Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 review

An attractive 2-in-1 that's more laptop than the tablet

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Our Verdict

A competent, capable, attractive and well-priced 2-in-1 notebook that works better as a laptop than a tablet, thanks to the large screen and weight of this 15-inch machine.

For

  • The aluminum body looks slick and makes it feel sturdy and durable
  • Vibrant screen

Against

  • Heavy
  • Battery life
  • Tablet mode not useful

Dell's Inspiron 15 feels like a computer designed specifically around Windows 10. It functions nicely as a laptop, and does an admirable job in tablet mode. Switching between the two configurations allows Windows 10 to excitedly ask if you'd like to switch back and forth between UI modes. In either configuration, the Inspiron does well, but with a few exceptions, it's a much more useful laptop than it is a tablet.

The Inspiron 15 is up against Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga 15 in the size department. While both machines feature a relatively enormous 15 inches of screen real estate, they're also competing against sleeker machines, like HP Spectre x360, a 13-inch convertible that hits all the highs.

Design

The Inspiron 15 is a shot across the bow of Apple's design department. With its brushed-aluminum interior finish and backlit, chiclet keyboard, this laptop could easily be mistaken for a MacBook at first blush.

The trackpad is set into the inside of the laptop with a smooth, beveled border that highlights the change from the aesthetically-pleasing surface in a sleek, but striking way. This border carries over to the outside edges of the laptop's aluminum interior, which is milled with a subtle angle, adding a fashionable design element to the otherwise industrial keyboard deck.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 review

On top of the clean finish, the aluminum makes the machine feel solid. No matter how you hold it – in one hand or two – the laptop never feels like it's straining under its own weight, which is a good thing, considering the machine weighs close to 5 pounds (about 2.2kg).

The keyboard itself is quite lovely, with wobble-free keys spaced perfectly and a satisfying amount of travel. The keyboard lights up as well, depending on the ambient light, which is another nice touch on top of also being spill-resistant.

I don't enjoy the Microsoft-backed precision touchpad as much as I enjoy the keyboard, however. I can never quite find a sensitivity setting that feels right to me. It is either too twitchy or too slow. More than a few times I'll try to click on a link on a website and the cursor will roll off before I can depress the touchpad. Turning on the tap function helps me somewhat, but it still never feels quite right.

Unfortunately, when converted into tablet mode, there isn't really much that jumps out about the laptop. It's just a very large, albeit very colorful and bright, screen. Dell did include a Windows button on the bottom of the screen, which is handy for quickly accessing the tablet-mode Start screen. But that's really all there is to get excited about when you have the Inspiron 15 converted.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 review

The keyboard and brains of the computer sag a little on the hinge when folded into tablet mode, so that gravity opens it up just slightly. There's no satisfying catch or magnetic clasp to hold the hefty halves together. It's just enough give to raise doubts in my mind on how well the hinges will hold up after repeated use.

When bigger is better

For full-page or endless scrolling websites, the 15-inch screen in tablet mode suddenly turned into something I never again want to be without. The same holds true for PDF documents.

I found normal web browsing to be less than ideal in both horizontal and vertical tablet orientations. But, specifically for websites like Feedly or Reddit, holding the tablet vertically is something I never knew I've always wanted in my life.