Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 review

A great little 2-in-1 that gets the job done, and looks good doing it.

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The Inspiron we tested weighs in at 1.75 kg, or 3.5 lbs. It's downright husky up against both the svelte Lenovo Yoga 900 at 2.84 lbs./1.28 kg, and the 2.9 lbs./1.31 kg Asus Zenbook UX360.

The weight of the Inspiron 7000 series only goes up from there, with the heaviest models weighing in an astonishing 6.12 lbs./2.77 kg for the 17-inch entry model. At that point, a 2-in-1 just seems completely impractical, with comfort suffering measurably while in the tablet configuration.

The extra half-pound of weight is easily forgivable when you consider the price. The Inspiron 13-7000 starts at $799 or $1,698 (about £610), as opposed to the $1,199 (£999, AU$2,199) Yoga.

The Zenbook also retails for $799 (about £610, AU$1,060), but you downgrade from a base-model Intel Core i3-6100u to an Intel M3-6Y30 mobile processor. ASUS makes up for the processor with twice the storage and twice the RAM of the base Inspiron, which comes with a 256GB solid-state drive and 4GB DDR4 RAM.

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2 in 1 review

Spec Sheet

Here is the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-6260U Processor (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.9GHz with TurboBoost)
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Graphics 540
  • RAM: 4 GB single-channel DDR4 2133 MHz
  • Screen: 13.3-inch, FHD (1920x1080) Truelife LED-Backlit Touch Display
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Ports: HDMI 1.4a, USB Type-C (ThunderBolt 3.0), USB 3.0 with PowerShare, USB 2.0, SD card reader
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 720p Infrared Webcam with Dual Digital Microphone Array
  • Weight: 3.52 lbs (1.75 kg)
  • Size: 12.69 x 8.82 x 0.76 inches (32.3 x 22.4.0 x 1.92mm: W x D x H)

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2 in 1 review

Performance

Running multiple applications in the background while we watched a movie on HBO Go didn't slow anything down. So while this 13-inch convertible isn't a powerhouse, it gets the job done. That said, it definitely doesn't hit the highs of a gaming laptop, but you wouldn't have too much trouble playing indies or older games on it, if that's your thing.

Really, a 2-in-1 computer is perfect to split between productivity and casual use, while the computing power on-hand strikes a good balance between affordability and utility. I never noticed any performance issues in my everyday use, although we know better than to try and play something like GTA 5 or edit multiple movie files in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2 in 1 review

Benchmarks

Here's how the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate:5618; Sky Diver:3684; Fire Strike: 851
  • Cinebench CPU: 282 points; Graphics: 43.7 fps
  • GeekBench: 3119 (single-core); 6411 (multi-core)
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,794 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 15 minutes

The Inspiron ekes out a win on every test except battery, where it pales in comparison to the Yoga's 5 hours and 6 minutes on the PCMark 8 Battery Life test. It also does quite a bit better than the ASUS ZenBook in every test…with the exception of battery.

Dell claims the configuration we tested gets 8 hours, 24 minutes of life from its integrated, 3-cell battery, but I came up short in my own experience.

That's not to say battery life is a problem. Far from it: With Guardians of the Galaxy playing in full-screen, in HD and on repeat, we got 5 hours 25 minutes of life from the Inspiron. This was about the same usage we got over the course of a day, with Chrome and Firefox open, running some heavy work-related Ajax webpages in the background. We bounced back and forth between work and watching movies on HBO Go, and were satisfied with the battery life.

It could be longer, for sure, but it almost has enough juice to make it across the country on an older airplane without charging ports.

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2 in 1 review

Looks Great, Sounds Bad

Dell proudly touts the Inspiron's included Standard Waves MaxxAudio Pro audio software for an enhanced "multimedia experience with an impressive soundstage".

Unfortunately, sound is a big disappointment. It's passable when using the Inspiron in laptop mode, but any deviation in its configuration throws the sound into a garbage can. Or at least, it sounds like it does.

Laptop sound is, for the most part, bad, but in tablet-configuration the Inspiron sounds like a muffled smartphone cupped into your hand. Not pleasant in the slightest, and it really detracts from the otherwise gorgeous screen.

By the way, if you were to decide you really did want to do some more graphically-intense gaming than what's possible with the on-board graphics, the 17-inch model comes with a dedicated graphics card.

Honestly, though, you'd probably be better off just spending your cash on a laptop built for gaming. A 17-inch 2-in-1 is such an ungainly device, it would rarely see use as a tablet and even a 15-inch 2-in-1 feels just too big.