When shopping for a laptop nowadays, there are many choices from the ultra-portable to the higher end gaming performance systems. Our Dell Inspiron 15 7000 review takes a look at a more middle of the road option, and finds out if it can offer decent performance for the price.
As with many Dell computers, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 comes in a number of configurations. Specifications include:
- Processor: 4th or 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-4210H/i7-4720HQ/i5-6300HQ/i7-6700HQ Quad Core Processor
- Display: LED Blacklit Anti Glare Display with HD (1366×768) or FHD (1920×1080) resolution or LED Backlit Truelife Display with Touch UHD (3840×2160) resolution
- Memory: Up to 12GB Single Channel or up to 16GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz RAM
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 530 and NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX960M with 4GB GDDR5 video memory
- Battery: 74 WHr, 6-Cell battery with up to 11h battery life with FHD display, or up to 7h41m with 4K UHD display
- Hard Drive: 500GB or 1TB 5400 RPM Hard Drive, 1TB 5400 RPM Hybrid Hard Drive with 8GB Cache, or 128GB SSD + 1TB 5400 RPM Hard Drive
- Ports: HDMI v1.4a with 4K display support, 3 USB 3.0 including 1 with PowerShare, 2-in-1 SD/MMC card slot, RJ-45, combo headphone/microphone jack, Kensington lock slot
- Communication: 1×1 or 2×2 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0, Intel 3160 or DW1820 Dual Band 2.4 & 5GHz wireless, Gigabit Ethernet
- Sound: 2 tuned speakers with subwoofer, Waves MaxxAudio® Pro audio processing
- Webcam: integrated Widescreen HD (720p) Webcam with Dual Array Digital Microphone
- Keyboard/Touchpad: Standard full-size, spill resistant keyboard with numeric keys and optional backlighting
- OS: Windows 8.1 (64-bit), Windows 10, Ubuntu (select countries)
- Colour: Available in Matte Black or Hibiscus Red
- Dimensions: 25.3 x 383 x 265 mm (1 x 15.08 x 10.43″)
- Weight: starting at 2.57kg/5.67lb for FHD non-touch; starting at 2.72kg/6.0lb for 4K UHD touch
Our review unit featured the Intel Core i5-6300HQ CPU with 8GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics 530/NVIDIA GeForce GTX960M with 4GB GDDR5 video memory, 1TB 5400 RPM Hybrid Hard Drive with 8GB Cache, and FHD (1920×1080) resolution non-touch screen.
What’s in the Box
When you purchase the Dell Inspiron 15 7000, you’ll receive:
- 1 Dell Inspiron 15 7000
- 1 130 Watt AC Adapter
Dell’s Inspiron 15 7000 features a slick, matte finish. Our review unit came in Matte Black and featured a red Dell logo on the rubberized finished lid. When closed, the back of the laptop has a curve and you can see the front-facing speaker, as well as the red cooling fins which give it a sharp look.
Opening up the laptop, you are greeted with the red/black front-facing long throw speaker, full sized backlit keyboard with number pad, gesture-enabled precision touchpad, and the power button near the upper left corner. The FHD screen has a plastic border around it, and the HD webcam sits at the top center of the screen with the dual array mics on either side. On the underside of the laptop is the subwoofer and two rubber feet that extend the width of the laptop near the front and back to raise it up a bit when set on a flat surface.
The left side of the laptop houses the power port, exhaust exit, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and the headphone/microphone combo jack. The right side of the laptop features the SD card reader, USB 3.0 port with PowerShare, HDMI slot, Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 jack, and Kensington Lock security slot.
The area around the keyboard and touchpad features the same rubberized finish as the lid, and it’s very comfortable to use. The full keyboard layout by default replaces the function keys with volume, screen brightness, keyboard backlight controls, and other toggles, but Dell has also included a way to swap this by enabling the Function lock which then allows the function keys to work as they do on traditional keyboards. Typing with the keyboard is pretty decent, although it does feel a bit rigid with the keystroke travel, and not as soft as some other laptops I’ve recently tested.
As previously mentioned, our review unit was Matte Black. The Hibiscus Red model features a red lid and red finish around the keyboard.
The FHD display has great colour representation and looked good at the various brightness levels. The anti-glare display makes the screen easy to view with minimal reflections. Even in brighter areas like in front of a window, the screen was easy to read and view from a wide range of angles.
Our review unit runs Windows 10, which we’ve reviewed here previously. In addition, Dell includes a few useful apps including My Dell, Dell Digital Delivery, Dell Backup & Recovery, a 1-year 20GB bump in your Dropbox storage, and 30 day trials of Microsoft Office 2013 and McAfee LiveSafe. My Dell is Dell’s easy-to-use support tool, Dell Digital Delivery is a service which enables you to purchase software at the time you order your computer and then download and install it automatically once you receive the computer and connect to the Internet, and Dell Backup & Recovery allows you to backup and recover your system should you need to.
For the most part, the Dell Inspiron 15 1700 we tested with the Intel Core i5-6300HQ CPU and the 1TB 5400 RPM Hybrid Hard Drive performed well. Business applications like the Adobe Creative Suite ran well, and image and video processing was relatively quick. I did notice a few stutters now and again, and it’s an issue I’ve run into before with Hybrid Hard Drives so if you’re planning on picking one of these up you might want to go with the 1TB Hard Drive or the 128GB SSD + 1TB Hard Drive option. Most of the stutters I noticed happened when opening file explorer or basic apps. While apps were open and running I didn’t experience any performance issues.
On that note, gaming was excellent on the machine and I was able to run Heroes of the Storm on Extreme graphics settings and get between 45-50fps, and between 50-60fps+ on Ultra settings due to the included NVIDIA GeForce GTX960M video card. In addition, using NVIDIA’s ShadowPlay to record or stream games didn’t affect game performance at all.
To be honest, I was impressed with the performance with both gaming and productivity apps on the Inspiron 15 7000.
Speakers with laptops are often hit or miss. The front facing long throw which houses the dual tuned speakers with subwoofer combined with the Waves MaxxAudio® Pro audio processing provided great sound during gaming, music listening, or video watching.
The front facing 720p webcam worked well for video hangouts, and there were no issues with video or sound quality.
Dell claims the 74 WHr, 6-Cell battery has up to 11h battery life with the FHD display model. During multiple battery tests, I was able to get between 8 1/2 to just over 11 hours depending on what I was using the laptop for. More intensive games and applications drained the battery faster as expected, but days when web browsing, the odd YouTube video, and word processing were the primary focus, the battery lasted substantially longer. Either way, the battery is large enough that it should be suitable for most needs and get you through most of the day on a single charge.
With a starting price of $799USD/$1099CAD, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series is a pretty powerful laptop and offers decent value. It should last you for a couple years at least.
If you’re looking for a mid-range laptop with a sleek design, powerful performance, decent battery life, and is comfortable to use, you should take a look at Dell’s Inspiron 15 7000 series.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 for the purposes of this review.
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