Affordable laptops usually conjure up memories of overly slow netbooks or notebooks that run alternative operating systems to Windows, such as UBUNTU Linux and Chromebooks. However, with the Windows 10-running Inspiron 11 3000, Dell is catering to the demands of students and employees who do not require powerful notebooks, since they will be using it for web browsing, email, basic office productivity, and consuming multimedia.
Although the Inspiron 11 3000 is a budget laptop, it does feel solidly put together and features an eye-catching Bali blue glossy plastic lid with nicely rounded corners. Thanks to being a mere 18.45mm thick and weighing in at less than 1.2 kg, carrying the notebook around in a laptop bag for an extended period does not cause undue strain.
On the topic of comfort, the typing experience on the Inspiron’s chiclet keys is adequate thanks to the keys being reasonably sized. The compact trackpad is sensitive, making it quite responsive, but it is not the smoothest to use since it can occasionally play up by sticking.
Powering the Inspiron 11 3000 is an Intel Celeron N3050 Processor clocked at 1.6 GHz that is coupled with just 2 GB of RAM, which is about par for the course in this price range. Performance was surprisingly decent for basic tasks such as Microsoft Office applications, browsing the web, light photo editing using GIMP, email and watching series and movies. These specs mean that the Inspiron 11 3000 will struggle with more demanding tasks such as video editing though.
We managed to watch six episodes of Billions before being forced to reach for the charger, with the laptop delivering a reasonable five and a half hours’ worth of video playback time and lasted the whole working day when we used it for light productivity tasks like viewing and editing documents and doing research online.
The Inspiron’s 11.6″ HD (1366 x 768) Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display is perfectly usable indoors, but is still prone to glare and reflections outdoors and does not boast the best viewing angles we have ever come across. We liked the audio experienced delivered by this notebook’s speakers, as the sound was loud and remained clear as the volume increased – no doubt thanks to the audio processing by Waves MaxxAudio Pro.
In terms of ports, there is a USB 3.0 port onboard enabling fast data transfers to an external storage device, along with a USB 2.0 port, HDMI connection, and Micro SD Card Reader that can accommodate SD, SDHC and SDXC cards.
Overall, the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 offers enough performance bang for its buck at a recommended retail price of R4499, and additionally packs some added good looks and a good audio experience to stand out from the rest of the affordable laptop crop.