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Hands-on review: Dell Inspiron 7548 notebook

14 Aug 2015

The Dell Inspiron 7548 is style served on a silver platter. An aluminium body holds its 15.6" 4K touchscreen display, with Intel HD graphics and crisp resolution. This screen beautifully complements its Intel Core i7-5500cpu, 2.40GHz processor alongside 1TB storage and 8GB RAM.

I decided to test the Inspiron 7548's processing power and graphics by making an hour-long video from 1080p footage. Despite the loud buzz of the fan, the computer processed the individual video files with no lags in graphics or processing. The final rendering took one hour: one minute rendering time for every one minute of video. The results were fantastic, proving that this notebook is more than capable of handling demanding tasks well.

The Waves MaxxAudio Pro software can enhance the audio quality. It's better than what many other notebooks provide, but I still recommend external speakers. There's an internal microphone and also a headphone port but if you want to run an external microphone and headphone simultaneously, a headset is essential.

Dell seems to be an early adopter of the 4K screen hardware resolution, and we're still waiting for software developers to catch up. The screen is fantastic but some software hasn't yet been optimised for such a high resolution.  It's a quick fix: all you need to do is lower the resolution settings and the problem is solved. I'd love to see Dell attempt to match its hardware to its graphics, because every pixel on the "HD" webcam is captured by the 4K screen. Footage is clear and presentable, but a better webcam would really sell this notebook, particularly for business use and video conferencing.

The glossy touchscreen responds immediately to touch and swipe. A stylus pen could be ideal to make the most of the finer details, but the large touchpad is more than capable of achieving the same goals. The notebook would benefit from a bigger keyboard and a smaller touchpad, as the keyboard is minimalistic and set quite far in. The backlit keyboard is a great attention to detail so you can easily type in the dark. 

Dell opted for an internal lithium battery in this notebook. At full screen brightness, it lasted for 3 hours during word processing, emailing and web surfing. It lasted 2 hours 30 minutes during video editing and processing, due to heavy CPU demand. The lowest brightness setting extended the battery life to almost 6 hours at low usage. Although you can't carry a spare battery for easy replacement on-the-go, the power adapter easily fits in a laptop bag so you can top up your charges. 

I expected a machine with power and Dell delivered exactly that. The Inspiron 7548 is powerful, fast, slim and sleek. It's a perfect standalone notebook that could also be enhanced with accessories like a stylus and external speakers. This notebook will work well in offices, homes, learning environments  and anywhere you need reliability and the long-standing quality of a Dell.  

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