We’ve reviewed a few Dell laptops now, and have been generally pleased with the build quality and performance. We were able to get our hands on one of Dell’s newer units and take a look at this 2-in-1 laptop/tablet combination in our Dell Inspiron 13 7000 review to see if it continues this trend.
The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 is available in a wide range of configurations including options for your choice of Intel Pentium, i3, i5, i7, or M processors, 4-8GB RAM, choice of HDD or SSD drives, and resolutions from HD (1366 x 768) to FHD (1920×1080) touch screens. Our review unit featured the following specifications:
- 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-5500U Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.00 GHz)
- Windows 8.1 (64Bit) English
- 8GB Single Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (8GBx1)
- 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Truelife LED-Backlit Touch Display with Wide Viewing Angle (IPS)
- 256GB SSD
- Intel HD Graphics 5500
- Full size spill resistant backlit keyboard
- Touchpad with multi-touch gesture-enabled pad & integrated scrolling
- Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 802.11ac, 2×2, 2.4 & 5GHz; Bluetooth 4.0
- High definition audio with Waves MaxxAudio
- HD (720p) webcam
- HDMI, 2 USB 3.0 (one with Power Share), 1 USB 2.0, lock slot, combo headphone/microphone slot Jack, 2-in-1 Media Card Reader (SD & MMC)
I won’t lie, I was really impressed with the design of the Inspiron 13 7000 the second I pulled it out of the box. The top of the lid has a nice rubberized feel to it and upon opening it up the brushed aluminum surface with the smooth edge bezel is very visually appealing. The touchpad has the same bezel inset, while the backlit keyboard has a raised rubber coated lip around it which is almost flush with the rest of the base on the bottom edge.
The left side of the laptop features (from back to front) the power input, full size HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports and combo headphone/microphone jack. The right side of laptop features (again from back to front) the media card reader, USB 2.0 port, volume button, and power button. The power button sits almost flush with the edge of the laptop while the single volume button is raised a bit higher. Both the power and volume buttons are manufactured from aluminum, finishing the design nicely. With the volume buttons on the side, when in laptop mode pressing up is actually to lower the volume, and pressing down is to raise the volume. In tablet mode it works as expected, and it was interesting to find that Dell opted to put the “correct” orientation for tablet mode use.
The speakers are on each side of the bottom of the laptop about a 1/4 of the width from the front, when in tablet mode this brings towards the rear of the unit. The power and volume buttons then sit near the upper right when in landscape mode and are easily accessible. The HD webcam is at the top center of the screen, while a Windows start menu button sits in the bottom plastic portion of the screen frame.
Dell markets the Inspiron 13 7000 as a 2-in-1, but really it is a 4-in-1. Not only do you have laptop mode for day to day use and tablet mode for more mobile use (even though 13.3″ is pretty big for a tablet), you can also use it in tablet stand mode using the keyboard as the base, and tent mode which allows use of the laptop in an easel position. The hinges are pretty wide and sturdy as well, and I didn’t feel like I was putting undue stress on them when using the laptop in different modes.
Lastly, this laptop has a nice weight to it and feel very sturdy and well constructed. While it’s not the heaviest 2-in-1 or 4-in-1 we’ve tested, it’s certainly not the lightest either and weighs in starting at around 3.68lbs (1.67kg). Even so, it’s still very portable and even when being used in tablet mode doesn’t feel overly awkward or heavy.
The FHD touchscreen display on the Inspiron 13 7000 is crisp and rich in colour. The display responds quickly in tablet mode, and as with any other touchscreen laptops I found myself using the screen to replace various functions usually reserved for mouse clicks like closing windows or switching between apps. As is the case with touchscreens, there definitely is a bit of glare but the screen was bright enough at maximum brightness to make it useable in almost any lighting condition.
The i7 version with 8GB of RAM definitely performs well. Everything from video playback to app launching and basic games from the Microsoft Store ran flawlessly. Other games like Hearthstone had no issues and was fun to play in tablet mode, while Heroes of the Storm was also playable at low settings with high textures enabled at about 25fps. Not the greatest way to play by any means, but given the Intel HD Graphics 5500 video card, Heroes was definitely playable and ran fine albeit on the low settings.
There’s not a lot to say here, our review unit shipped running Windows 8.1 which works great in a 2-in-1 touchscreen scenario. In addition to the typical Dell apps like backup/recovery and help, the laptop also comes with a 20GB Dropbox bonus, Skype, McAfee Central, Flipboard, an Office 365 trial, and a few others.
The speakers on the Inspiron 13 7000 surprised me in a good way. I’ve come to accept that laptop speakers aren’t usually the greatest but the ones on this laptop are quite loud for starters. When watching videos and movies the sound is pretty rich and has a good range, including bassier tones. When listening to music however, some of the bass is lost but that was rectified by going into the Dell Audio app and enabling the equalizer. Even so I couldn’t seem to get the same range on the deeper end as watching movies, but music playback was better sounding than quite a few of the other laptops I’ve tested and used over the years.
Given the placement of the speakers, when in laptop mode the sound bounced out and off the table, while in tablet mode it bounced a bit off the back of the screen. As a result, sound was great when the laptop was used in both these modes.
According to Dell, with the version we tested you can get up to 9 hours battery life. I tested it a couple times and seemed to hit the 5 hour mark under what I consider normal use. This including having Google Play Music streaming, doing some word editing on Google Docs, hangouts, a few YouTube videos, web browsing, and a couple rounds of Hearthstone. The battery settings were set to balanced with display turning off after 5 minutes of inactivity, and computer set to never sleep while on battery power. I did get closer to 7 hours when I removed Google Play Music streaming and Hearthstone from the mix so it should be possible to hit the 9 hours depending on your activities.
As with other laptops, Dell offers a wide range of accessories for their devices. The Inspiron 13 7000 is no exception with many additional accessories available including portable speakers, external optical disc drives, Dell Active Stylus, slipcase, 1TB portable backup drive, wireless travel mouse, and more.
Dell’s Inspiron 13 7000 starts at $549USD ($720CAD) for the Intel Pentium version with 4GB RAM, 1366×768 resolution, and 500GB SATA hard drive. Higher end configurations offer an Intel Core M processor with 8GB of RAM, 1080p screen, and a 512GB SSD drive and cost upwards of $3300CAD. Our review unit with the i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD will set you back $1359USD ($1400CAD). At regular prices for the low and mid-range units, the Inspiron 13 7000 is definitely an affordable option. All models are currently on sale for between $20-$1400 off adding to the value, especially on the higher end spectrum. Our review unit is available currently for $999USD ($1099CAD).
The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is a solidly built and nicely designed laptop with the added feature of being able to be used as a 13″ tablet, or in tent and stand mode as well. It performs well and should last you most of the day when using it for basic business tasks on a single charge. If you’re in the market for a new convertible laptop, you’ll want to give the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 some serious consideration.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 from Dell Canada for the purposes of this review.
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