Experts say the Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition is a solid multimedia laptop. The base configuration offers decent performance, but the upper-end model (*Est. $1,300 and up) includes Blu-ray, discrete graphics and 1,080p 3D-compatible displays.
Great all around. The Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition handles most tasks without breaking a sweat thanks to its powerful Core i5 and i7 processor options and 8 GB of RAM. The discrete Nvidia GeForce GT650M graphics help speed up video and graphics editing and enable game playing at average detail settings. This substantial component list adds to the heft and bulk of the system, however, and the 17R SE chews through a battery charge fairly quickly. Stay close to an electrical socket.
Heavy, but otherwise comfortable. The Inspiron 17R SE's large size is offset by its backlit keyboard and responsive touchpad, which experts call wonderful. Laptop Magazine reports that portions of the keyboard can get a bit hot to the touch during extended bouts of gaming. Connection-wise, the notebook has plenty, including HDMI and four USB 3.0 ports.
It's what's inside that counts. The Inspiron's bland and bulky-looking plastic case won't impress onlookers, but the vibrant 1,080p matte display offers great views from all angles. Skullcandy speakers deliver loud, above-average audio.
Need a hand? Dell's customer service doesn't earn a PCMag.com reader award, but users don't seem to make many reliability complaints and the company offers one year of free in-home repair after a remote diagnostic. Still, Dell earns an F for phone support in a Laptop Magazine test.
Staring at the big screen. The Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition packs a solid productivity punch and discrete graphics. If you aren't looking for the Blu-ray and 3D display options found in the upper-tier models, you can save money with a base version.
1. Laptop Magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent Smith gives the Inspiron 17R Special Edition 4 stars out of 5, praising everything but the notebook's bulk and battery life. "Dell crams a lot into the Inspiron 17R SE 7720 for a rather affordable price," she says.
Review: Dell Inspiron 17R SE 7720 Review, Sherri L. Smith, Aug. 21, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent Dell's desktop-esque notebook also gets 4 out of 5 stars from Ackerman, who singles out the 1,080p screen, powerful processor and discrete graphics for various levels of praise. He adds, however, that "for the money, I'd rather have a high-end GPU and midlevel CPU than the other way around."
Review: Dell Inspiron 17R SE Review, Dan Ackerman, Aug. 15, 2012
3. PC Pro
Review Credibility: Good Muller gives the Dell a high rating, but his disappointment about the low-quality plastic case is apparent. "The 3.34 kg Inspiron is entirely constructed from plastic, the hollow-feeling body and patterned finish feel cheap, and the keyboard or the touchpad's rattly buttons leaves no doubt as to where Dell has spent its budget," he says.
Review: Dell Inspiron 17R Special Edition Review, Sasha Muller, Aug. 30, 2012