Dell Inspiron 15 5570 (Core i7-8550U, AMD Radeon 530) review – too little, too late

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Pros
  • Fairly portable
  • Supports M.2 SSD and 2.5-inch HDD even from the lowest configuration
Cons
  • Unconvincing build quality
  • Dim display with narrow sRGB coverage and extremely low contrast ratio
  • The screen uses PWM for regulating screen brightness our Health-Guard profile takes care of that)
  • Shallow keyboard, bad touchpad design
  • Slow GPU for the asking price
  • Hardware runs hot at higher workloads

With the new rise of Intel’s new generation of CPUs, OEMs are quick to launch their refreshed lineups with Dell being one of the first to adopt these chips. Sporting a clean and simplistic case, the Inspiron 15 5570 also packs a good punch thanks to its Core i7-8550U processor but fails to impress with the discrete AMD Radeon 530 GPU.

There are also some significant trade-offs that need to be considered here and the display quality is the most important one. Featuring a TN panel, while most of its direct competitors shine with cool IPS displays, the Inspiron 15 5570 also raises a question of how well will it fare against similarly-priced GeForce MX150 or even 940MX systems on the market like the Acer Aspire 5, for example. In fact, the Aspire 5 is even cheaper and also introduces a crisp IPS display and Intel’s new 8th Generation processors. So what does the Inspiron 15 5570 has to offer that the rest of the competition doesn’t and who will benefit from such system? We find out in the thorough review below.

Dell Inspiron 5570 – $550.00
  • Intel Core i5-8250U
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • 1000GB HDD
  • 8GB RAM

Dell Inspiron 5570 – $649.00
  • Intel Core i5-8250U
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • 256GB SSD
  • 8GB RAM

Dell Inspiron 5570 – $649.00
  • Intel Core i5-8250U
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • 1000GB HDD
  • 8GB RAM

Retail package

The laptop comes in a standard package with the usual user manuals, AC adapter and the power cord.

Design and construction

The Inspiron 15 5570 takes a more conservative approach with clean lines, no decorations or ornaments and entirely black (or gray, depending on your color of choice) chassis, which will probably appeal to a broader audience, including users looking for a business-oriented laptop.

Measuring at just below 20 mm (19.9 mm to be exact) and tipping the scale at 2.12 kg, the Inspiron 15 5570 falls into the “fairly portable 15-inch” category.

Matte plastic is used for the entire lid giving the laptop a more simplistic look. Unfortunately, though, the surface is a fingerprint magnet and the material isn’t really resistant to torsion and bending – the center of the lid bounces back quite visibly even when small pressure is applied.

The single hinge design, on the other hand, does its job pretty well holding the screen in place but requires both hands to be used when opening the machine. As for the bottom, it uses slightly roughened hard plastic with a small vent opening for cool air intake and two smaller grills for the loudspeakers towards the front lip.

The sides come with the usual set of connectors that are typical for the price point – USB-C 3.1 (Gen 1), HDMI, RJ-45 for LAN, two USB 3.0 and a 3.5 mm audio jack on the left while the right side comes with the optical drive, USB 2.0 and an SD card reader. The port distribution is nice, although it might become a bit overcrowded on the left with cables.

The interior is where things are done differently. In contrast to the exterior, the surface around the keyboard and the touchpad is made of brushed aluminum. Once again, a big fingerprint magnet but stability is rather good. The only weak spot is right above the keyboard near the hinge – pressing it results in visible deformation although, it shouldn’t be a big concern to you. The big disappointment, however, is the input devices. The keyboard feels more like a budget type of keyboard with a bit mushy and undistinctive keystrokes at times. The same applies to the clickpad – mouse clicks are spongy, the surface isn’t optimal for gliding but to Dell’s credit, it’s reasonably responsive. Also, there’s no keyboard LED backlight, which has become a standard in the industry even for less expensive laptops.

In any case, the overall build quality is satisfactory with just small issues that need to be fixed in the next generation but we really can’t overlook the fact that the keyboard and the touchpad are somehow suboptimal for the asking price, at very least.

Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options

The laptop doesn’t require any sophisticated disassembly and gives access to all of the internals pretty easily. Just make sure you’ve removed all the screws on the bottom and the optical drive as well.

Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD

Of course, since the notebook is in the 15-inch class, it has a standard 2.5-inch HDD/SSD bay and an M.2 SSD slot. The first one is taken by a Seagate 1TB HDD while the M.2 SSD slot is occuppied by a SanDisk X400 128GB stick working on the SATA interface but you can always stick a PCIe NVMe SSD inside if you need to.

Slot Unit  
M.2 SSD 2280 slot 1 SanDisk X400 128GB M.2 SATA SSD  
2.5-inch HDD/SSD slot 1TB Seagate HDD  
RAM

The notebooks allow up to 32GB of DDR4-2400 memory using dual-channel setup of two 16GB DDR4-2400 sticks but our unit came with just a single Kingston 8GB DDR-2400 RAM chip.

Slot Unit
Slot 1 8GB Kingston DDR4-2400
Slot 2 Free
Other components

The Wi-Fi card can be found right above the two RAM slots.

The battery unit is located under the wrist rest area and it’s rated at just 42Wh.

Cooling system

The cooling solution isn’t anything out of the ordinary – just a single heatpipe connecting the CPU and GPU heatsinks. A small fan pushes the hot air out through the vents placed on the back of the machine.

Display quality

The Inspiron 5570 comes with a Full HD (1920×1080) TN panel manufactured by BOE with model number 4561N-NT15N41. With a 15.6-inch diagonal, the display scores 142 ppi and 0.18 x 0.18 mm pixel pitch. It can be considered as “Retina” at least from 60 cm.

The display offers poor viewing angles due to the nature of TN panels.

We’ve recorded a peak brightness of just 194 cd/m2 in the center of the screen and 192 cd/m2 as average across the surface with just 5% maximum deviation. The correlated color temperature at maximum brightness is a bit colder than it should be – 7350K and shoots up to 16000K when going along the grayscale, which means that colors will appear noticeably blue-ish. You can see how these values change at 140 cd/m2 (72% brightness) in the image below.

The maximum color deviation dE2000 compared to the center of the screen should be no more than 4.0 and if you are planning to do color-sensitive work, it should be lower than 2.0. But in this case, since the laptop is going to be used mostly for office work and web browsing, a deviation of 3.6 in the lower right corner isn’t problematic. The contrast ratio is exceptionally low – 325:1 before calibration and 290:1 after calibration.

Color reproduction

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

As expected, the display covers just 50% of the sRGB color gamut so half of the web-based colors are missing.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 13 ms.

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

According to our equipment, the display uses PWM only at certain levels of brightness while in other cases it’s practically non-existent. This makes the screen relatively safe to use in this regard but users with sensitive eyes will still feel some of the effects from PWM.

Blue light emissions

Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, we don’t have anything good to say about the display. Even in this price range, there are plenty of other options with better IPS panels. The Inspiron 5570 in its current configuration offers a screen with exceptionally low maximum brightness, extremely low contrast, poor viewing angles, narrow sRGB coverage, unacceptable calibration out of the box and uses PWM at certain levels of brightness, although the latter will probably affect only users with sensitive eyes.

Sound

We didn’t notice any major distortions in the low, mid and high frequencies.

Specs sheet

The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region

Acer

CPU : Intel Core i7-8550U 16
GPU : AMD Radeon 530 (4GB GDDR5) 76
Display : 15.6”, Full HD (1920 x 1080), TN
HDD/SSD : 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD, 5400 rpm
M.2 Slot : 1x PCIe NVMe M.2 slot (2280, M-key) See photo
RAM : 8GB DDR4, 2400 MHz
Dimensions : 380 x 258 x 19.90 mm (14.96″ x 10.16″ x 0.78″)
Weight : 2.12 kg (4.7 lbs)
Body material : Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum (All-plastic construction, brushed aluminum interior)
Ports and connectivity : 
  • 1x USB Type-C  : 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • 2x USB Type-A  : 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1)
  • 1x USB Type-A  : 2.0
  • HDMI  : 1.4b
  • VGA : X
  • Card reader  : SD
  • Ethernet lan  : 10/100 Mbps
  • Wi-Fi : V
  • Bluetooth : V
  • Audio jack : V
Features
  • Fingerprint reader : 
  • Web camera  : 720p@30fps
  • Backlit keyboard : X
  • Microphone :  Digital-array microphones
  • Speakers  : 2x 2W
  • Optical drive : X
  • Security Lock slot : Noble lock

Software

We used the pre-installed Windows 10 for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from Lenovo’s official support page.

Battery

Battery life isn’t bad but it’s not great either. Packing a 42Wh unit, the Inspiron 5570 scores slightly above average web browsing score and slightly below average video playback runtime. It appears that despite the energy-efficient Core i7-8550U and undemanding Full HD TN panel, the device’s battery life isn’t something it can brag about.

Of course, all tests were run using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows battery saving feature switched on.

  • Web surfing – In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

Dell Inspiron 5570 – 42 Wh 

BATTERY : 431 min.

Acer Aspire 5 (A517-51G) – 48Wh, 3220 mAh

BATTERY : 482 min. (+11.8%)

Lenovo Ideapad 520 (15″)

BATTERY :  277 min. (-35.7%)

Lenovo Ideapad 320s (15-inch) – 52.5Wh, 4610 mAh

BATTERY :  555 min. (+28.8%)

  • Video playback – For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

Dell Inspiron 5570 – 42 Wh 

BATTERY : 303 min.

Acer Aspire 5 (A517-51G) – 48Wh, 3220 mAh

BATTERY : 372 min.(+22.8%)

Lenovo Ideapad 520 (15″)

BATTERY :  220 min. (-27.4%)

Lenovo Ideapad 320s (15-inch) – 52.5Wh, 4610 mAh

BATTERY :  450 min. (+48.5%)

  • Gaming – We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.

Dell Inspiron 5570 – 42 Wh 

BATTERY : 96 min.

Acer Aspire 5 (A517-51G) – 48Wh, 3220 mAh

BATTERY : 131 min. (+36.5%)

Lenovo Ideapad 520 (15″)

BATTERY :  73 min. (-24%)

Lenovo Ideapad 320s (15-inch) – 52.5Wh, 4610 mAh

BATTERY :  213 min. (+121.9%)

CPU – Intel Core i7-8550U

The Intel Core i7-8550U is part of the new 8th Generation Kaby Lake Refresh and it’s a direct successor to the Intel Core i7-7500U from the Kaby Lake generation and the Intel Core i7-6500U from the 6th Skylake generation. With the latest alteration to the ULV (ultra-low voltage) processors, Intel doubles the core count from 2 to 4 and retaining the so-called Hyper-Threading technology, keeping the same 14nm manufacturing process and feature the same 15W TDP.

However, due to the core count change, the base frequency of the Core i7-8550U is lowered to only 1.8 GHz while Turbo Boost frequencies remain pretty high – somewhere between 3.7 – 4.0 GHz. This ensures considerably higher multi-core and single-core performance during short workloads before going back to more bearable frequencies considering the 15W TDP but most of the other specs and features remain the same.

The chip also incorporates a newer Intel Gen 9.5 integrated graphics called Intel UHD Graphics 620. The support for Google’s VP9 codec and H.265/HEVC Main 10 is still the most notable feature of the iGPU. Intel claims that the new UHD 620 chips improve the overall power consumption compared to the previous one.

  • 3D Rendering – Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Intel Core i7-8550U – Dell Inspiron 5570

PERFORMANCE : 640

Intel Core i5-8250U – Lenovo Ideapad 520 (15″)

PERFORMANCE : 553 (-6.1%)

Intel Core i5-7200U – Lenovo Ideapad 320s (15-inch)

PERFORMANCE : 320 (-22.6%)

  • Adobe Photoshop – Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

Intel Core i7-8550U – Dell Inspiron 5570

PERFORMANCE : 9.95

Intel Core i5-8250U – Lenovo Ideapad 520 (15″)

PERFORMANCE : 10.88 (+0.5%)

Intel Core i5-7200U – Lenovo Ideapad 320s (15-inch)

PERFORMANCE : 18.10 (+5.1%)

  • Raw performance – Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)

Intel Core i7-8550U – Dell Inspiron 5570

PERFORMANCE : 12415

Intel Core i5-8250U – Lenovo Ideapad 520 (15″)

PERFORMANCE : 10976 (-2.6%)

Intel Core i5-7200U – Lenovo Ideapad 320s (15-inch)

PERFORMANCE : 6350 (-10.9%)

Dell Inspiron 5570 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Dell Inspiron 5570 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Dell Inspiron 5570 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

  • 3D Rendering – Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Intel Core i5-8250U – Dell Inspiron 5570

PRICE : $550

PERFORMANCE : 591

Intel Core i7-8550U – Dell Inspiron 5570

PRICE : $882.49 (+60%)

PERFORMANCE : 639 (+3.4%)

  • Adobe Photoshop – Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

Intel Core i5-8250U – Dell Inspiron 5570

PRICE : $550

PERFORMANCE : 11.71

Intel Core i7-8550U – Dell Inspiron 5570

PRICE : $882.49 (+60%)

PERFORMANCE : 11.23 (-0.3%)

  • Raw performance – Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)

Intel Core i5-8250U – Dell Inspiron 5570

PRICE : $550

PERFORMANCE : 11680

Intel Core i7-8550U – Dell Inspiron 5570

PRICE : $882.49 (+60%)

PERFORMANCE : 12410 (+1.3%)

Fritz

Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-8550U managed to get 12.175 million moves per second. For comparison, one of the most powerful computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.

GPU – AMD Radeon 530

AMD Radeon 530 is made for the entry-level notebooks and can be used for general multimedia and light gaming. The GPU is based on the Sun GCN architecture on the 28nm node and it uses 320 or 384 shaders, depending on the version. The GPU itself operates at a maximum frequency of 1024MHz.

The memory setup consists of 4GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 2250 MHz and it’s connected to the graphics processor using a 64-bit interface. AMD Radeon 530 supports Mantle, DirectX 12, OpenGL, Vulkan and OpenCL 1.2. It also has a DDR3 variant.

  • 3DMark Fire Strike (G) : Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

AMD Radeon 530 (4GB GDDR5) – Dell Inspiron 5570

PERFORMANCE : 2104

NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (2GB GDDR5) – Acer Aspire 5 (A517-51G) 

PERFORMANCE : 3566 (+3.6%)

NVIDIA GeForce 940MX (2GB GDDR5) – Lenovo Ideapad 320s (15-inch) 

PERFORMANCE : 2149 (+0.1%)

  • Unigine Heaven 3.0 : Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)

AMD Radeon 530 (4GB GDDR5) – Dell Inspiron 5570

PERFORMANCE : 505

NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (2GB GDDR5) – Acer Aspire 5 (A517-51G) 

PERFORMANCE : 1081 (+8.6%)

NVIDIA GeForce 940MX (2GB GDDR5) – Lenovo Ideapad 320s (15-inch) 

PERFORMANCE : 653 (+2.2%)

  • Unigine Heaven 4.0 : Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)

AMD Radeon 530 (4GB GDDR5) – Dell Inspiron 5570

PERFORMANCE : 360

NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (2GB GDDR5) – Acer Aspire 5 (A517-51G) 

PERFORMANCE : 780 (+8.4%)

NVIDIA GeForce 940MX (2GB GDDR5) – Lenovo Ideapad 320s (15-inch) 

PERFORMANCE : 501 (+2.8%)

  • Unigine Superposition : Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)

AMD Radeon 530 (4GB GDDR5) – Dell Inspiron 5570

PERFORMANCE : 281

NVIDIA GeForce MX150 (2GB GDDR5) – Acer Aspire 5 (A517-51G) 

PERFORMANCE : 485 (+2.0%)

NVIDIA GeForce 940MX (2GB GDDR5) – Lenovo Ideapad 320s (15-inch) 

PERFORMANCE : 367 (+0.8%)

Gaming tests

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) HD, Low (Check settings) HD, Medium (Check settings) HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average FPS 60 fps 25 fps 14 fps

Temperatures

The stress tests that we perform don’t represent real-life usage scenarios since even the most demanding games don’t require 100% CPU and 100% GPU usage all the time but these torture tests remain the most reliable way to test the effectiveness and longevity of the cooling system.

We start off with 100% CPU load for an hour. The Core i7-8550U utilized its maximum clock speeds (3.5 GHz) for a brief moment before settling at 2.2 GHz. Operating temperatures were a bit higher than expected.

Switching on the GPU stress test didn’t result in increased CPU temperatures but resulted in throttling. The processor stepped down to 1.3 GHz while the GPU ran at around 900 MHz reaching temperatures near 90 °C. That’s exceptionally hot even for gaming notebook standards.

Temperatures on the surface were also a bit higher than we would normally expect from a laptop with this hardware. The center and the upper part of the keyboard were a bit warm to touch.

Verdict

Honestly, we don’t like bashing notebooks for no reason or make a verdict out of a nitpicking but in this case, all of the data we’ve gathered from the review can’t make a compelling reason to buy this machine. We honestly can’t think of anything that’s a solid key selling point except for the CPU itself.

Build quality isn’t exactly good – spongy keyboard, flexible lid, and all-plastic construction. Don’t get us wrong, though, there are plenty of good examples of solid plastic notebooks but this definitely isn’t one of them. Input devices aren’t impressive as well – shallow keyboard, barely usable touchpad.

Going through the specs sheet, things start to look even bleaker… literally. The display uses washed-out TN panel with extremely low brightness, contrast ratio and sRGB coverage while using PWM for regulating luminance. Color calibration is practically non-existent but luckily, our profiles can make color reproduction way better while the Health-Guard profile can eliminate PWM.

In addition, the AMD Radeon 530 just didn’t meet our expectations in terms of performance. It’s practically a re-branded Radeon R7 M460 GPU from the previous generation, which can’t beat the likes of NVIDIA’s GeForce 940MX and MX150. Interestingly enough, cooling performance is laughable as well – extremely high inner temperatures were recorded during heavy workload.

With all being said, we strongly recommend considering Lenovo’s budget Ideapad lineup – Ideapad 320s and Ideapad 520in particular and if you have a few bucks extra laying around, Acer’s Aspire 5 with Full HD IPS display, Intel’s 8th Generation CPU and GeForce MX150 will suit your needs way better. All of the aforementioned notebooks have better displays, better cooling, more powerful GPUs and better battery life (except for the Ideapad 520).

(laptopmedia.com, https://goo.gl/Vs6Yi2)

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