The DELL Inspiron 14 5000 – 5455 Gets Tested

INTRODUCTION:

DELL & AMD invites us to take a look at the Inspiron 14 5000 Series notebook – featuring a Quad Core AMD APU with a built in Radeon Graphics Processing Unit. The Inspiron Series is actually a mobile platform that targets entry-level to mid-range consumers, and with a Quad AMD APU this might be worth looking into if you are looking for a budget friendly yet capable solution below 600 USD or 30K Pesos.

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The 14 in the model name stands for 14 Inches, and that’s already a good enough screen space to deal with most of the time – especially if you’re dealing with Windows 10 and its improved application scaling feature. Main specifications are the following: You’ll get an AMD A8-7410 Quad-Core APU @ 2.2 GHz, a Radeon R5 M335 Graphics with 2 GB of frame buffer, 4 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3L RAM, a gloss panel with 1366 x 768 resolution LED display, 1 TB of storage and a Windows 8.1 Operating System. Of course, the system specification may vary depending on the region and the customer’s needs. There’s also a touch enabled panel for the Series as well.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS: CLICK HERE

The specifications for our exact model isn’t bad – as I’m actually excited to see what the AMD A8-7410 APU has to offer along with the Radeon R5 M335 Graphics. The architecture’s code name is Carrizo-L, which means the A8-7410 is a SoC APU. The Carrizo-L is based on AMD’s 28nm process, and has an integrated Radeon R5 GPU along with support for single channel DDR3L memory @ 1866 MHz maximum frequency. AMD’s Carizzo-L has been released earlier last 2015 and most manufacturers are still using the architecture through their line-up.

PROCESSOR AMD A8-7410 Quad-Core APU
OS Windows® 8.1 64 bit
MEMORY 4 GB Single Channel DDR3L 1600 MHz
GRAPHICS AMD RadeonTM R5 M335 Graphics
DISPLAY LED Backlit Display with Truelife HD (1366 x 768)
AUDIO 2 tuned speakers with Waves MaxxAudio
STORAGE 1 TB3 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
POWER 40 WHr, 4-Cell Battery (removable) / 65W Charger
DIMENSIONS 0.92” (23.35mm) / 13.58” (345mm) / 9.57” (243mm)
WEIGHT 1.85 Kilograms

Major specifications stays true to the standards that AMD’s Carrizo-L, and from the looks of it, DELL is geared up to match Intel’s budget contender – the Intel Bay Trail Family of CPUs. Both processing units will be playing on the same ball park, with the Carrizo L being a faster option generally and should compete with the lower end Intel Core Series as well. This notebook is known in the APAC as the DELL Inspiron 14 5455. On other parts of the globe, the Inspiron 14 5000 should suffice.

[nextpage title=”Design, Layout, & Bundles”]

BUNDLED ACCESSORIES:

There isn’t much of a bundle to talk with in the first place with the Inspiron 14 5000 from DELL as we only got some paper works, a 65W power brick and an extension cord with 3 prongs. That’s just about it. Depending on where you’ll buy it, you might end up with a mouse, or even a carrying bag, as usual from various re-sellers.

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THE DELL INSPIRON 14 5000:

The Inspiron 14 is a 14 Incher, budget oriented notebook. It’s nowhere near as fancy as any higher tier notebooks out there, but it is well built and is actually pretty nice to look at with those curves and contrast between the textured plastic and glossy piano black finished borders. This is however, not a light notebook despite DELL’s claim. Weighing in at around 2 kg sure is nothing light and easy to transport for a general purpose notebook. Still, way lighter than the ACER Aspire E5 we reviewed ages ago. The Inspiron 14 is also available in a classic DELL Black & Silver styling.Dell-Inspiron-14-5000-Images-3

The display is a gloss panel which means it isn’t recommended to be used outside. Though LED backlit for power efficiency, the display is a TN panel only, and nowhere near any IPS panel’s color accuracy. They are better than most TN based notebooks I have tried though, and performed reasonably well. Screen resolution is at 1366 x 768. Maximum refresh rate is 60 Hz while response time is yet to be known.

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The hinge mechanism is fairly simple, and never touches the base or the ground when it’s fully adjusted which is always reassuring. The notebook sits at around 2 cm high from both ends and at around 2.5 cm when the lid is closed.

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Along the left side of the notebook lies the Power Jack, a LAN port, an HDMi port for an external display, a USB 3.0 port and an SD Card adapter. The ventilation holes for the internal cooler also sits here as well.

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On the other side lies the additional USB ports, a combo audio input jack, a Kensington lock and a Tray Load DVD reader. Nothing extravagant here and we just wished DELL opted for 3x USB 3.0 ports instead of 2x USB 2.0 standard ports and a single USB 3.0 port.

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The battery is your standard issued DELL 40Wh Li-Ion Battery rated at 14.8v which is 2702 mAh when converted. We shall check out later if this pack is enough for daily use.

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The DELL Inspiron 14 is a budget notebook, yet it features great build quality and an adequate amount of connectivity options. Speaking of options, the Inspiron 14 5000 model we got here is still upgrade-able with a room to spare for an additional DDR3L SO-DIMM, easy to replace SATA drive, and even a replace-able M.2 WiFi card plus an easy to reach CMOS battery – all under a few screws to mess with. Maintenance is easy with this notebook so it scores an extra point in my book.

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KEYBOARD & TOUCH-PAD:

The keyboard is your usual chiclet type compact notebook clicker which is never to be mistaken as a desktop replacement. It feels nice to touch, yet the layout is restricted overall and it’s better if DELL could actually use the extra spaces to add more keys or better spacing between keys.

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The track pad or touch pad is also average yet it is tactile enough. It’s capacitive so there’s no feedback when you’re using gloves. No Hotspot “edge to edge” feature support for Windows 8 and 10 though – at least on our unit.

BUNDLED SOFTWARES:

Officially, the DELL Inspiron 14 5000 Series ships with Windows 8, but recently, the company had ditched the operating system in favor of Windows 10. Ours had been shipped with 8, but we upgraded it to the Windows 10 without much effort, and the DELL unit proved to support the said OS right off the bat with drivers and other necessary softwares compatible with Windows 10 so there really is no reason not to jump to a more robust and user friendly OS.

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Softwares included with the Windows 8 based Inspiron 14 are DELL’s software suite, a free copy of your “favorite” antivirus, McAfee – and a few more from DELL in the form of backup, update & recovery applications plus, a copy of CyberLink’s Media Suite Essential. Not so much in the bloat department to be worried at which is okay.

[nextpage title=”General, Storage, & Gaming Performance”]

HOW WE TEST NOTEBOOKS:

First and foremost, testing notebooks requires a lot of time – patience actually, in order to precisely gather results, more so notebooks actually differs from each other spec-wise.  Rest assured, we will run our tests / benchmarks with an updated operating system of the notebook, along with updated drivers for its hardware. To actually receive the results that we wanted, bloatwares are removed, along with other softwares that could hamper the results. There goes your free copy of Norton and McAfee. It is also worth mentioning that we are using the Balanced Power Option for the benchmarks, which should enable us to see how power management affects the notebook’s performance.

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Diving into the notebook’s specifications, we could see that the notebook’s CPU or APU rather, has a maximum TDP of 15W. Surprisingly, GPU-Z on the other hand reports that there are 2 graphics adapter powering the notebook, but actually and based on AMD’s official notes, it should be powered by a single Radeon R5 graphics with 128 shader cores, 2GB of memory, and 64-bit bus width. Moving on to the memory, we’ve got a single stick of 4 GB DDR3L from SAMSUNG in a 1600MHz and 1.35v package. The DIMM is running on a non JEDEC specified timings of 11-11-12-28-39.

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The HDD is a 1TB SEAGATE Momentus Mobile which is a 5, 400 RPM drive with 8MB of buffer size and a SATA II interface which is pretty slow for today’s standards. It is by no means a mediocre drive though.

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GENERAL SYSTEM PERFORMANCE:

We kick things off with the results from the PCMark 8 benchmark, which should enable us to check out the notebook’s general performance on different scenarios. As you can see, the DELL Inspiron 14 5000 is no where near any gaming PC’s performance but it sure does perform within acceptable bounds.

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PCMark 8’s Work Conventional Benchmark is comprised of office application tests, web browsing, and video encoding + playback which is proper to test the overall performance of the notebook via test work related benchmarks. Suffice to say, that the DELL Inspiron 14 5000 performed within the margin of usefulness falling just below the average Office PC based on FutureMark’s collective results.

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The Creative Conventional Benchmark is more of a high end test suite, comprising of 4K Video Editing Benchmarks, Main Stream Gaming, Photo Editing Benchmarks and a whole lot more. Based on these tests, the notebook showed a small margin of difference over the Office PC on the result – but is lagging away by 1000 points over the latest high performance notebooks.

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STORAGE PERFORMANCE:

Our storage test relies on the Crystal Disk Mark Benchmark. With it, we shall see how the SSD or HDD in this case performs in general via results taken from the Sequential Read & Write Benchmarks. Together with the primary storage solution, we shall check out how the USB 2.0, and USB 3.0 slot performs, along with the SD Card Adapter using our 64GB Kingston HyperX USB 3.0 Thumb Drive and Kingston’s 256GB SDXC UHS-I SD Card.

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Storage performance is somewhat on the average side, with the USB 3.0 performance generally better over the older standards. Though the DELL Inspiron 14 is equipped with a SATAIII controller, the SATAII drive shows only what a power saving SATAII drive is capable of. I’d recommend an SSD but that’s another story.

GAMING PERFORMANCE:

It wouldn’t be a review from us without gaming benchmarks, so we fired up CS: GO and DOTA 2 to check out if the DELL Inspiron 14 could handle the grunt work of the most popular multiplayer games out there. Starting off with CS: GO, the notebook falls within the bounds of playable framerates, but when smoke is present regardless of settings, it dips down to a measly framerate. If you’re looking forward to play atleast CS: GO on this machine, then you should take note of these performance halting experience and have any kinds of anti-aliasing disabled.

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DOTA 2 seems to scale well in terms of performance across all settings, and we can actually play DOTA 2 until the medium preset without hassle. The Radeon R5 graphics could handle our tested titles but playable frame rates with recently released AAA ones might not be a question required to be answered. It simply wont do. Older titles though is another story.

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[nextpage title=”Internal, & External Thermal Performance”]

THERMAL PERFORMANCE:

Thermals is an important part of any notebook review, be it internal or external. To help us gather results, we used the internal sensors from the notebook together with an industrial surface temperature gauge. Based on the results, the notebook remained cool when idling, yet its processor takes the most beating when the system is at stress. 78C is the highest recorded but it should not represent the processor’s maximum temperature at normal load. Still, we prefer to see lower values as the Turbo Mode only lasts around 30 seconds. As for the other components, the Power Brick remains almost constant at 45-46C while the surface temperature of the table where the exhaust is situated goes from 50-60C. These values are taken while the room temperature is at 27C.

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Going external,  we could see that the Inspiron 14 has a rather nice idle and average desktop usage based surface temperature which is pleasing if you’re just browsing the web or doing office works. The highest recorded temperature is 30.1 Degree Celsius around the exhaust area.

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The notebook’s surface temperature is hotter as expected when it’s at load. 47.6 Degree Celsius is the maximum temperature recorded which is around the ventilation area. The notebook’s keys and palm rest around this said area are actually very warm to touch, so if you’re sensitive to temperature changes and find it uncomfortable, then you might want to consider something else. 47.6 Degree Celsius is not toasty by the way, and is achieved via extended stress testing of the device and its components

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[nextpage title=”Power, Battery, Noise & Verdict”]

POWER CONSUMPTION, BATTERY, & NOISE LEVELS:

Power consumption is faithful to AMD’s claims about Carrizo-L, and we’re happy to report that the system at full load only consumes 54W. Noise levels though is another thing when the system is at stress with 46 dBA comparable to some desktops especially mine without adjusting the fan curve.

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The battery performance is on the average side, yet still far better than most gaming notebooks Iv’e tested when power savings is not an option. Classic Mode from Battery Eater’s benchmark reveals that the Inspiron 14 features an hour and a half of performance before the battery runs dry, while in full power savings mode the notebook features a total of 9 hours and a half of up time. Not bad.

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THE VERDICT:

The DELL Inspiron 14 5000 Series is by no means a gaming oriented notebook, nor a high end one to start with so your hopes of having an AMD Carrizo-L powered gaming notebook should be on a screeching halt. Don’t get us wrong, the DELL Inspiron 14 5000 series with the Carrizo-L part is already good for light gaming purposes, especially if you’re looking forward to play older titles that you have missed and we really mean OLDER ones. This notebook is not really geared for gaming, but we wanted to thank DELL’s effort into arranging an AMD APU configuration – providing an option for casual gamers and the likes. General performance-wise, you get what you pay for and there really is nothing to complain much except for the memory which is 4 GB for the baseline models. Clearly, this notebook is your sorta mid range “jack of all trades, master of none” system.

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Feature wise, you’ll get the basic for a mid-tier notebook such as the Inspiron 14. Basic pair of stereo speakers, 802.11/b/g/n WiFi @ 2.4 GHz + Bluetooth 4.0, basic 2.0 MP webcam, a 10/100 Ethernet, and pretty much everything basic. Features aren’t fancy, but nothing’s out of place for its price. We just wished DELL considered the 8 GB option for starters since 4GB ain’t enough especially for today’s games and memory intensive applications.

Build quality is not a concern with this unit, however it weighs at 1.85 kilograms which is absolutely not light in today’s mid range notebook standards. Couple that up with the adapter, and you’re looking at around 2 Kilograms of extra bulk when travelling. Not much negatives to say with this notebook though and you should expect it to perform like a proper mid range product. At 28, 490 Pesos, the DELL Inspiron 14 5000 is already a good proposal from DELL & AMD – featuring a solid performance across various workloads with a little bit of extra for light gamers as well.

THE DELL INSPIRON 14 5000 SERIES RETAILS FOR AROUND 28, 490 PESOS & IS BACKED BY A YEAR OF WARRANTY.

THE VERDICT
PROS:
  • WELL BUILT CHASSIS
  • GOOD OVERALL PERFORMANCE
  • AESTHETICALLY APPEALING
  • GOOD BATTERY RUN TIME
CONS:
  • WEIGHS AT ALMOST 2 KG
  • 4 GB RAM STILL A THING
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