This Dell Inspiron is the fastest laptop you can buy under $300 — but that’s not even its best feature

Dell Inspiron 15 3525: Was $450 Now $300 at DellSave $150

Dell Inspiron 15 3525: Was $450 Now $300 at Dell
Save $150 I have never seen such a powerful laptop available for such a low price. This Dell Inspiron 1525 has a Ryzen 5 processor as well as a spacious 512GB SSD. It’s not perfect though with poor connectivity options and a smallish battery. However, it is still a fantastic purchase especially for entrepreneurs and small business on a shoestring budget. 

The Inspiron 15 3525 is almost certainly Dell’s most popular laptop range because it is its cheapest mainstream family and, right now, it is by far the most powerful laptop you can buy for less than $300 (a saving of $150), a new low for a non-refurbished Ryzen 5 laptop with free delivery. This model is versatile enough to be used by small businesses and individuals alike; making it a viable business laptop.

Its beating heart is the old-but-still-powerful 2021 AMD Ryzen 5 5500U with its six cores and 12 threads. Don't let its age betray its capabilities; it is faster than almost any 11th generation mobile Core i7 processors out there.

There’s one memory stick (8GB) and if you are adventurous enough, you should be able to upgrade it by yourself - your Dell warranty will still be valid. I love the fact that there’s an upgrade option for Windows 11 Pro but I wouldn’t choose for it because it is far too expensive*.

A 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD is a very welcome inclusion; you’d usually be lucky to get 128GB storage in this price range; getting 4X the space is a huge bonus. The screen is a 15.6-inch full HD VA (not IPS) display with a 250 nit brightness; large enough to see your spreadsheet in full but not bright enough for work outdoors. The keyboard is non-backlit and has a dedicated numeric keypad. 

The rest of the specification includes a 41WHr battery (which supports fast charging), 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, a SD card slot and a HD webcam. At 1.68Kg, it is not as heavy as one would expect, especially as its chassis is mostly plastic.

There’s also plenty of ports but I am disappointed that the HDMI 1.4 port is limited to full HD resolution, no 4K/2K. Also of note is the fact that there’s no fast USB ports on this laptop; for some reason Dell has two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (up to 5Gbps) and a single USB 2.0 connector (up to 480Mbps).

The best feature of this laptop is the 5,900 points cashback that you get when enrolling in the Dell Rewards program at the same time as you buy it. 5,900 points is $59 off your next purchase at Dell, something that no other vendors can match.

Don’t forget that you can also get two years of premium support for $49 (which includes international travel support) with accidental damage cover costing another $50 on top. A worth investment as it includes parental control, data backup and automated virus and malware removal.

* Dell needs to sort its Windows 11 Home to Windows 11 Pro pricing as other laptops can upgrade to the business version of Windows for as little as $60. The upgrade price on the 1525 stands at a ridiculous $210. Hard pass for me.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.