Dell has the perfect first laptop for the whole family — especially at $300

High-end Windows laptops are always a tempting choice when you're shopping for a new PC, but spending thousands certainly isn't a requirement to land a worthwhile device. 

Budget laptops come in all shapes and sizes, and the sheer amount of them on the market can make it difficult to find something worth your time. Just like at the high end of laptop pricing spectrum, there are plenty of pitfalls to avoid on the value end.

At a minimum, you want to be sure that the laptop has enough performance to keep up with your demands, you want at least a 1080p display, and you want fast and spacious storage to hold your files without entirely relying on the cloud.

The Dell Inspiron 15 (3535) meets and exceeds these requirements, which is a testament to how far Dell's affordable Inspiron brand has come in recent years. It's a device that will cut through productivity, homework, and office work around the house, especially thanks to the number pad.

It's usually priced at $450, but a limited-time deal has the Inspiron 15 (3535) down to $300 at Dell. This might be the perfect time to pick up an affordable laptop for the family.

Dell Inspiron 15 (3535) | was $450now $300 at Dell

Dell Inspiron 15 (3535) | was $450 now $300 at Dell

Dell's Inspiron 15 (3535) boasts an AMD Ryzen 5 7520U CPU, 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, and a 15.6-inch FHD display with a 120Hz refresh rate and anti-glare finish. The inclusion of a number pad and an SD card reader makes it great for general productivity, homework, and office tasks around the house.

✅Perfect for: First-time Windows laptop users, students, and general productivity work.

❌Avoid it if: You want a dedicated gaming laptop or something more portable than a 15-inch display.

👀 Alternative deal: $485 at Amazon (24GB RAM/1TB SSD)

Some surprising features for a $300 laptop

The number pad on the Inspiron 15 (3535) is a major bonus for productivity work. (Image credit: Dell)

The discounted Inspiron 15 (3535) I'm highlighting here has an AMD Ryzen 5 7520U processor (CPU) with 4 cores, 8 threads, and a clock speed up to 4.3GHz. The chip was released in 2022 and it's roughly in line with Intel's 11th Gen Core i5 G7 mobile CPU.

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That means it will easily handle lighter productivity tasks around the house or at school. The Ryzen 5 chip's integrated Radeon graphics are just powerful enough that you might be able to enjoy lighter games like Rocket League and Minecraft; just don't expect it to be anywhere near a powerhouse gaming laptop.

The Ryzen 5 CPU is combined with 8GB of LPDDR5-5500MHz RAM and a 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe solid-state drive (SSD). It would be nice to have a bit more RAM, but at least it's rather speedy memory. On the storage side, 512GB should be plenty since you won't likely be using the laptop for any heavy photo editing or AAA gaming with large file sizes.

For a $300 laptop, the inclusion of a 120Hz refresh rate for the display is surprising. Refresh rates above 60Hz are usually reserved for more premium Windows laptops, as they provide a more comfortable viewing experience. The 15.6-inch screen isn't particularly bright at 250 nits, but the anti-glare finish should help make up for it.

I also love the inclusion of an SD card reader for removable storage and the number pad for Office 365. Laptops with number pads remain a lot more popular than most might assume, and it's not always easy to find a PC with the extra keys. The Inspiron 15 otherwise has USB-C 3.2 (Gen 1), two USB-A, a 3.5mm audio jack, and an HDMI port for video out.

Dell estimates that the 41Wh battery can go for more than 11 hours, but that's a number that's no doubt inflated. I'd place it more likely at around five to seven hours, which is still respectable at the discounted $300 price. This is a great laptop that the whole family can use, and prices for Dell PCs actually worth your time really don't get much cheaper.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.