Review: Dell Precision 3510 Laptop

The first thing to know about the Dell Precision 3510 laptop is that, as we say in Boston, it’s wicked heavy.

But in a way that’s a good thing, because it reveals what this laptop is really good for, and not-so-good-for. It’s obviously not ideal for users that need to travel with it a lot. It’s very good for users that need to travel just a little—as in, from the cubicle to the conference room.

Here’s why: Based on our tryout at the CRN Test Center, we found that the Precision 3510 has pretty much everything a professional could want for getting a lot of work done in the office.

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[Related: Test Center Review: HP Chromebook 13]

We’ll start with the display. It’s terrific--and huge. The display is 15 inches but the bezel is minimal, and we feel like this display has more real estate than we’re used to with a 15-inch screen.

The display is also really sharp—again, the resolution actually ’looks’ a little better than we’re used to with 1,920 x 1,080 displays—and it’s super bright. We preferred keeping the brightness set to 75 percent because 100 percent was almost blinding. But even 40 percent brightness seemed adequate on this machine. And it should also be mentioned that this is a touch-screen display, which performed well in our tests.

On speed, the laptop we tested came with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM, and the thing jetted around. On web surfing, which we do a lot of, it feels like everything loaded instantly.

Combined with the touch screen and a trackpad that worked very well—much better than on another Dell laptop we tried recently—we feel like the Precision 3510 is a machine that can help us get a lot more done than on most other laptops we’ve tried. The keyboard is excellent and fairly quiet, too.

The ’killer use’ of the Precision 3510, in our view, would be for users that need a little bit of mobility for their computer but are also tired of having so much hardware on their desk—laptop, dock, external monitor, keyboard, mouse. Potentially, this machine could replace the whole setup.

Apart from the weight—it’s nearly 5 pounds--the biggest downside to the Precision 3510 is that it heats up quickly. The heaviness and heated-ness mean this isn’t a laptop that users will really want to put on their lap. And the battery life—4 hours, in our test—means this is a machine that users will need to keep plugged in a lot of the time.

But the office use case is strong, in our view, something that might be of interest to solution providers.

And that use case gets even stronger when the price is factored in--$1,867 for the Precision 3510 we tried out, which seems like a good value considering the speed and display of the machine. Particularly for those that might be looking to substitute a single machine for all of the hardware on the desk.