When you set out on the path to buy a new laptop, you have plenty of decisions to make. Key in those decisions are your list of priorities, performance, portability, design, features and of course price. Its ultimately how well a device stacks up against your priority list that determines if its the right device for you and the less compromises to that list, the better.
Dells new Inspiron is hoping to be on your short list with its 2-1 design offering up a diverse range of applications.
The body is relatively slim for a 2-in-1 and that body houses a pretty gorgeous 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Truelife LED-Backlit display. Taking cues from its XPS big brother, the bezels are minimal giving you more screen in a smaller body. While not a crazy 4K display, for a FHD, its pretty impressive with great colours and viewing angles and I found running it at 125% scaling in Windows 10, provided a great fit between readability and quality.
At this point, touch is a checkbox feature, one I believe you should be checking. It seems display manufactures have worked out how to deliver touch without a premium price. In a 2-in-1 device, where the keyboard folds under the screen (and the edges of the screen has no buttons) you’re only way to interact with it, is via touch.
After you’re done watching Netflix, its time to get to work and for that you’ll want to fold out the keyboard in the more traditional laptop pose.
Screen connects to the body via a 360-degree hinge which gives you the versatility to work, read, stream or surf in 4 different modes. In tablet mode is ideal for doodling and note-taking, but you will need the not-included Dell Active Pen.
Dell say they’ve testing the hinges to ensure they still feel tight, even after opening and closing the lid 20,000 times. We obviously couldn’t do that during the review, but can tell you the hinge allows you to position the screen at almost any angle and remains balanced, unlike many that have a top-heavy screen. Dell have thankfully avoided this common trap.
In terms of size, the the height is 16.74mm and curves to 15.51mm at the edge. By comparison, the Suface laptop is 14.48mm and Apple’s Macbook is 13.1mm, so the smart hinge design has really allowed the 2-in-i functionality for little extra height.
Its also 309.7mm and 215.7mm deep, weight: 1.45kg. Ultimately all of this adds up to a nice size that’s great to type on and easily tucks away into a laptop satchel or backpack.
In the evaluation of features, you’ll need to understand what’s on offer here. The chiclets keyboard is great to type on, made better with backlghting which lets you work into the evening.
Authenticating with Windows has been made easier in recent years with Windows adding pin codes, gesture unlocks, but its Windows Hello that offers the most convenience and the Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 has the hardware to support it.
After a quick setup, I found this worked surprisingly well. Its certainly not iPhone X fast, but it does work and as someone who’s on and off their device multiple times per day, this is a big asset. Just sit down in front of the laptop, press the spacebar and you’re face is recognised and unlocked.
Other manufacturers have really struggled in the global transition to USB Type-C. Dell does a great job of delivering a mix of the necessary ports, namely 1x USB 3.1 Type-C port and 2x USB 3.1 ports.
When it comes to connectivity, there’s no Ethernet port (which speaks to Dells vision of portability for this device) there is however the fastest WiFi standard, 802.11ac. When it comes to modern Bluetooth support, there’s version 4.2 on offer here, but ultimately you’re headsets, keyboards, mice, printers will work great with this device.
Our review unit came with the 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U Processor (Coffee Lake) that boosts up to 3.4 GHz. You can opt up for the higher model that offers the Core i7 8550U CPU with 8MB Cache and up to 4.0 GHz clock speed.
The processor work in conjunction with 8GB, DDR4 RAM running at 2400MHz, while the higher model offers 16GB, DDR4 at 2133MHz.
In terms of speed, the Inspiron 7000 will get most of your portable computing needs done without issue. There’s obvious concessions you make while being portable, compared to a desktop PC, for most people editing in photoshop, or the odd video here and there, this will get the job done, but if you’re into serious gaming or are looking at extending your VR pipeline, you’ll need to look elsewhere thanks to the reliance on Intel UHD Graphics 620.
In terms of storage, the 256GB Solid State Drive is adequate for most modern users who store content in the cloud and if you’re running the latest version of Windows 10 (Fall creators update) OneDrive will let you access all your files without having them all stored on the local drive.
If you absolutely have to have a larger drive, you’ll have to choose from an external driver or pay up for the higher model which offers a 512GB SSD.
Packed in this portable, transformer is a 38WHr, 3-Cell Battery which Dell says is good for up to 8 hours 20 minutes. To be honest, this is a little light on compared to other products now seriously pushing all day battery life.
While our work life is usually 8 hours in a standard office job, most of us know, we’re on computers much longer than 8 hours per day. This means you’ll be searching for a charger more often than you charge your phone.
Pricing and availability
The Dell 7000 2-1 starts at A$1,798.99. It comes in one colour, that’s Era Gray. If you opt up to the higher model, you’re normally looking at A$2,399.00 but right now they have $480.00 off so you can grab the better model for A$1,919.00. To get a faster CPU, more RAM and double the SSD storage, $120 is a pretty good deal.
More information or to buy, head to http://www.dell.com/au/p/inspiron-13-7373-2-in-1-laptop/pd?ref=PD_OC
2-in-1s normally come with a bunch of compromises to support their diverse range of applications, but in the case of the Dell Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1, that’s not really the case.
Sure we’d love a dedicated GPU and better batter life, but the mix of features. Even more I’d like Dell to skip on the software junk that’s loaded on this device. That includes an array of useless Dell utilities, but frustratingly pay-check items like a trial of Kaspersky Internet Security. If you buy this, you’ll spend the first couple of hours cleaning house and removing this crap.
At the end of the day, what’s on offer here won’t suit all users, but when it comes to functionality and utility, the Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 offers a great proposition for those who want to use a device on the office desk, kitchen bench, coffee table, bedside table, on a plane, in a bus and and the coffee shop.
For these diverse range of applications, its a device definitely worthy of being on your short list.