A laptop for the small business – this is how the Vostro 15 5501 is described on Dell’s official webpage. The company really wants you to know that it has a dedicated TPM 2.0 chip and a privacy cover on the camera. Also, it features the Ice Lake processor gamut of Intel, while the Tiger Lake CPUs are down the line, and should be available shortly. However, the laptops featuring the new processors might be released under a new name.

So, what do you need for a good business experience (from a laptop standpoint)? Good battery life, fast and reliable operation, and of course – security. While the Vostro series is not as fond of the latter, as Dell’s Latitude lineups, you can get a lot for your money, especially when the price is that decent.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-vostro-15-5501/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell Vostro 15 5501 – Specs


OS


Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home


Dimensions


356.1 x 234.5 x 14.1~ 17.9 mm (14.02″ x 9.23″ x 0.56″)


Body material


Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum

Ports and connectivity

  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • HDMI 1.4b
  • Card reader MicroSD
  • Ethernet LAN 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Audio jack 3.5mm Combo Jack

Features

  • Fingerprint reader optional
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone Dual-Array Microphone
  • Speakers 2x 2.5W
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Inside the box, we found some paper manuals and a 45W power brick.

Design and construction

Quite honestly, the laptop looks very nice. It has a matte finish on the surface, which is aluminum on the lid and the base, by the way. Also, the device has a profile of 14.15mm in the front and 17.90mm in the back. As for the weight – it stops the scales at 1.70 kg. Everything sounds close to perfection, but then comes the structural integrity of the chassis. While it doesn’t flex vigorously when you twist it, the material bends and stays a weird shape, which results in the laptop feeling lighter in one of the edges. Indeed you can bend it backwards and eliminate the issue, but doing it numerous times will fatigue the material, and creaks may start to appear.

Also, opening the lid with a single hand is not an option. On the bright side, though, the bezels around the display are very thin, and the top one features the camera and the hardware shutter. By the way, the lid also lifts the base a couple of millimeters above the ground, to provide comfort for typing and more airflow to the fan.

Moving to the base, we see the NumberPad-enabled keyboard. It has an optional backlight, average key travel, and somewhat clicky feedback (although it’s uneven across all keys). Also, the Arrow keys have the “Page Up” and “Page Down” sitting too close, resulting in occasional accidental misclicks.

Next goes the touchpad, which has a pretty big area for a Windows machine but is pretty much sitting at the average. By the way, when you twist the device, it registers clicks, and keep in mind these are no ghost inputs – you can definitely hear the mechanism clicking.

Turning the laptop upside-down reveals the speaker cutouts, as well as the ventilation grill. Respectively, the hot air is exhausted from behind the base, and the airflow is going straight at the bottom part of the display.

Ports

On the left side, there is the power plug, an HDMI 1.4b connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port with DisplayPort and Power Delivery functions. Switch sides, and you’ll find an RJ-45 connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, an audio jack, and a MicroSD card reader.

Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

To access the internals of this device, you need to undo 9 Phillips head screws. The two in the back corners are captive, and they slightly lift the panel, so that you can pry your way around the bottom panel, starting from there.

Since there are a lot of similarities between this machine and the Inspiron 15 5501, the cooling solution is pretty much the same. We got one heat pipe, placed at an angle, and a medium-sized fan.

Upgradability-wise, you got two RAM SODIMM slots, that support 32GB of memory in dual-channel with a speed of 3200 MHz. Interestingly, the storage options include two M.2 slots for PCIe x4 drives.

This laptop is offered with two battery variants – a 4-cell 53Wh unit, and a 3-cell 40Wh package, which is the one we got here.

Display quality

Dell Vostro 15 5501 has a Full HD IPS panel, with a model number Innolux N156HCA-EAA (CMN15E5). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 142 ppi, their pitch – 0.18 x 0.18 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 60 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Viewing angles are excellent. We provide images at different angles.

The maximum measured brightness is 238 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 222 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 11%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6400K (average) – slightly warmer than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 58% Brightness (White level = 143 cd/m2, Black level = 0.10 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1250:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Dell Vostro 15 5501’s color gamut coverage.

Sadly, its display covers just 53% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Dell Vostro 15 5501 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 32 ms.

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Dell Vostro 15 5501’s display uses PWM to adjust its brightness until 61 nits. Moreover, the pulsations have a very high frequency, which makes it comfortable for long working periods.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusions

Dell Vostro 15 5501’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and good contrast ratio. It is also generally safe for your eyes when it comes to PWM usage, but sadly, it only covers 53% of the sRGB color gamut.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Dell Vostro 15 5501 configurations with 15.6″ Innolux N156HCA-EAA (CMN15E5) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work - screen profile

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard - screen profile

Health-Guard

THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

All

Sound

Dell Vostro 15 5501’s speakers produce a sound with decent quality. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/vostro-15-5501-laptop/drivers

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with.

CPU options

This laptop can be purchased with three Ice Lake processors – the Core i3-1005G1, Core i5-1035G1, and the Core i7-1065G7.


GPU options

This means that the integrated graphics solutions are the Intel UHD Graphics, and the Iris Plus Graphics G7. Additionally, you can configure the Vostro 15 5501 with the GeForce MX330, equipped with 2GB of GDDR5 memory.


Gaming tests

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i5-1035G1 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell Vostro 15 5501 2.37 GHz (B+137%) @ 99°C 2.12 GHz (B+112%) @ 99°C 1.65 GHz (B+65%) @ 78°C
Dell Inspiron 15 5501 2.47 GHz (B+147%) @ 99°C 2.17 GHz (B+117%) @ 99°C 1.62 GHz (B+62%) @ 74°C
ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325 2.35 GHz (B+135%) @ 97°C 1.98 GHz (B+98%) @ 97°C 1.37 GHz (B+37%) @ 68°C
Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 (15) 2.59 GHz (B+159%) @ 95°C 2.15 GHz (B+115%) @ 95°C 1.66 GHz (B+66%) @ 81°C
Lenovo Ideapad 5 (15) 2.46 GHz (B+146%) @ 84°C 1.95 GHz (B+95%) @ 76°C 2.06 GHz (B+106%) @ 74°C
HP Pavilion 14 (14-ce3000) 2.91 GHz (B+191%) @ 92°C 1.82 GHz (B+82%) @ 73°C 1.49 GHz (B+49%) @ 65°C
Dell Vostro 15 3591 2.09 GHz (B+109%) @ 75°C 2.09 GHz (B+109%) @ 84°C 1.77 GHz (B+77%) @ 85°C
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-55) 1.98 GHz (B+98%) @ 79°C 1.68 GHz (B+68%) @ 79°C 1.52 GHz (B+52%) @ 79°C
Acer Swift 5 Pro (SF514-54GT) 2.88 GHz (B+188%) @ 80°C 1.62 GHz (B+62%) @ 64°C 1.65 GHz (B+65%) @ 67°C
Dell Inspiron 5593 2.53 GHz (B+153%) @ 99°C 2.14 GHz (B+114%) @ 94°C 1.88 GHz (B+88%) @ 87°C

As you can see, the Vostro 15 5501 performs exactly the same as its twin – the Inspiron 15 5501. Yet again, the cooling can’t really handle the Core i5-1035G1 working at higher clock speeds.

Comfort during full load

On the bright side, the laptop was neither too hot, nor too loud under the extreme workload.

Verdict

Interestingly, despite having pretty much the same looks as the Inspiron 15 5501, the Vostro 15 5501 has a worse build quality. While the lid and the base are both aluminum, we found the device to be a bit bendable… literally. Also, the smaller battery results in a shorter autonomous time.

Thankfully, there are still two RAM SODIMM slots, that can hold up to 32GB of DDR4 memory. Also, you can put two M.2 NVMe SSDs. And while the laptop lacks Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, it can still be charged through the USB Type-C port. And it can also output a DisplayPort signal, connect to the Internet, via the RJ-45 connector, and last but not least – the MicroSD card slot offers easy access to your photos.

Dell Vostro 15 5501’s IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and good contrast ratio. It is also generally safe for your eyes when it comes to PWM usage, but sadly, it only covers 53% of the sRGB color gamut.

All-in-all the device is not bad. It offers quite the options for business people – like the TPM chip onboard, the privacy shutter, the fingerprint reader, and so on. However, the lack of reliability in our perspective is something you should keep in mind, before making a purchase decision.

Honestly, if you’re mostly going to leave your device in your office (or home) there wouldn’t be any problem. But if you are frequently traveling, putting your notebook in a backpack with other objects – be careful.

Pros

  • Generous I/O
  • Supports 2 M.2 PCIe x4 drives
  • Features the Ice Lake CPUs from Intel and up to 32GB of memory
  • It is equipped with an SD card reader
  • Doesn’t use aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment (Innolux N156HCA-EAA (CMN15E5))

Cons

  • Bendable chassis
  • Covers only 53% of the sRGB gamut (Innolux N156HCA-EAA (CMN15E5))

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-vostro-15-5501/





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