March 18, 2013
- Attractive design
- Good-looking display & wide viewing angles
- Comfortable keyboard
- Good performance for the money
- Below average graphics performance
The Dell Inspiron 17-3721 is a budget-priced Windows 8 laptop that offers an attractive 17-inch display, good performance and a comfortable keyboard. It does have below average graphics performance, but this isn't really meant to be a gaming notebook.
The design of the Inspiron 17 doesn't look cheap much to our liking. It has a geometric pattern on the lid and the keyboard deck, which looks really nice overall. It measures 16.2 x 10.6 x 1.2-inches (wdh) and weighs 6-pounds, which is actually rather thin considering it does have an optical disc drive.
Dell includes a large keyboard with a numeric keypad to the right. The island-style keyboard offers good feedback with only a little noticeable flexing. Our only major complaint was the undersized keyboard, but other than that, it was very comfortable overall. The touch pad was large in size and offered a nice frictionless surface. Multitouch gestures were easy to perform and had enough space for our needs. The discrete mouse buttons had a good click to them and worked well.
We were surprised to see the 17.3-inch display had a resolution of 1600 x 900-pixels, which is slightly more than the 1366 x 768-pixel resolution seen on other budget 17-inch laptops. Overall, the quality of the display was quite good for a budget laptop and the viewing angles were very wide in comparison. Watching streaming HD movies on this display yielded good results and good color depth and accuracy.
For ports, the Dell Inspiron 17-3721 offers two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, Ethernet, a headphone/microphone combo jack and a 6-in-1 memory card reader. In addition to that, there's also a DVD+/-RW optical drive and integrated 802.11n wireless connectivity.
This laptop comes with an Intel Core i3-3227U (1.9GHz) CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. A PCMark 7 benchmark returned a score of 2,220, which is better than AMD-powered similar laptops but about half the score compared to the desktop replacement category. However, for the money, the performance this laptop offers is definitely more than what we expected.
Graphics performance with the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics is more than enough for watching HD content but will not allow you to play any 3D gaming. Despite having a large display, this laptop isn't made for any intense gaming at all.
Battery life clocks in at a little over 4-hours, which is about average compared to other 17-inch Windows 8 laptops.
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