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Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series review – fun, budget Windows

Dell Inspiron 11 front angle
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £159
inc VAT

The Dell Inspiron 11 is a well-built budget laptop but it's seriously let down by its terrible screen



Aside from the lack of extras, the display is another disappointment. In fact, it’s arguably the worst laptop screen I’ve seen in a long time, even when taking into account its ultra-cheap price. The 1,366×768 resolution is pretty typical of laptops at this price, but viewing angles are atrocious, especially on the vertical plane. So much so that, with a solid colour displayed on the screen, the only way to erase any evidence of colour cast was to tilt the screen back as far as the hinge would allow, and then also lift the front of the laptop up by an inch to tip it back further. The display lacks contrast, too, with a pitiful contrast ratio of just 203:1.

This is caused by its exceedingly high black levels of 1.32cd/m2, which makes solid blacks appear positively grey. Colour accuracy of 57.8% sRGB is also pretty poor, but the maximum brightness of 266.6cd/m2 was, at least, reasonable. The other saving grace is the screen’s matt coating helps to limit any pesky reflections.

Connections and Speakers

There are only two USB ports on the Inspiron 11, but one of them is the faster USB3, which isn’t always included on budget laptops. This will make file transfers that much nippier. A full-size HDMI port is available for connecting to a display and a headset jack for audio, and there’s also the aforementioned microSD slot.

Dell Inspiron 11 front

There’s a pair of stereo speakers above the keyboard and these provide a surprising amount of volume. With a bright, tinny sound, they’re not particularly impressive, but they’re perfectly fine for watching films. A 720p webcam is also included, which is more than sufficient for a quick Skype call.


As far as budget laptops go, the Inspiron 11 would make a great first laptop. It feels reassuringly durable, the bold, fun design is very appealing, and I wouldn’t have any qualms about giving it to a younger user. It’s also a respectable choice for a student. The only major flaw is the screen, but this might not bother you given the price. 

However, the Inspiron 11 faces stiff competition from the HP Stream 11, which also has a fun design but a much better display. As a result, my top choice for a first laptop would have to be the Stream 11, but if you’re after something for office productivity, then the Toshiba Satellite C40-C is also worth a look, as this is still one of the best cheap laptops you can currently buy. If this doesn’t suit your needs, check out our regularly updated Best Cheap Windows 10 Laptops article.

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Core specs
ProcessorDual-core 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3050
Memory slots (free)1 (0)
Max memory8GB
SoundRealtek HD Audio (3.5mm headset port)
Pointing deviceTouchpad
Screen size11.6in
Screen resolution1,366×768
Graphics adaptorIntel HD Graphics
Graphics outputsHDMI
Graphics memoryIntegrated
Total storage32GB eMMC
Optical drive typeNone
Ports and expansion
USB ports1x USB3, 1x USB2
Memory card readermicroSD
Other portsNone
Operating systemWindows 10 Home
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
Parts and labour warrantyOne year collect and return
Price inc VAT£159
Part numberCN31601

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