Dell Inspiron 17R (5737)


This machine was released in late 2013 as revamped version of the older Inspiron 17R.

Questions and Further Information

If you have questions or would like further information or testing on this laptop, please ask via the relevant Laptop AMA thread on reddit. This wiki will be updated to reflect the questions and information in that thread.

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NameDell Inspiron 17R (5737)
Processor4th Generation Intel Core i7-4500U processor (4M Cache, up to 3.0 GHz)
Screen17.3 inch LED Backlit Display with Anti Glare and FHD resolution (1920 x 1080)
RAM16GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (8GBx2)
HDD1TB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
Optical Drive8X DVD+/-RW Drive Tray Load
GraphicsIntel(R) HD Graphics 4400
NetworkDell Wireless-N 1705 + Bluetooth 4.0
(Qualcomm Atheros QCA9565 / AR9565 Wireless Network Adapter [168c:0036] (rev 01))

Linux Compatibility

DeviceUbuntu 13.10Debian Jessie 11/9/2013Comments
ProcessorYesYesSupport officially added in kernel 3.10
Optical DriveNot TestedNot Tested
Graphics ChipYesYesSupport officially added in kernel 3.10
HDMI PortYesPartialUbuntu: Both HDMI display and audio work flawlessly. Debian: HDMI display works. Audio may require 'killall pulseaudio' to work.
SoundYesYesNo subwoofer to worry about (compared to previous 17R SE model)
Bulti-in MicrophoneYesNo
Headphone JackYesNot TestedCombo jack
Microphone JackYesNot TestedCombo jack
EthernetNot TestedNot Tested
WirelessYesYesDebian and Ubuntu: Works OOTB
BluetoothNot TestedNot Tested
Card ReaderYesNot Tested
WebcamYesYes1280×720 max resolution
Touch PadYesYesGestures work, edge scrolling works, everything tested works.
The driver isn't tuned very well, resulting in the cursor jumping when fingers are lifted off the pad.
Fn-KeysPartialPartialAll keys work except brightness keys. Workaround for brightness in the “Notes” section below
Suspend/ResumeYesYesUbuntu: Works flawlessly. Debian: Lid suspend requires using systemd.


Installation is very easy and straightforward for this laptop. No ethernet cable is required since even Debian includes support for the wireless card OOTB.

Dual booting: Use the disk management tool included in Windows to shrink the Windows partition to free up space for Linux.

Installation: For Debian and other unsigned distributions, you will first need to disable the secure boot option (these options can be accessed by holding F2 during boot). For Ubuntu and other signed distributions, secure boot should work fine. Either way, EFI can be left enabled. To boot from a USB stick, hold F12 while booting the machine, and select the appropriate USB device.

For installing GRUB, there may be other options, but the simplest method is to just install GRUB to the default location. Windows 8 will be included in the GRUB list by default and boots without any further configuration.

For any questions, please see the reddit thread linked earlier in this wiki article.


All results above are strictly OOTB.

Battery life in Ubuntu 13.10 is roughly 4 hours 15 minutes under normal usage (internet, video, some file conversions, various screen brightness levels).

To manage the display brightness, every boot I run sudo chmod 777 /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightness to make the file readable, then echo 200 > /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightness (where 200 can be any number between 0 and 937 to set the brightness level. Changes take effect immediately, but revert after suspend.

To correct the display colors, download the color profile (“ICC File”) from's review and enable it in system settings.

To enable “natural scrolling, simply run synclient VertScrollDelta=-107 HorizScrollDelta=-107. This will have to be done on each login and may not affect apps until after a delay/the app is reopened.


Overall this machine works well with Ubuntu and Debian OOTB, without need for non-free firmware or drivers. The biggest issues are the noticeable and consistent cursor jumping when fingers are lifted from the touchpad, and the brightness keys not working.


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dell_inspiron_17r_-_5737.txt · Last modified: 2014/02/19 19:28 by rorwal
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