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Dell Precision 3581 Review: Performance, Design And Screen

Tailored for professionals who require reliability and power, the Precision 3581 is a versatile machine that can handle demanding applications with ease.

Whether you’re a creative professional, engineer, or data analyst, this laptop offers the tools needed to tackle intensive tasks.

It’s designed with a focus on performance and scalability, ensuring that it not only meets your current needs but also adapts to your future requirements.

Dell Precision 3551 Review


  • Fast Eight-Core Processor: One of the most lauded features of the Precision 3551 is its speedy eight-core processor, ensuring robust performance for demanding tasks.
  • Exceptional Battery Life: This laptop also stands out for its impressive battery life, a crucial factor for professionals and students who need to work on the go.
  • Decent Workstation Performance: Despite its position at the lower end of Dell’s mobile workstation lineup, it’s recognized as a decent workstation, capable of handling a variety of tasks.


  • Lackluster Screen with No 4K Option: The screen quality of the Precision 3551 is considered a drawback, particularly the absence of a 4K resolution option, which might be a deal-breaker for users who prioritize display quality.
  • Single USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 Port Limitation: Another downside is the design choice where the supplied AC adapter uses the sole USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port, which could be inconvenient for users who rely on multiple connections.
  • Base Model’s Limited Performance: The entry-level model, priced at $939, is perceived as underpowered for its segment, likened to bringing “a spork to a gunfight” in terms of its capability relative to the competition.
  • Outdated Design: The visual and structural design of the laptop is considered outdated, which might not appeal to users looking for a more modern aesthetic.
  • Cost Concerns for High-End Configurations: Although the Precision 3551 is positioned as a budget-friendly option, the price can escalate significantly for higher-end configurations, potentially making it too expensive for its intended market segment


Laptop Class: Workstation

  • Processor: Intel Core i9-10885H
  • Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
  • RAM (as Tested): 32 GB
  • Boot Drive Type: SSD
  • Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested): 512 GB
  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Native Display Resolution: 1920 by 1080
  • Touch Screen: Yes
  • Panel Technology: IPS
  • Variable Refresh Support: None
  • Screen Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • Graphics Processor: Nvidia Quadro P620
  • Graphics Memory: 4 GB
  • Wireless Networking: 802.11ax, Bluetooth
  • Dimensions (HWD): 0.98 by 14.1 by 9.3 inches
  • Weight: 4.16 lbs
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
  • Tested Battery Life (Hours: Minutes): 16:50

1. Size and Portability:

Compact Dimensions: Measuring 13.6 x 9.0 x 0.46 inches, the Precision 5680 fits the bill for a portable laptop, easily sliding into a backpack.

Lightweight: At just 4.49 pounds, it’s impressively light for its class, making it an easy travel companion.

2. Build Quality and Design:

Strong Chassis: Typical of Dell’s Precision 5000 series, it boasts an all-metal design, ensuring minimal flex and a sturdy feel.

Protective Lid: The rigid lid offers good screen protection, a crucial aspect for a laptop that might see a lot of movement.

3. Display:

16:10 Aspect Ratio: A step up from the narrower 16:9, offering more vertical space.

UHD OLED Screen: The optional UHD (3840 x 2400) OLED screen is a standout, with vivid colours and excellent contrast, ideal for colour-sensitive work.

Touch Support: Adds to the versatility of the laptop.

4. Port Selection:

Limited Ports: The Precision 5680’s port options are somewhat limited, especially for its size, with two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, a universal audio jack, HDMI 2.0, a SmartCard reader, an SD card reader, and one non-Thunderbolt USB-C port.

Lack of USB-A Ports: The absence of traditional USB-A ports might be a downside for some, though Dell includes a USB-C to USB-A dongle.

5. Connectivity:

Wireless Features: It comes with an Intel AX211 wireless card, supporting Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

6. Keyboard and Touchpad:

Keyboard Feel: The keyboard offers a satisfying tactile experience, though the key travel is short.

Layout Quirks: The half-height up and down arrow keys can be confusing, and there’s no number pad, which might disappoint some users.

Backlighting: The white backlighting is a practical feature, enhancing visibility in low-light conditions.

Fingerprint Reader: Integrated into the power button for added security.

7. Webcam and Touchpad:

Webcam: The 1080p webcam supports IR and Windows Hello facial recognition.
Touchpad Size: The touchpad is generously sized and user-friendly, though it lacks a pointing stick or alternative mouse buttons, unlike some competitors like the ThinkPad workstation.

8. Dell Precision 5680 Upgrades

Accessing the Internal Components:

Removing the Bottom Panel: Start by unscrewing the Torx T6 screws. Once these are out, you’ll need to gently pry the panel from the back. A plastic trim pry tool is recommended to pop the clips without damaging the laptop.
Upgradable Components:

SSD Slots: Inside, you’ll find two M.2 2280 (80mm) slots for solid-state drives (SSDs). These are both labelled and come with heatsinks for better thermal management. Upgrading or adding SSDs here can significantly boost your storage capacity and potentially improve performance.

Non-Upgradable Components:

Battery Size: The battery occupies about half of the chassis, but it’s important to note that the battery size and placement may limit the space for other upgrades.

Soldered Wireless Card: The Intel wireless card is soldered directly onto the motherboard, meaning you can’t upgrade it. This could be a limitation if you’re looking for advanced wireless capabilities beyond what’s pre-installed.

SODIMM Slots Location: The RAM slots (SODIMM slots) are located on the other side of the motherboard. While they are accessible, getting to them might require more disassembly, as you’ll need to remove the motherboard to access these slots.

9. Performance

Specifications of the Review Unit:

  • Processor: Intel Core i9-13900H (14-core/20-thread, 2.5-5.4GHz, 45-watt) with Intel vPro, offering robust performance for demanding tasks.
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Pro, ensuring a modern and efficient user experience.
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA RTX A5000 Ada Generation (16GB), a high-end GPU suitable for intensive graphic workloads.
  • Memory: 32GB DDR5-6000 (2x 16GB), providing ample and fast memory for multitasking and high-performance tasks.
  • Display: 16-inch OLED touch with a resolution of 3840 x 2400, offering exceptional visual clarity and touch functionality.
  • Storage: 2x 512GB Gen4 SSD in RAID 0 configuration, ensuring fast data access and ample storage space.
  • Battery: 6-cell 100Whr battery, contributing to the laptop’s longevity and portability.
  • Warranty: 3-year warranty, offering peace of mind and reliability.


Retail Price: $6,648.58 on Dell.com, significantly higher than the starting price of $2,789.
Business Sales Channels: It’s noted that Dell primarily conducts business sales through channels, which might offer better pricing options.

10. Comparison with the Base Model:

Base Model Specs: The entry-level version comes with a Core i5-13600H (12-core/16-thread), integrated Intel graphics, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 1920 x 1200 screen.

Notable Upgrades: Your unit’s most significant upgrades include the RTX A5000 Ada GPU (costing $2,144.18) and the Core i9-13900H CPU ($424.29). The inclusion of a dedicated GPU moves it from a standard laptop to a more workstation-like category.

Benchmark Comparison:

Reference Comparison: For performance comparison, you’ve used the Dell Precision 5860 Tower, which is priced at $8,888 and includes a 24-core Xeon w7-2495X, 64GB of RAM, 2x 1TB SSDs in RAID 0, and an NVIDIA RTX A6000 48GB (non-Ada Generation). This comparison is intended to illustrate the performance gap between mobile and desktop workstation capabilities.


The Dell Precision 3551 emerges as a reliable and powerful workstation, particularly suited for users who prioritize processing power and battery life over advanced display features and design.

While it offers commendable performance, especially in its higher configurations, the cost and some design choices like the screen quality and port limitations might make it less appealing to certain users.

Ultimately, it’s a solid choice for those who need a dependable workstation without the frills of higher-priced models.

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