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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Decent power from 9th-gen Core i5
Compact mini-tower design
Lots of USB ports
Limited Wi-Fi speed
Gets bogged down at times
Limited gaming capabilities
No USB-C ports
If you’re working with a limited budget, this basic, mid-range desktop provides solid power for schoolwork and everyday tasks.
You have no shortage of options if you’re seeking an all-around desktop PC that is capable of handling schoolwork, web browsing, and media without a jaw-dropping price tag. If you’re already a fan of Dell or just want to stick with a well-known brand, the company’s Inspiron 3671 desktop is one of its budget-friendly devices.
Starting at just $400 with a lightweight 9th-generation Intel Core i3 processor inside, the Dell Inspiron 3671 ranges upward significantly with higher specs and other perks, albeit without crossing the threshold to being a particularly powerful Windows 10 PC for gaming and intensive media production needs. There are plenty of other options for that.
The configuration I tested, with a Core i5 processor and 12GB RAM, isn’t the most inspiring PC that I’ve used lately when it comes to overall power and capabilities, but it can handle basic schoolwork and casual needs with only rare hitches along the way. I tested the Dell Inspiron 3671 for more than 50 hours during my everyday work routine, streaming media, and while testing a handful of top games.
If you haven’t shopped for a new desktop PC in some time, you might be surprised by how modest the Dell Inspiron 3671 unit is in terms of size and heft. This mini tower stands less than 15 inches tall and 12 inches deep, with a base weight of just 11.6 pounds. There are smaller desktop PC form factors out there, but compared to other towers, it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space or feel overly imposing on a desk.
That said, visually, it doesn’t make much of an impact. It’s mostly black all around, with matte metal on the top, sides, and bottom, and glossy black plastic on the front with silver accents. A prominent Dell logo sits in silver near the middle on the front, and there’s a small ventilation grid at the bottom, plus a couple more on the left side of the tower to avoid overheating. Otherwise, it’s pretty anonymous for a desktop, which is no surprise at this price point. You’re not paying any extra for style here.
This configuration comes with a DVD/CD drive on the front, which can also burn DVDs and CDs, although you can order the Dell Inspiron 3671 without an optical drive. It also has a 5-in-1 media card reader beneath the power button, as well as a headphone port and two USB 3.1 ports.
It’s pretty anonymous for a desktop, which is no surprise at this price point. You’re not paying any extra for style here.
On the upper back are the rear ports, including audio inputs as well as HDMI and VGA ports for a monitor. You’ll also find four additional USB 2.0 ports here, but none of the smaller USB-C ports that are especially common on laptops these days. There is also an Ethernet port for wired internet, although the PC also supports Wi-Fi, while a trio of expansion card slots are below in case you want to make upgrades later. It has two FH PCIe x1 slots and one FH PCIe x16 slot.
The Dell Inspiron 3671 configuration that we tested came with a very basic wired keyboard and mouse setup. The keyboard is about as lightweight and thin as a desktop keyboard could be, but with very little travel to the keys. I actually liked the feel of it in short spurts, but heavy users might want something a little more premium-feeling. The same applies to the optical mouse, which works just fine but isn’t the smoothest-gliding mouse you’ll use. It also doesn’t have any additional buttons beyond the two main buttons and scrolling wheel.
Luckily, there isn’t much setup to do here. The desktop unit itself is already assembled, and the mouse and keyboard simply plug in via USB ports. The power cord pops into the port at the bottom on the back. You’ll need to provide a monitor, which can plug in via HDMI or VGA, and if your version doesn’t come with speakers (ours didn’t), then you’ll either need speakers or headphones to hear anything.
Once everything is plugged in and powered on, you’ll simply go through the usual Windows 10 setup process, which entails connecting to the internet, logging into a Microsoft account, agreeing to terms and conditions, and letting the guided process continue until you reach the desktop.
The Dell Inspiron 3671 is not designed to be a powerhouse, and the specs in our configuration make it a pretty middle-of-the-road option. It runs a hexa-core Intel Core i5 9400 processor, and while it isn’t the newest version (there are 10th-generation Core i5 chips out there), at least it’s pretty current.
The Dell Inspiron 3671 is not designed to be a powerhouse, and the specs in our configuration make it a pretty middle-of-the-road option.
In my everyday usage, even with a generous 12GB of RAM in this particular configuration, it just didn’t have the same kind of consistent responsiveness as I’ve seen while testing recent laptops with speedier Intel Core i7 chips instead. Most of the time, the Inspiron 3671 did just fine with pulling up apps without much delay, but the occasional moments of extended sluggishness proved tiresome. In particular, coming back to the computer after a stretch away from it usually resulted in a very slow process of waiting for the computer to catch up with my requests.
Unsurprisingly, it’s no gaming beast either. With Intel UHD Graphics 630 integrated graphics onboard, it doesn’t have the horsepower to handle high-end games very well. You’d need a dedicated graphics card for that. Still, you’ll do OK with some mid-level gaming here.
League of Legends looked great on ‘High’ settings… but battle royale shooter Fortnite was a much more difficult experience.
League of Legends, for example, looked great on “High” settings, fluttering between 70-100 frames per second while showcasing very good detail throughout. Car-soccer game Rocket League wasn’t as successful, but at “Performance” settings it was totally playable at about 30-35 frames per second. Kicking it to “High Performance” brought a welcome boost to nearly 45fps, but the muddier textures can be distracting.
Battle royale shooter Fortnite was a much more difficult experience. With “Low” settings enabled, the game crashed during my first attempt after shifting wildly between smooth and choppy moments while playing online. When I put on a cap of 30 frames per second, it was definitely more tolerable, but still very ugly looking and choppy in moments. Game consoles and even smartphones and tablets run Fortnite better than this. This won’t cut it unless you really don’t have any other modern hardware for gaming.
The 802.11bgn wireless card onboard the Inspiron 3671 did not deliver very good Wi-Fi speeds, in my testing. At my desk, I hit a peak of just 37Mbps on my home Wi-Fi network using the Dell Inspiron… and then performed the same test on the Huawei MateBook X Pro Signature Edition laptop sitting right alongside it and smashed past 150Mbps.
I moved the desktop right next to one of my Google Wi-Fi nodes and plugged it directly into the mesh device via an Ethernet cable. The resulting test delivered an excellent speed in excess of 350Mbps. But when I unplugged the Ethernet cable and connected to the same node via Wi-Fi, it peaked at just 51Mbps. While a wired connection may have you happily humming along on high-speed internet, the Wi-Fi card here doesn’t seem capable of hitting anywhere near the same speeds.
While a wired connection may have you happily humming along on high-speed internet, the Wi-Fi card here doesn’t seem capable of hitting anywhere near the same speeds.
At $400 for the base configuration, you can get a solid, everyday home computer at a modest expense. That said, the configuration that we ordered with 12GB RAM and a 500GB hard drive cost $680, and we probably would have been better served to opt for a configuration (or another desktop) with a Core i7 chip and less RAM. For example, Dell’s “New Inspiron Desktop” PC has a 10th-gen Core i7 processor and doesn’t cost much more than this.
The Dell Inspiron 3671 configuration that we reviewed sits in a similar category as the Acer Aspire TC-885-ACCFLi3O, which opts for slightly lower specs than this Dell but feels like a better overall value, considering the current price point hovering around $400.
A decent desktop for home and a budget workstation.
The Dell Inspiron 3671 is a solid everyday home computer that can do the trick for schoolwork, web browsing, and streaming media, but isn’t quite powerful enough to smoothly handle high-end games or performance-heavy tasks like content creation. My configuration with 12GB RAM is probably overkill, to be honest; you could save a little money and opt for something with a speedier processor instead, perhaps.