Dell Inspiron N5030 Review

I don’t usually post reviews, however I recently acquired a new Dell Inspiron N5030 laptop computer. As there doesn’t appear to be much information on this product, I thought I’d write a small review.

1. Build Quality

The build quality of the Dell Inspiron N5030 is actually very good, considering I picked up the device for £280 excluding VAT direct from the Dell website. It is comprised of a black plastic ABS enclosure with a matt black finish for both the top of the screens lid and the surface area around the keyboard and the screen itself. The case is also complimented by a “3D” pattern design which I found quite smart and makes the device slightly unique compared to other laptops in the Dell range. The device feels good enough quality survive being dropped, without it breaking into pieces, unlike the much more expensive Dell XPS Studio 1340 I also own.

2. Technical Specification

As this is Dell’s entry level laptop the technical specification isn’t the world’s greatest, but I think it is very reasonable for the £280 price tag. The late 2010 model contains the following hardware specification:

Intel Celeron 900(2.20GHz,800MHz,1MB)
2048MB 1333MHz Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM [1×2048]
250GB (5,400rpm) Serial ATA Hard Drive
Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 4500MHD
DVD +/- RW Drive (read/write CD & DVD)
15.6″ High Definition (1366×768) WLED Display with TrueLife

When running a Windows Experience Index on a 64-bit installation of Windows 7 Enterprise the Dell Inspiron N5030 produced the following results:

Overall a score of 3.4 isn’t that bad for the most basic Dell laptop, with it’s Intel Integrated Graphics being the lowest determining score. If you looking for a gaming laptop however, then this device is certainly not for you, as it’s on-board graphics simply do not provide the performance required for latest generation games. On a another note, the Intel Integrated Graphics do display Windows 7 with full aero functionality, meaning you get all the nice glass and aero peek features.

It is also worth nothing that upgrading the laptops memory from 2GB to 4GB can be achieved by purchasing an additional 2GB SO-DIMM from a supplier such as Crucial, their handy system scanner correctly identifies and suggests memory upgrades the N5030. At the time of writing, an additioal 2GB memory module is only £19.96. The laptop itself unfortunately does not contain a traditional memory door on the base of the unit, to install additional memory the keyboard must be removed to reveal the on-board DIMMS’s and details on how to perform this are located within it’s user manual.

3. Connectivity & Input Types

Connectivity types on the N5030 are basic, as you would expect. The laptop contains three USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port and a 100MB Ethernet port. It is also worth noting, that all of these connections are situated on the left hand side of the laptop. Due the cases design there are no connectivity ports located on the back of the laptop, so if you looking to place this on a desk and have Ethernet, power and USB connections coming from the rear, this may not be for you.

The N5030 also contains a basic two button trackpad, which looks and feels nice. I have noticed however, that when using the trackpad to either single or double click, opposed to using the dedicated buttons, it does need a fairly heavy tap to register an action. Also when moving the cursor around with the trackpad you need to apply a little pressure, overall it isn’t the most touch sensitive I’ve used, but you get what you pay for!

Also hidden away in the laptop’s screen is a 0.3 (you read that correctly) megapixel camera, suffice to say it is low quality and unless used in very good light the frame rate generated by the camera is low, giving the user a “slow motion” experience.

4. Other

Other things to mention are that the 6-Cell battery life is generally very good, when using wireless connectivity I am achieving two and half to three hours of use. Wireless connectivity is also of a good quality with the laptop containing a Atheros 802.11n WiFi module which I haven’t experienced any issues with. The quality of the WLED with TrueLife display is also very good, and the brightness can be adjusted to quite a high ratio. The only pitfall of the screen is that it is very susceptible to light reflection.

5. Overall

Overall the Dell Inspiron N5030 is a great entry level laptop. I would recommend the laptop is geared towards casual users, looking for something to perhaps do word processing on and/or browse the Internet. The laptop however would prove a disappointment if purchased for gaming or any overly CPU intensive applications due to it’s basic hardware specification.