Dell Inspiron 15R N5010 notebook

A 15.6in, Core i5-based Dell Inspiron notebook with lots of RAM and hard drive space

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Dell Inspiron 15R N5010
  • Dell Inspiron 15R N5010
  • Dell Inspiron 15R N5010
  • Dell Inspiron 15R N5010


  • 6GB DDR3 SDRAM, 640GB hard drive, comfortable to use, reasonably good battery life


  • Screen shimmering was noticeable when viewed at certain angles, creaky build quality

Bottom Line

Plenty of RAM and hard drive space make the Dell Inspiron 15R N5010 a good option for anyone who wants a notebook that can also be used as a desktop replacement computer. However, its build quality could be better, as we noticed some annoying creaking in its base, and its screen suffered from shimmering when viewed from certain angles.

Would you buy this?

Dell's Inspiron 15R N5010 is a 15in notebook with an appealing design and a well rounded configuration. This Dell notebook weighs 2.6kg and is aimed at users who want something that can be comfortably used on their lap, as well as act as a replacement for a desktop replacement.

New model: Read our review of the ivy Bridge-based 2012 model Dell Inspiron 15R 5520.

Dell Inspiron 15R N5010: specifications and performance

The Inspiron 15R N5010 runs an Intel Core i5-430M CPU with two cores, Hyper-Threading and a clock speed of 2.26GHz, but the most impressive specifications are the notebook's 6GB of DDR3 SDRAM and 640GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue hard drive. This is more RAM and hard drive space than we're used to seeing in a mid-range notebook, and it gives the Inspiron 15R N5010 excellent multitasking abilities as well as lots of head-room for image manipulation and other memory-intensive tasks. It runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit edition, so all the memory is available.

The Inspiron 15R N5010 has two memory slots. Our model was furnished with one 4GB module and one 2GB module.

Performance tests showed the Inspiron 15R N5010's speed to be adequate for office and multimedia pursuits. Its 2.27GHz frequency is the lowest of all the available Core i5 CPUs (except for the low-voltage models), but the difference between 2.26GHz, 2.4GHz and 2.53GHz will be negligible in real-world tasks. In our Blender 3D test, the Inspiron 15R N5010 recorded a time of 60sec, which is only 5sec slower than the Dell Vostro 3700 and Samsung R580, both of which use the 2.4GHz Core i5-520M CPU. Its iTunes MP3 encoding time was 4sec slower than the Vostro 3700.

You won't really lose too much time when performing everyday encoding tasks, and even more taxing tasks such as DVD ripping will be accomplished in reasonably good time. It took us 1hr 10min to compress our test DVD to a 1.5GB Xvid file, which is only 5min slower than a high end laptop such as Fujitsu's LifeBook E780, which runs an Intel Core i7-620M.

Graphics performance out of the installed ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 adapter is only middle of the road; it recorded a score of 4572 in 3DMark06. It's a low score for a 15in laptop with a $1500 price tag — even the Samsung R580 recorded a quicker score of 7412 in the same test with a GeForce GT 330M graphics adapter. Nevertheless, it's more than enough graphics performance for HD video processing and it will even be able to run some older games.

The hard drive recorded a fast transfer rate of 29 megabytes per second, thanks in part to its high density. Once it gets substantially filled with files, that figure will drop slightly. We're not fans of the way Dell has partitioned the large drive, leaving only 60GB free for the operating system and applications on the primary partition. We had only 20GB free after installing our benchmarking software.

Dell Inspiron 15R N5010: design

The Inspiron 15R N5010 comes with a roomy keyboard that has firm yet easy to press buttons. It's not tiring to type on it for long periods of time, but the keys do make a hollow thud when you hit them. A number pad is located on the right side of the keyboard, and although it's a little squished, it comes in handy if you regularly use the calculator. The Function keys are reversed (like the ones we've seen on HP's Mini 5101 notebook) and this allows you to change brightness, volume and other tasks without having to first press the Fn button. If you're used to hitting F5 to refresh your Web browser, you'll have to remember to hold down Fn as well.

The touchpad is large, the keyboard feels good to type on and the design of the unit is nice and clean.

A large touchpad allows you to perform various gestures with two fingers: it supports two-finger scrolling, pinching and rotating. You can also set it up so that you can use one finger circular scrolling (a.k.a ChiralMotion scrolling). The left- and right-click buttons are soft and don't make a sound when you press them — we love that.

There aren't any extra buttons above the keyboard; you'll only find the power button. The palm rest has a brushed design and it looks good. It's very smooth though and could become sticky and uncomfortable to use during hot weather.

Sparseness in the design is also evident when you look at all four sides of the base. The ports and slots are well spaced all around the base, including on the spine, instead of being mainly crammed on side. The front has nothing but two speakers, which are reasonably loud and emit great sound for movies and music. The right side has a built-in DVD burner, an eSATA port, a 10/100 Ethernet port and an SD card slot; the left side has a USB port, microphone and headphone ports and an HDMI port; the rear has two more USB 2.0 ports, a VGA port and the power connection.

We found the body of the Inspiron 15R N5010 to be a little creaky, especially on the left side. In this area, the palm rest cover also made a ticking sound when slight pressure was applied to it, and this was very annoying. We think it has something to do with the palm rest brushing up against the heat sink. This works in conjunction with a fan to extract the heat generated by the system, and the fan makes a loud whirr when the CPU is under load. There are also vents on the base of the system and overall we found the Inspiron 15R N5010 to run cool, without much heat coming through the base.

Dell Inspiron 15R N5010: screen

The screen is 15.6 inches and it has a native resolution of 1366x768. It sits about two centimetres in from the spine, which gives the notebook good balance and a slightly different look to the norm. It has a red lid and a black bezel and these colours match nicely with the silver palm rest. There's a webcam located above the screen, directly in the centre, and it's accompanied by a built-in microphone. The bezel and the screen are very glossy though, and reflections can be distracting while you work. In dark environments, we noticed a shimmering in the screen when looking at white backgrounds while the screen was leaned back just past 90 degrees. The shimmering was not noticeable when the screen leaned forward.

Dell Inspiron 15R N5010: battery life

The Inspiron 15R N5010 has a 48 Watt-hour battery installed on its spine and it lasted 2hr 20min in our video rundown test. In this test, we disable power management, turn up the brightness and enable the wireless radio. This is a decent time for a Core i5-based 15.6in notebook and you'll be able to get even more life out of it if you use a power management plan and lower brightness.


While we aren't too impressed with the Inspiron 15R N5010's build quality and screen, its specifications make it a good option for anyone who wants a mobile desktop replacement system. It has plenty of RAM and hard drive space and it's also very comfortable to use.

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"The Function keys are reversed (like the ones we've seen on HP's Mini 5101 notebook) and this allows you to change brightness, volume and other tasks without having to first press the Fn button. If you're used to hitting F5 to refresh your Web browser, you'll have to remember to hold down Fn as well."

Or Alt+F4 to close a window, or F11 to full-screen your web browser, or any other use of the F-keys. I really hope this can easily be switched back. Does anyone know if it can?

himanshu sapehia


i have bought a DELL INSPRON N5010............but it is good enough?



There is a easy way to return normal function keys... you can make it through control panel or BIOS. Everything was wrote in instruction.



I bought my dell N5010 notebook on 10 Jan 2011. I am really upset! There are FAN NOISE, HDD, ODD, Keyboard noise problems and also BATTERY LIFE IS SHORT.with %100 battery charge app. ~ 2hours or less than 2 hours. wireless and bluetooth are closed. cable connection is used. Battery saving performance plan is set. Just Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer application is open and just surfing forums about this problem not watching video, listening music and no more applications on task manager and so on if you use some more applications it goes less 2 hours ~1 hour 45 min ( Could it be because of non- stop working fan?)

I have also shared the other problems that I've faced with DELL n5010 on DELL community web site topic " n5010 - fan is very loud "

There is also a VIDEO about these problems on youtube topic " Dell Inspiron N5010 FAN NOISE " "

Dan Dascalescu


The real product name of this laptop, as shown in BIOS and in Windows System Information, is Dell N5010. For its price, this is a good laptop, but it can also piss you off if you are peculiar about things:

1. For no reason at all, the fan will ramp up and whir every 2-3 minutes for about 20 seconds, even if there is no spike in CPU load. This can become really annoying in a quiet environment, such as a classroom or library. I've updated to the latest BIOS (A12), and the problem is still there. One possible way to fix this is using a tool called "i8kfangui", but installing it on Win7 requires some hackery (see the forums on its site).

2. For a 15.6" screen, the resolution is low: 1366x768. Business laptops have standard 1400x900 for 14" screens. I've had one for years and that resolution was great for the screen size. The screen is glossy and will reflect light. Outdoors, it's almost impossible to see anything, unless you hunch over the screen to shade it. POOR vertical viewing angles. 20 degree off the perpendicular direction to the screen, colors begin to shift visibly: whiteout if you look at the screen from above, darkened if you look from a bit below.

3. The keyboard can be really annoying:
- silly reassignment of Fn keys to perform laptop-specific functions (volume up/down, Wi-Fi on/off etc.) instead of doing those by pressing Fn+F#. Configurable from the BIOS though.
- besides that, the F# keys are labeled a faint blue on black, and are barely visible in a well-lit room. The reflection of the screen on the glossy laptop finish near the hinge doesn't help. The visible labeling is for the laptop function keys (Wi-fi on/off, brightness up/down etc.). This shows how the laptop is aimed at those who don't know what F5 does.
- odd placement of the PrintScreen key between Insert and Delete
- narrow trackpad buttons, often annoying to hit with the thumb
- the arrow keys are too thin, half the height of normal keys
- after having used laptops without a numeric keypad for the past few years, the keypad is not only useless; it gets in the way. where I expect Backspace to be, there's now Keypad Minus.
- there is no Break key (useful for Win+Break to get the Windows System properties, or Ctrl+Break in command line applications)
- there is no context menu key (equivalent to right click on the focused control)

So make sure these things don't bother you, or you'll hate the laptop. Try to get a feel for the keyboard and trackpad at a local store.



Yeah I got it also and I'm loving it. Been a Dell person my self for almost 10 years now. The only thing I HATE about it is the touch pad placement under the letter "M". I constantly touch it by accident when typing and place the cursor where i don't want it to be. Other than that A+ laptop



I have purchased Dell N5010 and i dont know how to set the screen resolution can anybody help.



Mannnnn i have dell inspiron having 4 gb ram
I think the Core 2 duo is best then Core-5 with same n5010 blue

mohamed hakim


i just got this N5010

with core i3

4 GB ram

320 GB HDD

Display adapter : ATI 1024 MB dedicated model ( hd 5470 )

it works great for me

but i did not yet try it in many games

just nfs undercover , battlefield2 , medal of honor 2010

all settings maximum and it works good

but the battery does not last long

i can not compute it in an accurate way

i guess its like 2 hours or something



Dell inspiron n5010 makes too much noise while using skype....there is a strange sound from the other end....and the noise is heard at the other end as well....any solution?...I still have the warranty...r they going to fix the problem or replace with a new one...?im so frustrated,,,

Adnan Younas


I got Dell N5010.
But plz tell me how can i get drivers for window Xp.....



pavir try to update the network driver for your n5010 go to and u will get it over there ok . do not install the one which comes in cd package with ur dell n5010 , try updated on from . i hope it will work then same i had this problem but it is solved

hello brother


yeah i have purchased this one but just after a month the usb port on spine(the left one) seemsto be restarting after every 5 min. The pd displays the autoplay option after every 5 min. nd its making me feel really annoying.If anyone can just help me out



I've had this laptop for about 8 months now and it's horrible! It heats up like a monster even when I'm just web browsing, impossible to use on my lap because I don't want my legs to set on fire. Also it makes clicking noises where the left palm rests. One of the RAM chips burnt out causing sporadic BSODs like 2 months after having bought it. And to top it all off the battery has stopped working, it can no longer store charge. WHAT DID YOU SELL ME DELL?!



I bought it about 1 yr ago, I thought that I treat it badly till I read here the problems users have,

yes that's right,it's noisy, fan is always on with no occasion, the battery is weak. my one lasts for less than 1 hr with no vedio.and it's heavy(2.6 kg is heavey compared with other PC's)

I read alot about this PC in many forums, It causes alot of problems,

It doesn't work with win XP unless you change SATA sittings, and if you do, there are no drivers for win XP in dell site.people who need these drivers try to see (

with all of that believe me friends, I love it very much.




yeah I have had this laptop for about 8 months and mine did keep overheating and shutting down bc of it...turns out there was a little but of dust stuck in one of the vents. Apparently this is a common problem with the inspirons in general. You might want to blow some pressurized air (or even just from a manual bike pump)to blow out the dust, that completly solved my overheating problem. So just a warning: this laptop does overheat easily.



i have this lappy for LAST 8 months and i have no significant problems or issues. ihave core i5 4gb ram 500gb hd 1 gb ati 550v graphics with 6 cell li-ion battery giving super performance.
i m gamemaniac and i played al most hi end latest hd games like nfs hp,shift2.tdu2,blur etc its run smoothly with great performance it plays full hd videos with great surround sounds on 720hd screen. only drawback is its unsatisfied battery life it has only 2.20hours but if use 9 cell battery its extend to 3.30 hrs its quite useful. so at conclusion its power-pack all rounder in middle end with price tag of 42000 inr.

thank you



This notebook is very good



After installing windows I losted wireless connection. I watched that network adapter working good. But I am failed to fix the problem



i have dell inspiron battery unplugged time is too low,about 45-50 min with ful brightness and with dim only 1 i can save the battery charge of my lap??



Worst laptop ever! Worst battery! Can't even withstand 45 minutes... Battery began to fail on the day my warrenty got over.. Worst keyboard and worst hard disk! had them both replaced! Turns off all of a sudden when you are in the middle of some important work! Occasional blue screen errors! Please don't buy from dell.. Go for sony.. or atleast hp! I am never ever gonna buy from dell again..



OK Thanks



I have a Dell Inspiron N 5010 Laptop, Accidental damage has happened to display. Display is looking blurr. Can you please share how much will it cost to change the display in India.



"When i insert the os cd and restart my computer to boot from it, i get to the boot order menu, and give the cd rom as the device to boot from, but it just doesnt boot from there!! instead, it boots from the hard drive, and starts loading the OS....mine is dell inspiron n5010 model....plz help me"



This computer has known motherboard (which causes the overheating), and hard-drive issues. Frequently, they have to replace both parts within a year. I originally purchased this computer and one for my mother. Both were out within the year. The one I have now has already needed the hard-drive reinstalled twice and the motherboard once and the fans once. This product is made very cheaply and I am not rough with my computers. Make sure you buy a GOOD warranty you will be using it.



fucking series...dont prefer this.......



i have 5010 .
my screen led is bad now. it dont work.i have to replace it.what do i do? what kind of scrren shoud buy?tkz



I bought a dell inspiron n5010.... upset upset upset all the time
with in 6 months my battery has gone with in 1 year speakers were gone and fan is also making so much of noise... I dont prefer



I'm also a victim of this lappy. Used to turn of with blue screen with fatal error message. Then touch pad issues. Over heating. Automatic power on. Speakers gone. Beep sound with blank black screen with no booting. Wholly crap.
This is the perfect model you can go for if you want to become an expert in laptop repairing. Never DELL again.



I have owned my Dell Inspirion now for about six years now. This past year it was infected with a very nasty virus that prompted me to overhaul it completely. In doing this I upgraded the processor from M430 to M520. Nine cell battery and 240G SSD. With these improvements it is very responsive, quick to boot, longin, video, music , word processing, spreadsheets, everything you could possibly think of. Because the way the Dell Inspirion is built I was able to install this upgrades myself. There was only one exception, SSD is only 240GB, replacing a 500GB SATA it was worth the sacrifice now that cloud computing has taken hold.

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Just about everything
The overheating problem
• • •

I've been using this computer for 4 years now, and it's still in fine working condition. My model has an upgraded graphics card and only 4GB of RAM compared to the model reviewed by PC World, but I still have never had any problems running decent games. Don't think Crysis would work though, so I haven't tried it. Also a nice amount of customization options. I prefer working with the function keys as the default, and holding the Fn key to change brightness or switch media tracks. I've even bought a new keyboard that was easily installed once the old one had problems after 3 years of solid use.

On the other hand, especially in summer, it has MAJOR problems with overheating. The hard drive heats up, and due to poor product design the graphics card is right next to it. This means that while playing any graphics-intensive game, and sometimes even when doing simple day-to-day stuff, it will simply overheat and shut down instantly.

But this problem can be avoided by pulling the case off, cleaning the dust out and making sure the heat sinks are still properly in place every 4/5 months, and having a cooling pad and/or using it in a cool environment. The cooling pad makes it SLIGHTLY less comfortable to use on my lap, but worth it.

Overall a great laptop, but not being able to use it in summer is a bit of a downer. Too many negative reviews based solely on the overheating, small details like apparent fan buzzing? and getting a virus, which I'm pretty sure isn't the computer's fault.




Graphics and Speed
• • •

I've had one of these laptops for three years and I push it to the limit in terms of what I do: high resource requiring vidya games. I haven't had a problem with a single game I've tried to play which is saying something for the value of it. The Keyboard is perfect for me, and the tracpad is one of the better that I've ever used. I had to replace the motherboard once which is the only thing keeping me from giving this that last half a star, but I knew that could be an issue coming in, and it lasted long enough for what I did with it.

Niyat patel



nothing good
every thing badd
• • •

worst laptop ever...having overheating issue,fan,battery prob.,DONT....DONT buy this laptop...go for asus 1000% better then next laptop will be of asus...

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