Dell Inspiron 5580

Dell Inspiron 5580, is a laptop from budget-friendly mid-range series that has come a long way from plastic build & bulky looks to premium look with brushed aluminium finish (earlier limited to XPS series only), narrow borders, latest specs, modern design, slim profile, etc.

Gone are those days where you needed to shell out a premium for owning a premium laptop. Inspiron has become synonymous with premium offerings in the mid-range segment with few trade-offs.

Today I am here with the latest iteration in 15″ Dell Inspiron 5000 series, namely Dell Inspiron 5580. With almost everything under the hood its a great choice in the mid-range segment. It ranges in between Rs 50000 to 65000 without taxes and offers various options like HDD vs SSD, Core i5 vs Core i7, Backlit keyboard and Windows 10 Home vs Pro. I would have preferred SSD-HDD combo as it’s supported but they don’t have an option as such here in India right now.

This one is a Core i5 based model with 2TB 5400 rpm HDD, MX150 GPU, Backlit keyboard and 8GB RAM. Samsung EVO 860 240gb was installed manually later on with workarounds for fixing it.

INBOX

  1. Laptop
  2. Charger
  3. Power Cord
  4. Leaflets

PROS

  1. Lightweight slim profile laptop.
  2. Brushed aluminium finish with metal construction.
  3. Intel’s new 8th Gen Whiskey Lake CPU.
  4. Dedicated graphics card with Integrated Intel UHD graphics.
  5. Comfortable keyboard with good feedback.
  6. Responsive touchpad with a matte finish for fine gliding.
  7. Fast fingerprint reader which gives almost instant access to a locked laptop or laptop in sleep.

CONS

  1. Mouse buttons in touchpad have annoyingly poor in construction. There’s free travel of around 0.5 mm before buttons actually click and feedback is also small.
  2. The exhaust vent on the backside is not a good idea. Screen hinge offers a lot of resistance to airflow. It must have unrestricted airflow for efficient cooling.
  3. If you opt for HDD based model you don’t get based SSD mount & if you go for SSD based model you don’t get HDD mount and ribbon cable. Even Dell’s support or local store won’t be of any help in installing another one.
  4. The screen is average in color accuracy.

SPECIFICATIONS OF DELL INSPIRON 5580 UNDER REVIEW

Processor8th Gen Core i5 8265U (6MB cache, 1.6 Ghz to 3.9 Ghz) (Corei7 also available)
GraphicsIntel® UHD Graphics 620, NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 with 2GB GDDR5 graphics memory
Memory8 GB, 8Gx1, DDR4, 2666Mhz (operates at 2400Mhz only for 8th gen Intel)
Display15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-glare LED Backlight Non-touch Narrow Border IPS Display, 220 nits
Hard Drive2TB 5400 rpm 2.5″ SATA Hard Drive (pre-installed) (SSD only variant also available)
250GB Samsung EVO M.2 SATA SSD (self-installed, NVMe SSD also supported)
NetworkingIntel 9462AC (802.11ac, Dual Band 2.4 / 5 GHz), 1 x 1, Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet ( Realtek PCIe 10/100 Mbps )
AudioRealtek ALC3204 with Waves MaxxAudio Pro, 24-bit DAC & ADC, Intel(R) HDA, NVIDIA Virtual Audio Device (WDM), 7.1 channel output via HDMI, Speakers (2 nos) 2W (peak 2.5W), Digital array microphone
Battery3-Cell Battery, 42WHr (Integrated), 300 discharge/charge cycles (approx)
KeyboardBacklit chicklet keyboard without any num pad (non backlit also available)
Left SidePower port, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (DisplayPort/PowerDelivery),HDMI 1.4a, USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.1 Gen 1, Combo headphone / microphone jack
Right SideSD Card Reader, USB 2.0, RJ45, Wedge-shaped lock slot
Back SideExhaust Vent
BottomLeft speaker, right speaker, tag label
OSWindows 10 Home Plus Single Language, English
Dimensions359.1 mm x 249 mm x 18.04 mm
Weight~ 1.9 kg
Power65 W, 100-240 VAC
ExtrasFingerprint reader (550 PPI) embedded power button (optional, at no extra cost), Card reader, Caps lock led, Charging led, Camera led, Cinema Colour, Microsoft Office Home & Student 2019, McAfee 15month Subscription
Warranty1-year standard warranty
2-year and 3-year warranties available
ColorsPlatinum silver ( Ink available)
Available SpecsDell website link

DESIGN OF INSPIRON 5580

Design-wise Dell Inspiron 5580 is at par with premium offerings with a brushed aluminium finish, narrow border display, metal construction, slim profile with a plethora of ports.

It’s around 18mm when closed and has solid construction. The base is made of thick strong plastic while palm rest and lid have metal detailing. Because of both it’s rigid and has no flex anywhere. Even when you lift it with one corner, you feel the rigidity and solid construction.

Then there’s a single hinge design for the lid, which hides exhaust vent. Hinge in itself offers smooth lid operation with good torsion, to prevent accidental lid movement. Colour options include platinum silver and ink for trims and lid.

Both sides are covered with ports, while the front and back are left out with only exhaust vents on the backside.

Left Side (L-R):  Power, USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C™ (DisplayPort/PowerDelivery), HDMI 1.4a, USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.1 Gen 1, Combo headphone / microphone jack

Ports on left side Dell Inspiron 5580

Right Side (L-R): SD Card Reader, USB 2.0, Collapsible RJ45, Wedge-shaped lock slot

Ports on right side of Dell Inspiron 5580

In my opinion, the given connectivity is quite good, but not overwhelming.

DISPLAY

Display here is a Full HD IPS LCD type with 220 nits brightness. With respect to brightness is not the best one out there but better than an average chunk. So sunlight performance may be slightly affected but for in-home usage its more than enough.

To our rescue, it’s anti-glare instead of glossy. So no reflection and eye strain due to it.

With respect to color accuracy, the screen is not the best one out there & that’s not even expected. It’s nowhere close to those RGB or B+GR screens, but the average user won’t notice the difference. It’s only noticeable if both screens are side by side and this one looks pale then. An option for a better panel in the customization section would have been a nice addition by Dell.

So if you are looking for serious image editing on this laptop, do get a dedicated monitor.

KEYBOARD & FINGERPRINT ENABLED POWER BUTTON

We have come a long way from those thick mechanical keyboards to these compact membrane keyboards, (also referred to as chiclet keyboards), which contributes to the slim form factor of the laptops.

The keyboard of this Dell Inspiron 5580 is backlit 80 keys QWERTY keyboard with chicklet design. Typing is easy and comfortable here and you have the maximum of keys covered. One interesting thing here is that function key behavior can be changed on the go with FN + ESC combo, to act as function key first or secondary function first.

To the right of the keyboard, we have a power button with a fingerprint sensor embedded. The sensor is fast and snappy and saves time for entering a pin or password. It unlocks the laptop in less than 0.4 sec.

Feedback on keypress is not something everyone will appreciate, as it’s low. But then again slim form factor comes at a price.

It misses out num pad which would have been a nice addon considering blank space on both sides of the keyboard, and extra spacious keys sufficient enough to accommodate a num pad.

Another set of issues is the arrow keys, which are cramped and it misses out dedicated home, end, page-up, page-down keys. You need to use FN + arrow key combination to access those.

TOUCHPAD & BUTTONS

The touchpad has a matte finish and glides well. The region of sensitivity extends to buttons also. It’s easy to operate and big enough to cover the full window.

The main issue here is with stiff touchpad buttons with 0.5 mm approx free travel. This renders it almost useless or hard to use. Max of the times you would avoid using it. Its the only disturbing thing in this laptop and i don’t understand why is it so. Previous 5570 series had better buttons with comparatively soft press and less free travel. Earlier membrane ones were further better than these TACT buttons.

TOUCHPAD GESTURES

Windows 10 comes with its own implementation of touchpad gestures and the extent is appreciable. From single-touch to four-finger gestures, every way is considered and this covers most of the things. These gestures are highly useful in day to day operations.

Further, these gestures are customizable too via settings. To customize go to Settings → Devices → Touchpad.

SINGLE FINGER

  • Select an item: Tap on the touchpad.
  • Multi-select: Tap twice and drag

TWO FINGERS

  • Right-click: Tap the touchpad with two fingers, or press in the lower-right corner.
  • Scroll: Place two fingers on the touchpad and slide vertically. (direction can be set)
  • Zoom in or out: Place two fingers on the touchpad and pinch in or stretch out.

THREE FINGERS & FOUR FINGERS

  • Up Swipe: Volume up or multitasking view
  • Down Swipe: Volume down or show desktop
  • Left Swipe: Previous track or switch desktops or switch apps
  • Right Swipe: Next track or switch desktops or switch apps
  • Tap: Open action center or windows search or play-pause or middle mouse button

More: Windows support help article for Windows 10 gestures.

AUDIO

We can’t expect much out of the audio department because of the slim factor we desire today. Some earlier lineups used to come with a subwoofer built-in, but these slim ones don’t have that much thickness to house one.

Still, this one comes with two bottom-firing speakers, with a combined output of 2W (peak 2.5W). Now, this should be sufficient enough for solo enjoyment of music or movie or general tasks, but it definitely misses the bass part. So if you are in that league, just get a portable speaker like Infinity Fuze 100 or JBL Go or Echo, etc which all work via both Bluetooth and audio cable.

For external connectivity, it comes with a combo headphone/mic jack which works well with all types. Also, it supports up to 7.1 channel output via HDMI port.

COMMUNICATION & WIRELESS DISPLAY

Communication isn’t a problem for Dell Inspiron 5580. Almost all sorts of mediums are covered here. There’s Intel 9462AC dual-band (2.4 & 5 GHz) 1 x 1 card with Bluetooth 5.0 and Gigabit Ethernet (10/100 Mbps).

There’s wireless display support for two way connectivity. The laptop’s screen can be mirrored to TV and on the other side smartphones screen can be mirrored to Laptop. The audio is also channeled via this mode. Slight lag in seen in this mode, so gaming is not recommended. For such low latency usage, a wired HDMI connection is always better.

PERFORMANCE OF INSPIRON 5580

Intel 8th gen Whisky lake processor combined with Samsung EVO SSD & NVIDIA GPU can offer ultimate performance for a mid-range user. From super-fast startups & shutdowns to fast and snappy interface to responsive apps, everything is covered by this combo.

Heavy gamers may be disappointed due to inefficient cooling with a single fan & low-end graphics card, MX150. Light gamers can manage fair paly with this configuration & assisted cooling.

BENCHMARKS

SCORES: HDD (Seagate 5400 RPM) vs SSD (Samsung EVO 860) Setup

3D Mark 11: 3487 vs 3668
PCMark 10: 2638 vs 3197
PCMark 8: 3507 vs 3635
Cinebench R20: 1151 vs 1175
Read Speed: 134 MB/s vs 552 MB/s
Write Speed: 123 MB/s vs 530 MB/s
Boot Time (post-OS selection screen to windows desktop): 40 s vs 4 s
Shutdown Time: 45 s vs 10 s

EMISSIONS & TEMPERATURE

The exhaust of this is one of the quietest i have seen so far. You will barely notice it spinning under light to medium loads. At heavy loads, it’s slightly noticeable.

Since the exhaust is placed on the back and even processor/graphics heatsink lies below the upper keyboard zone, the palm rest area generally remains cool max of the time. Its just battery (generates heat only while charging) & HDD (generates less heat as SSD is the main driver here) below the palm rest zone.

So long typing sessions on this laptop are not an issue.

BATTERY LIFE

Dell Inspiron 5580 houses 45 Watt-hour Li-on battery which provides quite a good backup. We were impressed with the scores.

We were able to manage 7-8 hours (in low-performance power-saving mode) with video playback via vlc & headphones (WiFi was off). A similar backup was observed with WIFi on and 8-10 tabs in chrome.

INSIDE INSPIRON 5580

Interiors of Inspiron 5580 are neatly designed with proper utilization of space. Just that reaching that interior is not an easy task. Even critical components are not easily accessible like are there in some laptops with mini access panel. Here you need to first remove 6 screws (M2x7) on the back cover that secures it to palm rest & keyboard assembly and then using a plastic scribe pry the base cover of the assembly.

VERDICT FOR INSPIRON 5580

Inspiron lineup has come a long way and now is at par with premium series. Looks and performance, both are covered in the best possible way to keep the mid-range tag in line. You get the best of both worlds.

Good quality screen, nice battery backup, above-average performance, brushed aluminium finish, premium looks, comfortable backlit keyboard with fingerprint and plethora of connectivity options. What else to expect of a mid-range budget laptop. Then you also have some options to customize to make it further better.

Above things, combined with years of trust in Dell owing to its quality & superior after warranty support, its a highly recommended laptop in the budget range of ~50k & is definitely worth a look for users with a variety of interests.

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