The Dell Inspiron 15 3511 laptop is an entry-level computer with an 11th generation Intel Core i3 processor. Its 15.6-inch Full HD screen makes it the ideal companion for office work.
The design of the Dell Inspiron 15 is particularly sober. Its rough black plastic shell is devoid of chrome or inserts. Only a logo on the shell marks this laptop as belonging to the brand.
The plastic, a real fingerprint magnet, is easy to clean, but it scratches easily.
The opening reveals a keyboard with a non-backlit numeric keypad. The keys are made of the same plastic as the shell and the typing is correct. However, we regret a pumping effect of the keyboard, especially in the center of it, a sign of a lack of rigidity of the whole chassis. After inspection, it turns out that when closed, the back of the screen sinks significantly, like the keyboard.
The numeric keypad has a smooth glide. The two clicks hidden under the cover are noisy. The Windows 3- and 4-finger gestures are perfectly taken into account, however the drag and drop is impossible to perform, the click being far too hard to maintain with the fingertip.
The connectivity consists of an HDMI port, an SD card reader, a USB 2.0 port and two USB 3.0 ports, a power socket and a mini-jack plug complete the set.
The wireless connectivity is composed of a wifi 5 chip (802.11ac) and Bluetooth 5.0. The webcam with a definition of 720p does not do miracles; the details are blurred or even absent.
The small Intel Core i3 is cooled by a fan and a small heat sink, with a heat pipe connecting to the processor. Thermal imaging does not reveal any real cooling deficiencies. After 15 minutes of video encoding, the keys remain under 37°C, with a hot spot on the back of the processor, in the area of the Z, Q, S and D keys. The hot air outlet on the right side of the screen is obviously the hottest part, and remains under 44 °C.
The problem lies in the noise level. 38.5 dB is 3 dB above the Asus VivoBook S513EA with the same processor, which is twice as much noise as the human ear. Dell could have made an effort on this point.
The disassembly is done without difficulty by removing 8 Phillips screws. The shell is then easily unclipped, since two screws remain attached to it and lift it slightly once out of their thread.
Two surprises on disassembly: the first is the presence of a single memory strip, which will inevitably have an impact on performance; we talk about this in the Performance section. The second, more appreciable, concerns the presence of a 2.5-inch slot, with screws and a connector for an SSD. Apart from the processor, the rest is easily removable and replaceable.
Our Inspiron 15 3511 is powered by an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor. It is composed of two hyperthreaded cores that can reach 4.1 GHz with a TDP of 28 W. Dell accompanied it with a single 8GB memory strip, which results in lower performance. A 256GB SSD with 2230 storage completes this configuration.
The performance of the Dell Inspiron 15 3511 equipped with this processor is not the most brilliant. Its index is only 34, or 18% lower than that of the Asus VivoBook S13 equipped with the same processor. This difference is due to various factors, starting with the RAM (DDR4-3200 in both cases), which benefits from less bandwidth because it is used in single-channel mode on the Dell machine - the Asus is dual-channel. The processor also plays a role due to a less aggressive turbo frequency setting, which, combined with a less efficient cooling system, results in a frequency that oscillates over a wide range during heavy tasks. You should therefore reserve its use for office work and video playback. Video games are obviously not its forte.
As usual, we tested Diablo 3 with full detail in 1080p, which normally comes out with honors on the graphics cards integrated into the processors. In this case, the Intel UHD and single-channel RAM made it possible to achieve a mere 13 fps. Overwatch is no picnic either, even with all the details down to a minimum: 22 fps, the game is barely playable.
The SSD confirms the desktop capabilities of this PC with speeds of 2.3 GB/s read and 500 MB/s write. These are obviously not of an exceptional level, but give the Dell Inspiron 15 3511 enough responsiveness for Windows 10 and opening software smoothly.
Dell has integrated a WVA panel with a definition of 1920 x1080 px in this laptop. This type of panel allows for wider viewing angles than a TN panel, which normally equips entry-level PCs.
The performance of this WVA panel is quite common. The maximum brightness is 270 cd/m², which is currently the minimum for most manufacturers in this segment. Fortunately, the anti-reflection treatment is effective (average reflectance of 16.5%).
Regarding colorimetry, the delta E is high (delta E of 6), since it is twice the limit at which the eye can distinguish the drifts. The contrast of the slab is also quite low (1014:1). In the dark, the blacks displayed are more gray than black. Finally, the color temperature is a little high: 6935 K, but nothing prohibitive, since the video standard is 6500 K.
The audio equipment is provided by two speakers located under the chassis, with of course the inherent problems of this location. The sound rendering will be influenced by the support on which the PC is placed. And very often, the hands on the keyboard muffle the sound volume.
When listening, the Pavilion 15 3511 offers a very correct sound rendering, especially for the entry-level segment where it is placed. The rendering is all midrange, with a slight boxy and megaphone effect, but it's far from the disasters of some gaming PCs that have much more room to integrate a decent audio system.
The headphone output is also in the upper mid-range, with enough power output to plug in high-impedance headphones.
Mobility / Autonomy
The Dell Inspiron 15 3511 measures 35.8 x 23.6 cm, with a thickness of 1.89 cm and a weight of 1.73 kg. The 65W charger weighs 315g and brings the total to just over 2kg. This 15.6" is not intended to be moved daily, but it can be moved occasionally without any problem.
With its 41 Wh battery, we did not expect a very important autonomy from the Dell Inspiron 15 3511. Thus, following our test protocol (Netflix under Chrome at 200 cd/m², with volume at 50%), the Inspiron shut down after 5 h 40 min of operation. If you're going to be gone for the day, it's a good idea to take your charger with you.
The Dell Inspiron 15-3511 is a laptop designed for office use. The performance of its processor lacks a bit of pep to accomplish creative tasks. It will however be suitable for basic use (Internet browsing and video playback). We would have liked Dell to add a second RAM strip to at least take advantage of the performance of dual-channel memory. Apart from this point, Dell delivers a copy that is just average.