Dell Inspiron 620s review
By Eric Ernest | PC World India | Published: 09:00, 14 September 2011
The Dell Inspiron 620 desktop cabinet comes in two sizes, in the mini-tower form and the slim-tower form. We received the latter form design - Dell Inspiron 620s (slim), with a black front bezel, for the review. Apart from the cabinet, the Inspiron 620s comes with the following components: a 18.5 inch monitor, a Dell USB keyboard and Dell MS111 USB Optical Mouse. Speakers are not included in this bundle and will have to be purchased separately.
Don’t fret if black isn't your colour, as the series comes in 4 other colours, namely Solid White, Deep Purple, Formosa Red and Peacock Blue. Let's check how the Dell Inspiron 620s, in its space saving avatar, fares through our tests.
The cabinet has a fair build quality. The slim tower cabinet comes with a glossy black front bezel bordered by a silver outline. The rest of the cabinet's exterior is black in colour and measures 14.9x4.2x17.01 inches. The cabinet has four rubber stands at its base and a further four at its right side, allowing for the cabinet to be placed vertically upright or horizontally on its side, as per the user's space requirements.
There are two front flip panels, positioned at the top of the cabinet (when placed vertically), which open up to reveal the optical drive (behind the left panel) and a number of ports - 2 USB ports, a headphone and microphone jack and a multi card reader slot (behind the right panel). The respective panels can be opened by pressing the buttons, with three imprinted circular depression points, positioned right above each panel. It has to be noted that the panels, especially the left panel, are rather flimsy. On trying to open the left panel slot manually, one of its hinges just broke off. However it could be that this might just have been a peculiar feature of the review unit we received.
The Dell Logo is displayed in the front of the cabinet, with the Inspiron logo imprinted along the left side of the cabinet. The power button is positioned below the Dell logo, with the hard drive access indicator LED positioned below the power button. When switched on, the power button, on the underneath, glows red momentarily and then continuously gives out a greyish glow. There are two air vents situated along the left side of the cabinet. The top vent is positioned along the same horizontal axis as the exhaust fan that is placed on top of the processor. There are smaller vertically oriented vents located along the front lower right and left sides of the cabinet.
As with most other cabinets, you have to remove the two screws on the removable left cabinet slide to access it's interior. For a small factor cabinet, it's interiors are spacious enough and the wires are well directed around the motherboard. Dell has done a good job of wiring the innards, keeping the clutter to a minimum and thereby providing for a clean organisation, with all the hardware modules, such as memory, graphics card and hard drive, being easily accessible. There is an exhaust fan located on top of the processor as well as in front of the hard disk. The cabinet comes with a 250W power supply.
The hard disk is placed on a blue tray which is very easy to remove. This is a better alternative than having screws to hold the hard disk in place. The power supply is positioned at the bottom of the cabinet, which is a good choice as it provides for better ventilation in the cabinet's interior.
The Dell IN1930 monitor comes with a base stand, on which the monitor can be easily mounted, a power plug and a software CD. The monitor has the following dimensions: 13.7x17.6x 6.5 inches. The monitor can be tilted towards the front and the back, up to almost 4 degrees and 21 degrees respectively. The dell logo is displayed in the middle of the lower part of the screen bezel. The monitor's power button is located towards the bottom right section of the bezel, with 4 'Menu' buttons that allow you to edit the brightness, contrast and other screen related aspects located on top of it.
The 18.5 inch widescreen LED backlit display is bordered by a black glossy bezel. The screen itself is not glossy, so you don’t have to worry about screen reflection, and is bright. The viewing angles are relatively decent, from both horizontal and vertical viewing angles. You do notice a colour distortion; there is a pinkish bronze hue to the picture, when looking horizontally at the monitor from an angle of ~40 degrees, to the left or right of the central focal point, and beyond. While the same holds true when viewing the monitor from the top vertical axis, the picture gives off a darkish hue when looking at the screen from the bottom vertical angle.
Keyboard & Mouse Usability
The dell mouse works well, although it doesn’t score too much on its look and feel quotient. Having said that, the absence of a "premium" feel is not a negative point per se, unless of course you are a stickler for style, as this basic two button optical scroll mouse will still do the job at hand.
In my opinion, the keyboard's comparatively soft tactile response didn’t feel that great, and consequently typing for longer periods on it was not that comfortable an experience. The keyboard comes in the standard 104 key format, although the keys did seem to be a bit too close to each other, resulting in me typing the wrong alphabet at times. Dell could have really done with a keyboard with well spaced keys, a chiclet keyboard perhaps.
The Inspiron 620s features a Intel second generation 3.30 Ghz Intel Core i3-2120M (Sandy Bridge) processor (which doesn’t support Intel’s Turbo Boost technology), 4GB DDR3 RAM (upgradeable to 6 GB), AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics card and a 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive. While this model has a DVD player, other models in the Inspiron 620 series feature a Blu-ray combo drive, a creative sound card and either an i5 2nd generation Sandy Bridge processor or an Intel Pentium G620 Processor (2.6GHz).
The Dell Inspiron 620s provides for a handy layout of the ports. At the back panel, it has 6 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI port, VGA port, Gigabit Ethernet port, headphone and microphone jacks, and Front l/R line out connector, and 4 expansion card slots (of which one is occupied by the AMD Radeon Graphics card). The absence of ports such as a USB 3.0 port does take some of the shine out of the Inspiron 620s handy feature of having a good number of well placed ports.
The Inspiron 620S comes pre installed with Windows 7 Home Basic (Service Pack 1). A good aspect of the 620s is that you don’t find as much extra software, sometimes also referred to as bloatware, as you do with other computer models. You get the McAfee Security Centre with a 15 month subscription, Dell DataSafe LocalBackup, Dell Sync, Dell Support Centre - which includes Dell PC checkup and Nero Control Centre. Also thrown in is Dell Stage, which is a suite that includes a weather widget, photo, video and music programs that appears on screen as tiles on a vertical tab at the bottom of the screen.
It has to be pointed out that while the Dell Stage tab can be an irritant for some users, it can be closed. It has be pointed that many of these features are redundant as Windows already provides for the very same functionality.
Also included in the pre-installed software list is the Microsoft Office Starter 2010 edition, CyberLink Power DVD 9.5, Zinio Reader 4, Roxio Creator Starter Edition, the Wild Tangent games app and Skype.
Based on the results of our synthetic benchmarks, this desktop should have no problem in performing most of the multiple processor and memory intensive tasks - all tasks except gaming. Given the small factor cabinet and the entry level graphics card, this is not an issue as this desktop was never intended to be used primarily for such purposes. If you needed any further clarifications on this desktop's gaming performance, here are the scores for Far Cry 2 and Metro 2033 (both run at maxed out settings and at 1366x768 resolution): 14.38 FPS and 5 FPS respectively. If you are going to game, playing at low resolutions and detail settings is advisable.
The Dell Inspiron 620s notched a very good score of 131 on the Worldbench 6 benchmark. During synthetic testing, the desktop's hard disk recorded an average read speed of 98.7 MB/s and recorded a PC Mark Vantage score of 7261.
Watching both 720p and 1080p HD videos was comfortable. As the desktop didn’t come bundled with any speakers, listening through headphones is the only option available.
Throughout our testing, the 620s did a good job of keeping itself cool, a positive characteristic given the cabinet's slim form factor. When we ran the Aida 64 Stress tests, with all applicable modules being stressed, the small factor cabinet did a very good of keeping the interiors cooled: the CPU cores didn't register a temperature beyond 69 degrees Celsius, and the hard disk's temperature didn’t cross 37 degrees Celsius. Moreover, the desktop was barely audible during operation: even during the stress tests, you could only hear a slight murmur, and that too only when you had your ears right next to the cabinet.
Desktops have the inherent advantage of being more customisable/upgradable than laptops, and the same hold true for the Inspiron 620s. Opening the case is easy enough, and all the components, such as memory modules, and hard disk are easily accessible.
If you do feel like upgrading the graphics hardware, you can add a graphics card in the half height bracket or the so called low profile HTPC graphics card. Ofcourse you could set your sights higher and get the best graphics card out there, but the profile of the Inpiron's small factor cabinet doesn’t encourage such an upgrade - because of the reduced space, heat from the graphics card will most probably become an issue you will have to deal with.
This is not a downside to the system, but just my personal observation, that having an extra slot or two for additional memory modules would have been a very handy addition.