Product: Dell Inspiron 1525 15.4" Hi-Def Widescreen LaptopManufacturer: DellMSRP: $799
as configured (Varies by configuration)Introduction
The Dell Inspiron 1525 Laptop is Dell's mid-range productivity laptop offering, with a standard 15.4" LCD that is the sweet spot for productivity as well as portability. It doesn't have the exciting design that the XPS series laptops have, but what it lacks in design it tries to make up with simplicity. Is the Inspiron 1525 the right laptop for your needs? Read on to see our take on this laptop.
Dell introduced the Inspiron 1525 hot on the heels of the bulky Inspiron 1520, which is one of the most dissatisfying Dells I have ever owned. The Inspiron 1520 was unbelievably bulky with the 9-cell battery at 6.4 lbs. The Inspiron 1525 slims down slightly to about 6.1 lbs (or 5.9 lbs with the 6-cell battery). The dimensions are also shrunk down, as the 1525 loses 9.4% depth, 12.6% width, and 5.5% thickness as compared to the 1520.SpecificationsIntel Core 2 Duo Processor T7250 2.00GHz
3574MB DDR2 Memory
Vista Home Premium 32-Bit
Seagate ST9160823ASG Momentus 7200.2 SATA 160GB Hard Drive
TS-L632H DVD+-RW Drive
Integrated 2.0 MegaPixel Webcam
Glossy 15.4" 1440 x 900 LCD Display
Integrated Ethernet & 802.11g Wireless
High Definition Audio 2.0
The Inspiron 1525 shares many similarities with the higher end XPS m1530, as you can see from the expansion port configuration comparison images below. The major differences are that the Inspiron 1525 has a standard tray-loading DVD drive (vs slot loading), an extra USB Port (4 total), and a 56k modem. The overall size is virtually identical to the m1530, which itself is considered to be a fairly slim laptop.
Because of the compact size, the USB ports are situated very close to other adjacent ports (as well as to each other). This may cause fitment problems if you have USB devices with a large plug-print.
An interesting design point for the Inspiron 1525 is how the touch pad seamlessly blends with the keyboard palm rest. There is no seam, just a smoothly beveled edge, which gives just the right feel so that you know where the edge of the touch pad is. I prefer this design over the hard edge on the XPS m1530.
One annoying aspect that became apparent during everyday use is that the multimedia control buttons are very hard to see. The labels are unpainted sections with LED lighting beneath. The problem is that when the LEDs aren't active (i.e. most of the time, since they activate only momentarily when you press the buttons), the labels nearly impossible to read in many lighting conditions. I suppose you'll have to memorize the layout.
In terms of visual appeal, the Inspiron 1525 seems rather bland. Yes, Dell gives you an array of color options for the lid, but other than that it is a very utilitarian design. Don't count on your friends being impressed by this computer.
Because it doesn't have a dedicated graphics solution (it uses the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 chipset), the Inspiron 1525 will not satisfy performance gamers. This is reflected in the Vista Experience graphics rating of 3.4, which can be compared to previously reviewed XPS m1530 with the 8600m GT video card clocking in at 5.9 on the same benchmark.
The SuperPI calculation (to 1 million digits) took 30 seconds, as compared to 18 seconds on the XPS m1530. The raw number crunching capability is clearly not robust enough to give this laptop front-runner status. However, on a less quantitative note, this laptop was able to handle older 3D games (a la UT 2004) at a decent clip.
Under general office operations & web surfing using wireless, the Dell Recommended power setting gives a battery life of about 4 hours (with the 9 cell battery). Going to Power Saver mode enhances the battery life to just under 5 hours. As with all laptops, the screen is one of the main power hogs, so keeping the brightness setting as low as acceptable will help the battery life. Overall, the Inspiron 1525 in conjunction with the 9-Cell Battery has excellent battery life. It should be enough to get a good chunk of work done while you're away from the power socket.
My overall impression is that the Inspiron 1525 Laptop is a utilitarian piece of machinery. It has a very neutral design overall, leaving me with a lack of excitement when faced with the prospect of owning one. Performance is middle of the road, as is the price, which will appeal to budget conscious customers who want a simple laptop. The battery life with the 9-cell battery option is outstanding, and should be suitable for taking notes through a day of meetings or lectures, or just playing solitaire.