There was a time that if you wanted to buy a Dell notebook you’d have to order it online and wait for it to be delivered. Thankfully, those days of waiting are over as in recent months Dell has changed its business model to incorporate in-store sales. It’s now possible to buy a Dell from places such as Tesco and PC World.

The Dell Inspiron 1525 is a great machine that has been designed to offer style – you can choose from a wide variety of different coloured lids – and performance at a reasonable price. For instance, our review model has a list price of £550 (inc. VAT). However, if you’re willing to accept a slightly less powerful spec, you can pick the 1525 up for as little as £399, which is a great bargain.

At this higher price, though, you’ll find a mid-range Intel Core 2 Duo processor, the 2.1GHz T8100, which is backed by 2048MB of memory and 160GB hard drive. This is powerful enough for most occasions and we found this a great machine to use for daily tasks.

The build quality is excellent. The case is made from plastic that has a silver finish, as does the keyboard, which feels solid to the touch. The hinges holding the 15.4-inch screen in place are big and on our sample, firm to the touch.

The screen is a Super-TFT panel and while it is only supported by an integrated graphics solution, it is a bright, widescreen, display with an even tone across its width. We found it great for running multiple windows at once, as well as for watching movies.

Weighing 2.7kg, the Inspiron is a semi-portable machine that can be carried around on a fairly regular basis. When it comes to battery life, you won’t be disappointed. We managed to get well over 4 hours from the battery, which is something of a surprise in a budget machine.

The keyboard is a pleasure to use. The keys are large and well spaced. The board is firmly attached, so there is little or no movement as you type. There is even a small row of media keys above the keyboard you can use with your music and video files.

There is a button that loads Dell’s own MediaDirect function. This is a small program that loads your videos, pictures, music and even provides access to your contacts and diary without booting into Windows. If you don’t wish to use this, the notebook runs Windows Vista Home Premium Edition, so you’ll find Media Centre installed as standard.

Extra features comprise of four USB ports, standard Ethernet and Wi-Fi and a DVD rewriter drive. There is a basic array of software too, including Microsoft Works and Roxio Easy Media Creator, so you won’t need to budget for productivity software.


At one time, Dell was the market leader in terms of notebook design and innovation. However, in recent times this simply hasn’t been the case but with the Inspiron 1525 we feel the company is finally back on track. This notebook offers a great machine at an affordable price and is currently one of our favourite family-sized notebooks.