Dell Inspiron 11 3162 Subnotebook Review

 

Enduring. Dell’s little netbook adds color to the desk and can offer a very good battery life. At around 250 Euros (~$284), the laptop is on the same price level as its rivals.

Especially wanted:

Dell also still caters to the market of small 11.6-inch netbooks and launches a new model dubbed Inspiron 11-3162. The laptop does not reveal any surprises. A Braswell processor by Intel also clocks inside this device. There is no lack of rivals. We would name Acer’s Aspire One Cloudbook 11, Asus’ EeeBook X205TA, and Lenovo’s IdeaPad 100S. Chromebooks, such as Dell’s Chromebook 11-3120, also belong to the opponents.

Test device courtesy of Dell Deutschland

Processor

Intel Celeron N3050 1.6 GHz

Graphics adapter

Intel HD Graphics (Braswell), Core: 300-600 MHz, single-channel, 20.19.15.4300

Memory

2048 MB  , DDR3-1600, single-channel, no memory bank, soldered memory

Display

11.6 inch 16:9, 1366×768 pixel 135 PPI, AU Optronics B116XTN, TN LED, glossy: no

Storage

32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB  , 10 GB free

Connections

1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: combo audio, Card Reader: MicroSD, TPM 2.0

Networking

Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0

Size

height x width x depth (in mm): 19,88 x 292 x 196 ( = 0.75 x 11.5 x 7.72 in)

Battery

32 Wh Lithium-Ion

Operating System

Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit

Camera

Webcam: HD webcam

Additional features

Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, McAfee LiveSafe Internet Security (12 month license), MS Office (trial), 12 Months Warranty, fanless

Weight

1.18 kg ( = 41.62 oz / 2.6 pounds), Power Supply: 270 g ( = 9.52 oz / 0.6 pounds)

Price

249 Euro

 

The Inspiron’s plastic casing is available in three colors: Bali Blue, Alpine White and Tango Red. We were provided with the red model. The lid’s back and the base unit’s sides are made of glossy plastic. The other parts have matte surfaces. The little laptop does not exhibit any manufacturing flaws. It is similar in terms of stiffness. Only the base unit could be a bit stiffer for our taste. The laptop does not have a maintenance hatch. That is, however, tolerable since neither the working memory nor the hard drive can be replaced; both components are soldered. The battery is not removable.

The Inspiron only sports a limited variety of interfaces. The most necessary ports are installed at the rear on both sides. Thus, cables do not obstruct the wrist rest.

Windows 10 Home (64-bit) operating system is preloaded. A recovery DVD is not included. Laptop buyers additionally get a one-year license for McAfee LiveSafe Internet Security.

Left: power-in, HDMI, USB 3.0, memory-card reader (micro-SD)
Right: combo audio, USB 2.0, cable lock slot

The Inspiron is furnished with an unlit chiclet keyboard. The flat, lightly roughened keys have a medium drop and clear pressure point. The keyboard yielded slightly when typing on it, but that was not annoying. Dell delivers an overall decent keyboard here. The laptop’s multi-touch ClickPad has a surface area of approximately 10 x 5.5 cm, which provides plenty of room for gesture control. The pad’s very lightly roughened surface does not stop the fingers from gliding. The pad has a short drop and clear pressure point.

The Inspiron is configured with a matte, 11.6-inch panel that has a native resolution of 1366×768 pixels. The screen’s brightness (235.7 cd/m²) and contrast (398:1) are both acceptable in view of the price. The panel does not display PWM flickering at any brightness level.

238
cd/m²
253
cd/m²
252
cd/m²
218
cd/m²
255
cd/m²
248
cd/m²
192
cd/m²
226
cd/m²
239
cd/m²

Distribution of brightness

X-Rite i1Pro 2

Maximum: 255 cd/m² Average: 235.7 cd/m² Minimum: 15 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 75 %
Center on Battery: 211 cd/m²
Contrast: 398:1 (Black: 0.64 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 8.91 | 1.01-23.34 Ø6.8
ΔE Greyscale 9.87 | 0.79-16.8 Ø7
58% sRGB (Argyll) 37% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.26ICC File (X-Rite i1Pro 2)

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession – a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.

Screen flickering / PWM not detected
In comparison: 55 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 558 (minimum: 43 – maximum: 10420) Hz was measured.

The screen has a DeltaE 2000 color shift of 8.91 in delivery state – a normal rate in the low-cost sector. A rate less than 3 would be desirable. The panel also displays a bluish tint.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.

   ↔    Response Time Black to White
24 ms … rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined ↗ 7 ms rise
↘ 17 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 21 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (28.8 ms).
   ↔    Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
41 ms … rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined ↗ 22 ms rise
↘ 19 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 172 (maximum) ms. » 38 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (43.6 ms).

Dell’s laptop is furnished with a viewing-angle dependent TN panel. Thus, the screen is not legible from every position. The Inspiron is at most conditionally outdoor suitable. Barely anything can be recognized on the screen in bright sunlight. The device can be primarily used in a shaded environment and cloudy conditions. The maximum possible screen brightness decreases in battery mode.

The Inspiron outdoors

The Inspiron 11-3162 is an 11.6-inch Windows netbook. Its computing power is enough for basic applications from the office and Internet fields. Our review sample is priced at around 250 Euros (~$284). Dell’s shop did not list any other configurations at test time. However, there are indications of models with 4 GB of working memory and/or a 500 GB hard drive.

Discussion

One of the weakest dual-cores that Intel currently has to offer is inside the Inspiron in the form of the Celeron N3050 (Braswell). Consequently, the little laptop’s application field as a browsing machine and typewriter is foreordained. The processor’s computing power is enough for simple office and Internet applications. With its TDP of 6 watts, the CPU is one of the frugal models and can be cooled passively. The Celeron clocks at a base speed of 1.6 GHz, which can be boosted to 2.16 GHz. The maximum speed is achieved in both AC and battery modes.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit

1099

Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit

2064

Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit

2284

Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit

34 Points

Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit

64 Points

Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit

12.87 fps

Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit

98 %

… in comparison

Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit in comparison
Toshiba Satellite W30Dt-A-100 (min)
A4-1200, Radeon HD 8180
   …
HP Stream 13-c102ng
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA-FV0108TS
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
Asus F200MA-CT067H
N2815, HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
Dell Inspiron 11 3162
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 11 AO1-131-C58K
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
Asus ASUS Transformer Book Flip TP200SA-DH04T
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
Acer Extensa 2519-C7DC
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
   …
Eurocom Panther 5D (max)
E5-2697 v2, Quadro K5100M

Cinebench R15 | Cinebench R10 | Geekbench 3 | Sunspider | JetStream 1.1 | Mozilla Kraken 1.1 | Octane V2 | Peacekeeper

Cinebench R15 | Cinebench R10 | Geekbench 3 | Sunspider | JetStream 1.1 | Mozilla Kraken 1.1 | Octane V2 | Peacekeeper

* … smaller is better

The system runs smoothly; we did not encounter problems. The PCMark benchmark scores correspond to the installed SoC’s performance capability. The Inspiron scores better than comparable Bay Trail devices thanks to the much stronger graphics unit of the Braswell generation. The Inspiron’s overall performance cannot be increased via upgrading the hardware since it does not offer the option of installing/replacing hardware. The working memory and eMMC modules are soldered.

1632 points
1613 points
1321 points

The system drive is an eMMC storage module with a capacity of 32 GB. The user has approximately 10 GB of that available in delivery state. The transfer rates are on a normal level for this kind of storage. The storage can be expanded via a micro-SD card.

Sequential Read: 158.4 MB/s
Sequential Write: 20.58 MB/s
512K Read: 158.8 MB/s
512K Write: 30.91 MB/s
4K Read: 11.74 MB/s
4K Write: 10.66 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 31.3 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 10.2 MB/s

The HD Graphics unit supports DirectX 12 and clocks at speeds of up to 600 MHz. The GPU scores considerably better than its Bay Trail predecessor in the 3DMark benchmarks. Intel relies on a new GPU architecture for its Braswell models.

Graphics units have come with decoders that unload the processors when rendering videos for years. Even relatively weak devices can render modern video formats. Like Intel’s Skylake graphics cores, the Braswell models also feature a decoder that can play the H.265 format (successor of H.264; allows rendering smaller files in the same image quality) in addition to the common video formats. The CPU’s capacity was at approximately 10% when we played our test video. We use the Movie & TV app in Windows 10 for rendering since it supports hardware accelerated playback of H.265 material.

436 points
18302 points
1540 points
238 points

… in comparison

3DMark 11 in comparison
One Xcellent 10 v2 (min)
Z3735F, HD Graphics (Bay Trail)
   …
HP Split x2
3229Y, HD Graphics 4000
Lenovo Yoga 300-11IBR
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
Acer Aspire R11 R3-131T-C122
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
Dell Inspiron 11 3162
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
Asus ASUS Transformer Book Flip TP200SA-DH04T
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 11 AO1-131-C58K
N3050, HD Graphics (Braswell)
Lenovo IdeaPad U310
3317U, HD Graphics 4000
   …
MSI GT80S 6QF (max)
6820HK, GeForce GTX 980 SLI (Notebook)

3DMark 11 | 3DMark (2013)

3DMark 11 | 3DMark (2013)

The installed hardware cannot cope with the majority of games. Only a handful of games achieve a sufficiently high frame rate. Beyond that, the laptop does not have enough storage for many games. A much larger selection of playable games can be found in the casual games available in the Windows Store. Casual games available in the Windows Store offer a much larger selection of playable games.

low med. high ultra
F1 2014 (2014) 13 12.5 fps
The Inspiron in the stress test

Temperature

The Inspiron processed our stress test (Prime95 and Furmark run for at least one hour) in the same manner in both AC and battery modes. The CPU and GPU stably clocked at their full speeds. Consequently, the laptop heats up a bit more in total than comparable netbooks that throttle the processor and graphics unit’s speeds. 40 °C is surpassed on some measuring points.

37.2 °C 36.6 °C 28.8 °C
37.4 °C 36.9 °C 28 °C
28.1 °C 26.2 °C 23.2 °C
Maximum: 37.4 °C
Average: 31.4 °C
26.3 °C 42.8 °C 45.6 °C
26.2 °C 43.3 °C 42.3 °C
23 °C 29 °C 29.8 °C
Maximum: 45.6 °C
Average: 34.3 °C

Power Supply (max.)  31.4 °C | Room Temperature 20.6 °C | FIRT 550-Pocket

26.6 °C 26.1 °C 25 °C
26.4 °C 26.3 °C 24.3 °C
23.8 °C 23.1 °C 22.7 °C
Maximum: 26.6 °C
Average: 24.9 °C
24.4 °C 27.1 °C 27.7 °C
23.1 °C 26.9 °C 27.6 °C
22.6 °C 24.8 °C 24.4 °C
Maximum: 27.7 °C
Average: 25.4 °C

Power Supply (max.)  27.1 °C | Room Temperature 21.2 °C | FIRT 550-Pocket

The stereo speakers are situated above the keyboard behind a perforated cover. They produce a relatively decent sound that lacks bass. Speech is well-intelligible. Headphones or external speakers are recommended for a better sound experience.

That a small, low-performance device such as the Inspiron does not demand much power is not surprising. The maximum idle power consumption is 5.2 watts. The requirement climbed to 11.2 watts in the stress test (Prime95 and Furmark run for at least one hour). The power supply has a nominal output of 45 watts.

Our practical Wi-Fi test simulates the load needed for opening websites. The “Balanced” profile is enabled, and the screen’s brightness is set to approximately 150 cd/m². The Inspiron achieves a runtime of 8:40 hours – a very good rate.

Battery Runtime

+ matte screen

+ noiseless operation

+ very good battery life

cannot be upgraded

tight storage capacity
In review: Dell Inspiron 11-3162. Test model courtesy of Dell.

The installed processor allows using basic office and Internet applications. The decoder integrated in the graphics unit additionally makes the Inspiron a mobile video player. The laptop runs noiselessly and barely heats up. The battery life is good. Although the screen is not the best, it is acceptable in view of the price.

Dell delivers an enduring typewriter and browsing machine with its Inspiron 11-3162.

With the Inspiron 11-3162, Dell has a little 11.6-inch netbook that can be seen as an opponent for netbooks of other manufacturers and Chromebooks. While Chromebooks can only be used in conjunction with an Internet connection, this is not needed for Windows laptops like the Inspiron. The software is preloaded on the laptop. It is also possible to install desktop applications. However, the available storage capacity is soon a limiting factor here.

Dell Inspiron 11 31622016-04-2704/27/2016 v5.1
Sascha Mölck

Chassis

71 /  98 → 73%

Keyboard

73%

Pointing Device

81%

Connectivity

40 / 81 → 50%

Weight

73 / 78 → 88%

Battery

91%

Display

75%

Games Performance

38 / 68 → 56%

Application Performance

41 / 87 → 47%

Temperature

92 / 91 → 100%

Noise

100%

Audio

44 / 91 → 48%

Camera

40 / 85 → 47%

Average

66%

Subnotebook – Weighted Average

 

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