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REVIEW: Dell Inspiron, A Powerhouse 13″ Notebook

The notebook market has become cluttered with several brands delivering small footprint notebooks, with “compact” becoming the new buzzword.

So, when Dell sent us their new Inspiron i5, 13″ 5310 notebook , I was a little sceptical about performance until I actually booted this machine up.

The first thing you notice is the high-quality 2560 X 1600 display, it’s bright and crisp and both text and images jump off the page.

I normally wear glasses when working with a small screen notebook, but I found I did not need to wear glasses with this 13″ notebook that weighs just 1.3 kilo.

And once you’ve got past the Microsoft blurb and their constant plugs to sign up for Office 365, Game pass or the downloading of their Microsoft Edge browser, and the automatic update of Windows 11 home you quickly realise that this device has a lot of power, due to the combination of an Intel Core i5-11300 processor and an Nvidia GeForce MX450 graphics card.

The notebook is housed in a sleek looking aluminium case that is very rigid due I suspect, to a solid chassis housing the main board.

Powered by the 35 W Core i5-11320H CPU which is midway between the typical 10 W to 25 W Core U options and the higher-performance 45 W Core H options found on the XPS 15 series and many gaming laptops this is ample power for most creative applications or when using Adobe Creative Suite of tools.

On board is 8GB of RAM.

Another notable feature is the model’s 16:10 aspect ratio compared to only 16:9 on most other notebooks.

The review model came with Windows 11 Home and I for one would be prepared to pay extra for the Pro version of Windows 11 because this machine when hooked up to a high-quality monitor is an ideal machine for gaming, creative editing of videos and graphic design projects.

I was able to easily pull up and edit a 100page plus version of SmartHouse Digital Magazine, while also accessing a suite of video editing tools.

On sale at JB Hi Fi for $1,699 this machine has a lot going for it apart from looks.

If you are after a bucket load of performance from a notebook you can’t go past this little powerhouse.

And as many people know Dell owns Alienware one of the world’s leading gaming brands.

When I opened up my Microsoft Game Pass account, I was able to play games and the audio via my attached Bluetooth headphones was as good as a larger gaming machine and so was the gaming experience.

While the response time was not as good as a top end gaming machine the performance was excellent for a 13” notebook.

In testing I got over 10 hours of battery life which is surprising considering the brightness of the powerful sRGB colour display.

Also on board is a HDMI port and USB C port making it ideal to connect to a monitor or a TV when doing PowerPoint presentations.

I am not a big fan of Geek tests, what I do is throw a product like this smack bang into a normal production day for me, authoring stories and reviews, accessing production apps such as Photoshop and InDesign and Office 365, and constantly being on Teams and conference calls.

And if I have time a big of gaming at the end of a busy day.

And if this is a good benchmark for the testing of a performance notebook this little beast passed with flying colours.

Missing is a pen or touch screen which is something I would like to see in this sized machine in the future. But despite the absence of these features this notebook is well worth the $1,600 investment.

Rating 9/10

Link to buy: JB Hi Fi 

Link to buy at The Good Guys

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