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Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Good multitasking performance
SD card reader
Slightly too expensive
Lack of upgradability
Not enough USB 3.0 ports
The Dell Inspiron 3470 is a decent business desktop PC that can handle anything shy of gaming.
The Dell Inspiron 3470 isn’t the flashiest desktop PC on the market today, nor is it the cheapest, or the most expensive, or the smallest, or the largest. But if you need a solid desktop that doesn’t take up a lot of space and is mainly going to be used for business, productivity, and web-browsing, it will certainly get the job done.
While you won’t find a discrete graphics card for gaming, the Dell Inspiron 3470 does have a few tricks up its sleeve, like being one of the few desktop PCs left to come standard with both an optical drive and SD card reader. The model of the Dell Inspiron 3470 that I tested also comes with 12GB of RAM, making it ready to take on all manner of multi-tasking without having to worry about opening and closing applications all the time.
How does this compact PC perform? Let’s take a look at this Inspiron and see what Dell has in store for us.
The Dell Inspiron 3470 features a familiar, understated design that won’t be drawing too much attention, but in this case that might be a good thing. This isn’t a flashy gaming desktop, and it’s not pretending to be one either. Dell has done a good job of keeping the overall footprint of this PC very small, which means you get to reclaim some of the desktop real estates that would normally be taken by a normal-sized PC.
This isn’t a flashy gaming desktop, and it’s not pretending to be one either. Dell has done a good job of keeping the overall footprint of this desktop very small.
The chassis itself is comprised of a mixture of steel on the sides and a glossy black plastic on the front. The first thing you’ll see is the moderately generous assortment of ports, including 2x USB 3 (Type-A) ports, a headphone jack, an SD card reader, power button, and lest we forget, a vertical tray-loaded DVD drive.
Turn the desktop around, and you’ll find the standard audio out and microphone ports, 4x USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, and both HDMI and VGA outs for monitor hookups. The lack of display port or USB-C outputs will keep you from using a few higher-end monitors on the market, but HDMI should suffice for just about any display that would be a natural fit for this desktop in the first place.
Since the rear of the case only has USB 2.0 ports, you aren’t going to want to use them for connecting external hard drives or anything else that requires fast transfer speeds. This is an unfortunate oversight, as keeping these drives plugged into the front of the computer is destined to create unneeded clutter, and the point of having a compact computer in the first place is to reduce clutter. Nonetheless, this will at least ensure that any USB thumb drives plugged into the front at least receive optimal transfer speeds.
The Dell Inspiron 3470 also comes with a keyboard and mouse, saving buyers the hassle of buying them separately should they not own any. There is nothing fancy, glowy, or overly ergonomic about these included peripherals, but they definitely get the job done without much fuss.
The keyboard is a very flat, full-size design that features a Numpad and F-keys grouped with dual functions by way of the Fn key. The keys aren’t very clicky and don’t have a lot of travel, making the typing experience similar to that of a laptop keyboard. The mouse is similarly austere, but at least it doesn’t take any getting used to. I would personally replace these as soon as I would able, but they aren’t dealbreakers.
The Dell Inspiron 3470 that I tested featured a 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD and a 128GB SSD for the boot volume. This is a very capable configuration of components for productivity-related tasks. Having that additional RAM should also make multitasking a more seamless endeavor.
The lack of a dedicated graphics card, of course, will preclude the Inspiron 3470 from anything beyond very light gaming. I did manage to run the graphically uncomplicated card game Slay The Spire without much difficulty, but there were some noticeable slowdowns during some of the animations. I’ll give Dell a pass on this one, since buyers should really be looking elsewhere if they want to play games.
The Dell Inspiron 3470 is a perfectly capable business desktop that accomplishes everything it sets out to without much difficulty.
In the PC performance benchmarking tool PCMark10, the Dell Inspiron 3470 scored a 3,878. This is below the average score of 4,141 for PCs using this combination of processor and graphics as reported by PCMark. This isn’t a deficit that most users are likely to notice, but it’s a rough overall measure of how this particular PC and its configuration stands up to similar computers.
In my practical experience during testing, there was no noticeable sluggishness when going about any everyday task for which I might be using this desktop. Startup was appropriately quick, applications launched without much delay, and I didn’t run into any issues keeping a couple dozen Chrome tabs open at once. Dell set out to make a relatively affordable productivity-focused desktop, and I believe they succeeded.
The Dell Inspiron 3470 comes equipped with both Ethernet, via the rear of the PC, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Not every workspace configuration has easy access to Ethernet, so the addition of Wi-Fi is much appreciated, as it often comes optional in desktops.
The network connectivity worked well in my tests. I had a perfectly smooth experience connecting to the internet via both Ethernet and Wi-Fi.
The Dell Inspiron 3470 comes pre-installed with a bevy of applications, but it actually took me a little while to find all of them because they aren’t shoved down the user’s throat, which I was very thankful for.
One of the most prominent applications, which can be spotted as a shortcut in the taskbar, is Dell SupportAssist for Home PCs. This application contains a huge suite of PC optimizations tools, and ironically took an extremely long time to start up for the first time—longer than any other application I tested. When initially launched, SupportAssist prompts the user to start a scan to optimize their system.
The type of fixes that this includes are Hardware Scan (checks for and resolves hardware issues), Clean Files (removes temporary and other extraneous files), Tune Performance (tweak startup options, clear unwanted registry files), Optimize Network (ensure connectivity and update device settings), and Get Drivers & Downloads. This is similar to any number of PC optimization software suites that have been popular for years, such as CCleaner or Glary Utilities. They tend to be at least marginally useful on aging PCs, and certainly doesn’t hurt to have.
The other pre-installed software includes Dell Update, Dell Mobile Connect, Dell Digital Delivery, Dell Customer Connect, and Dell Cinema Guide. Mobile Connect lets you wirelessly connect your smartphone and PC, to get notifications, send texts, make calls, mirror your screen, and transfer files. The other notable application, Dell Cinema Guide, attempts to centralize your movie and TV streaming services under one service.
I appreciated Dell’s light touch when it comes to their pre-installed applications. I’ve seen so many computers with unavoidable, launch-on-startup type programs that are both an eyesore and a performance burden. I welcome applications like Dell has included so long as they don’t take up too much space and aren’t set to run on startup, slowing down boot times.
I welcome applications like Dell has included so long as they don’t take up too much space and aren’t set to run on startup, slowing down boot times.
As configured, the Dell Inspiron 3470 can be found online for around $700 new. This is a touch too expensive for its intended purpose in my opinion, especially when Dell offers similar models for around $200 less. If you could find this desktop at a discount, it would very quickly become worth a purchase. Even a $50 discount would make it a lot more palatable compared to the competition (which at this price tier mainly comes from Dell’s other offerings).
Another desktop that many might also consider is the nearly identical cousin to the Inspiron 3470, the Inspiron 3471 (see on Dell). The 3471 has 8GB of RAM instead of 12, and loses the 128GB SSD drive, instead, keeping just the 1TB SATA drive. For that tradeoff, the 3471 can be found for $500, a sizable discount to the 3470, which I couldn’t find for less than $700.
Losing the SSD is going to have a palpable impact on productivity—probably more so than losing the 4GB of RAM. You can expect slower boot times and application launches. Still, in this price range, $200 is a very significant figure. Buyers should decide if they want to prioritize productivity and longevity or cost-efficiency.
A no-nonsense business desktop PC.
The Dell Inspiron 3470 is a perfectly capable business desktop that accomplishes everything it sets out to without much difficulty. It’s very space-efficient, and uses a smart array of component choices to optimize performance where the user is most likely to actually notice the difference. The price, however, is a little outside of optimal, so if you can score a discount it will make the purchase a lot easier.