The Dell Inspiron 15 3000 3542 is a brand new affordable 15.6″ notebook series. It’s targeted at home users, students and alike. The 15 3000 is characterized by 1″ thin and elegant square-shaped design with matte black surfaces and chiclet-style keyboard keys. The 3542 models are based on Intel’s computing technology, as opposed to the AMD-powered 15 3000 3541.
Processor choices of the 3542 available on Dell’s official web store are the Intel Celeron 2957U as the most basic option and the Intel Core i3-4010U as a mid-range solution. The laptop should be also available with the more powerful Core i5 and i7 chips. In fact, it is available with the i5, but in models sold through retailers. The 1366×768-pixel display is powered by graphics processors integrated in the main CPUs. These are the Intel HD series on the Celeron and HD 4400 on the Core parts. The latter is much better for gaming, although it isn’t a gaming solution at all. Optionally, Dell’s 3542 will also ship with the dedicated Nvidia GeForce 820M and 840M, bringing more graphics oomph but still not entering gaming category. Touchscreen is optional. Traditional input is provided via a spacious keyboard with numeric pad and trackpad with integrated mouse buttons. The keyboard is spill-resistant, according to the manufacturer. That’s a rare feature in budget laptops. In the official documentation, Dell says the 3542 is optionally offered with keyboard backlight, but we weren’t able to find that option anywhere. Hopefully, it will be available at a later date. Keyboard backlight is a pretty much unique feature in the budget-class segment, too.
RAM memory size can be either 4GB or 8GB. The laptop has only one SODIMM memory slot, so upgrading to 12 or 16 Gigabytes won’t be possible. Hard drive space is 500GB, but other sizes should be also available in the future. Thankfully, there’s a removable panel on the bottom of the laptop, so you can access RAM and HDD for upgrades. The battery has a capacity of 40 WHr and is removable, too. This flexibility regarding removable parts is rarely seen on the modern thin laptops and is a major plus for the Inspiron 15 3000.
The notebook has a DVD burner built-in. Speakers with power of 2 x 2 Watts (quite satisfactory power for laptop-use speakers) are located on the front edge of the laptop. Normally, the webcam is on the top of the LCD panel. The left side houses the power connector, HDMI, Ethernet LAN, two USB ports, and a combo audio mic/headphone jack. Besides the DVD drive, on the right side there’s one more USB and a media card reader. Wireless communication is enabled via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The whole machine weighs 5.3 pounds for the non-touch and 5.5 pounds for touch-enabled variant.
UPDATE: A newer version of the notebook, with the latest Intel Broadwell processors, is available now. It’s the Inspiron 15 3000 3543.