fold perfectly flat like a Lenovo Yoga. There always seems to be a slight gap as it doesn’t seem to be designed to lock into place. Second, the display itself, is a bit “spongy.” There’s just a bit of give in it if you press on it when it is closed up that’s a little unpleasant.
The display wont lay flat in tablet mode.
Bottom Line Dell I7352-3111SLV Review
While this model is not without its flaws, I am more than satisfied with my purchase and consider it a very good value for the money. Generally, the construction feels solid, the Windows 10 installation came without a lot of bloatware, it’s lightweight, and looks sharp. I would recommend it as a solid alternative to pricier options. It’s going to be my PC for the next few years.
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