Apart from the weak networking options, the Inspiron 1564 is a great all-round machine that is packed with cutting-edge components
Powerful Core i3 CPU
Decent 3D performance
Limited network connectivity
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Dell has had an impressive track record over the past year, delivering one stunning consumer laptop after another. The Inspiron 1564 continues this run of success by implementing cutting-edge technology in this powerful and well-rounded machine.
Built around a processor from Intel's Core i3 range, this is among the most powerful entry-level laptops we've seen to date. Effortlessly outperforming all but the similarly specified Samsung R580, multi-tasking with even more demanding software is possible.
Despite using an integrated GPU – a graphics technology traditionally associated with limited power – Intel's latest onboard chip provides surprisingly powerful 3D performance, allowing high-definition (HD) video and even less demanding games to run with little effort.
The stunning 15.6-inch screen adds to the multimedia usability on offer. It is a very bright panel, and delivers fantastic colour reproduction and sharp images, ensuring movies, photos and games are shown with impressive clarity and vibrancy.
With such powerful performance on offer, we expected mobility to suffer as a result, but this wasn't the case. Running for an impressive 203 minutes under battery power, you can comfortably keep working away from mains power – made easier by the light 2.5kg chassis.
The stylish design of the previous Inspiron 15 range has remained relatively intact here, but Dell has added a faux brushed aluminium finish to the plastic interior. While it is a subtle touch, it creates a sleek, high-end look that belies this machine's comparatively low price tag.
The keyboard is another high point. While it lacks the backlighting of more expensive models, all keys are large, accurate and responsive, making it easy and comfortable to type over long periods. Unfortunately, network connectivity is more basic than we would have liked.
While some rivals provide high-speed wireless and fixed access, an older and slower technology is used here. Speeds will suit basic home use, but it is worth bearing in mind before buying.
More pleasingly, storage is excellent. The 500GB hard drive will hold all your family's data with ease. Comprehensive support for flash storage cards is also provided.
Continuing Dell's recent run of success, the Inspiron 1564 is an impressively powerful and portable machine. While its limited network connectivity is disappointing, it excels in all other areas, making it one of the best entry-level laptops we've seen this year.
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