April 25, 2024


Think spectacular technology

Dell has a $199 laptop, and it looks pretty good

It’s easy to find a cheap laptop. But finding a good cheap laptop was hard — at least until the $199 HP Stream 11 came along last year with its colorful plastic design, great battery life and decent creature comforts. Now, Dell has a colorful plastic budget laptop for $199 too, debuting here at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. It’s called the Dell Inspiron 11 3000, and it looks like a worthy competitor.

Don’t expect much in the way of grunt: For $199 (or roughly £135 or AU$280, converted), you’re looking at a low-performance Intel Celeron processor, only 2GB of memory and 32GB of solid-state storage, and the older, slower 802.11n Wi-Fi standard for your wireless connectivity.

It also doesn’t have a backflipping touchscreen like the old $350 Dell Inspiron 11 3000, which could be a little confusing.

The new Dell Inspiron 11 3000.

Sean Hollister/CNET

But none of those limitations are much different than the rival HP Stream 11, and Dell is promising nearly 10 hours of battery life with those components. Plus, the keyboard and trackpad feel pretty decent, the plastic construction feels solid, and while the anti-glare screen doesn’t have great viewing angles, it feels quite passable.

If you want to pay more, you can get up to 4GB of memory, 500GB of storage (or a 128GB solid-state drive), and a quad-core CPU.

We’re definitely looking forward to testing it some more, and finding out whether Dell’s got another great budget laptop pick for you.

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