Windows 10 has inspired a number of manufacturers to create affordable Windows laptops that offer a viable alternative to Google’s Chromebooks. The new Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series is a great example. Its ultra-low price of £179 immediately grabbed our attention, as it’s cheap even compared with many Chromebooks.
The range’s bold colours are hard to miss, too. The model we reviewed came in an eye-catching shade of red, which extends beyond the glossy exterior case to the interior. Blue and white models are also available if red isn’t to your taste, but whichever one you pick, the coloured matt interior is complemented by a black screen bezel and a modern looking keyboard with flat, square keys that resemble dark Scrabble tiles.
It’s surprisingly well put together for a budget laptop. There’s an abundance of plastic, as you’d expect at this price, but it feels as if it would survive a few bumps and knocks in a backpack. We noticed quite a lot of flex in both the lid and the main body, though.
At 18.5mm thick and weighing around 1.2kg, it’s a practical size and weight to carry around without undue strain, but you might not want to work on it for long periods. The keys are a reasonable size, but the keyboard isn’t as comfortable to type on as others we’ve tested. It doesn’t offer much feedback when you press a key, which leads to the occasional missed keystroke. At least Dell has used a standard keyboard layout and hasn’t done anything crazy to fit it inside the small chassis.
The touchpad is a good size and precise enough, considering how small the laptop is. The integrated mouse buttons work well, and you can adjust the touchpad’s sensitivity using Dell’s own software. You can also configure multi-touch
gestures and the level of pressure required for each swipe to be registered, all of which worked well.
■ Dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3050 processor
■ 2GB of memory
■ 32GB eMMC storage (11GB free)
■ 11.6in screen
■ 1,366 x 768 pixels resolution
■ 1 x USB3, 1 x USB2 ports
■ microSD memory card reader
■ 802.11ac Wi-Fi
■ Windows 10 Home
■ 292 x 196 x 18.45mm
Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series