Budget laptop aimed at students
Regulars here know I have a soft spot for small notebooks so I was anxious to try out Dell’s new 11 inch offering even though it is aimed at a much younger demographic than my senior citizen status.
Out of the box, the Inspiron 11 3000 series 2-in-1 is a nice looking little notebook that shows it’s Inspiron bloodline. The big difference here is a 360 degree hinge design that means that you can flip the device between laptop, easel, tent, and tablet configurations:
- Tablet mode: A 360-degree hinge design lets you flip the keyboard around and lay it flat on your lap to surf social media, swipe through photos or pull up your playlists.
- Tablet stand mode: Transition the tablet to an upright position so you can play games, scroll through songs, watch movies or follow your favorite recipes while you cook.
- Tent mode: Watch the news, the game or catch up on your shows with your Inspiron 11 in a hands-free easel position that supports full touch interaction.
- Laptop mode: With a full-sized keyboard, you can chat with friends, reply to emails faster, update family budget spreadsheets or knock out school projects.
It is about an inch thick and weighs 1.39kg so it is likely to see more use as a laptop and occasional tablet. Specs clearly show this laptop is aimed at students on a budget..a 500Gb hard drive and 4Gb of memory powered by a choice of Intel® Celeron or Pentium Quad Core processors is most suited for surfing the web, writing a paper or keeping up with email; don’t expect anything more than casual gaming from this little gem.
I am writing this blog on the Inspiron 11 3000; my test unit is equipped with the more powerful Pentium quad-core CPU @ 2.16GHz and I found it to be surprisingly snappy for surfing the web and checking email. Microsoft Word loaded a bit slower than I am used to but once running it performed well. It was the same with the other elements of Office. The 11.6 inch LED Backlit Touch Display with Wide-Angle Viewing (IPS) and HD resolution (1366 X 768) is bright and sharp.
I really liked the keyboard. the size is right and the keys are nicely spaced with a nice feel for touch typing and they are spill resistant. A backlight would be nice but that would be asking for a lot from a budget laptop. I can’t say too much about the very large touchpad..it is great. Dell seems to be the only PC builder able to build touchpads as good as Apple.
This is a great little laptop for the student just heading off to high school, it is perky enough to handle any tasks he/she will face, solidly built to take a beating in the backpack and nicely priced starting at $450. Personally I would spend the extra 50 bucks to get the Pentium processor you will give up a bit of battery life in return for a nice performance boost. I was able to get just under 7 hours intermittent use on a charge so it will certainly last a full school day as well time left over for homework.
The Inspiron 11 3000 series 2-in-1 is available from Dell at $450 with a Celeron processor and $500 for the faster Pentium. I would go for the Pentium.