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The Inspiron 15 7000 Series 2-in-1 is a sweet deal, priced at $899 USD (about £580, AU$1,499). For that price, you get an Intel i5-5200U processor, which performs well under normal use. The chip is able to keep up with Windows 10's streaming from Xbox One feature, and I played a few games of NHL 16 without a problem.
Streaming from the Xbox One and lightweight gaming is about all you're going to get out of the Inspiron 15. Much like the HP Spectre x360, there is no dedicated graphics chip. Minecraft works fine, but I wouldn't recommend trying to play Metal Gear Solid V with it. The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15 beats both machines spec-wise, running a higher-end i5-5300U and a dedicated Nvidia Geforce 840M graphics processor onboard. No configuration of the Inspiron 15 includes a discrete graphics option.
That's a shame, given that the 1,920 x 1,080p full HD (FHD) screen looks great. It's crisp and colorful, with high resolution images and HD movies looking lovely displayed on it. The one thing I don't like is the auto-adjusting brightness, a feature I shut off.
The setting was too sensitive, and merely moving my hand in front of the front-facing camera would cause the screen to pump up the brightness suddenly, only to drop it back down again a second later. It was too jarring to be useful.
Here is the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series 2-in-1 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
- CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U (3MB Cache, up to 2.7GHz)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500
- RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1,600MHz, single channel)
- Screen: 15.6-inch LED backlit Truelife display with FHD resolution (1,920 x 1,080)
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- Optical drive: Optional external DVD-RW (not included in configuration)
- Ports: HDMI 1.4a, 2 USB 3.0 (one with PowerShare), USB 2.0, Noble lock slot, media card (SD, MMC)
- Connectivity: Intel Centrino Wireless AC 7265, Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: Integrated widescreen 720p webcam with dual digital microphone array
- Weight: 4.7 pounds (2.14kg)
- Size: 15.04 x 9.94 x 0.78 inches (W x D x H) (382 x 253 x 20mm)
While the Inspiron 15 doesn't have the graphics capability of the ThinkPad, it trounces Lenovo's machine when it comes to storage. The 256GB solid-state drive (SSD) overshadows the ThinkPad Yoga's standard 150GB configuration and puts it on-par with the HP Spectre.
There are optional configurations with hard drives available in 500GB or 1TB. However, those will add about a tenth of a pound to the Inspiron's already heavy weight. On screen size, the Inspiron is much larger than the HP Spectre's 13.3-inch screen, and the Inspiron we tested costs the same as the entry-level HP Spectre x360, which comes with a mere 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD.
The base model Inspiron 15 7000 Series 2-in-1 comes with a 500GB hard drive, 4GB of RAM, and an Intel dual-core Pentium processor for just $549 (about £360, AU$780). For just $150 more, you can upgrade to an i5 processor, and from there you might as well spring for the SSD and double the memory to get to the $899 version we tested.
Like the Inspiron 13 7000, Dell does not offer a special edition of this machine in Australia, and doesn't sell any version of it in the UK. However, for those that live down under, you can pick up a regular Inspiron 15 7000 for a starting price of AU$999.
The Inspiron 15 performs adequately in everyday tasks. Web surfing, movie viewing and streaming from Xbox One all work nicely. The i5 processor is capable enough to handle photo editing without any real hiccups or slow performance, but I wouldn't recommend trying to use Lightroom in tablet mode, unless your fingers have surgical precision for adjusting the sliders.
- 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 4,556; SkyDiver: 2,547; Fire Strike: 612
- GeekBench: GeekBench: 2,336 (single-core); 4,115 (multi-core)
- PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,239 points
- PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 40 minutes
- Cinebench R15: OpenGL: 15.69 fps; CPU 129 cb
In our benchmarking, the Inspiron 15 scored comparatively with the HP Spectre in the 3DMark test, but failed to even catch up to the dust left behind by the Thinkpad Yoga. The Yoga's discrete graphics card really helps push it far above what the Inspiron is capable of with its on-board graphics.
The Inspiron also falls just slightly behind both competitors on the PCMark 8 test, but where it seriously lags is battery life. The Thinkpad Yoga came in at 5 hours and 7 minutes on the PCMark 8 battery life test, while the Spectre x360, despite its smaller size and lack of a dedicated graphics chip, came in at 4 hours and 38 minutes.
However, in real-world testing, watching a movie on a continuous loop at 50% brightness and volume, the Inspiron's battery lasted an adequate 5 hours and 16 minutes. That's almost enough to relieve the boredom of a cross-country flight without needing to swap to a different device. Still, that's not fantastic and well short of Dell's claim of nearly 9 hours.
Looks, sounds, and feels great
In spite of some performance shortcomings, the Inspiron looks and feels so nice, especially for the price. It makes a strong standing in its class.
The speakers output a clear, distortion-free sound that doesn't fall to pieces in the mids and lows, something you might not expect out of a mid-range laptop. Certain applications work really well in tablet mode, like Minecraft Windows 10 Edition Beta and certain websites. Watching movies on the Inspiron is also a treat, given its wide, vibrant display, and if you trust your kids enough, it could be used for in-car entertainment on road trips.
But don't bother trying to use the Inspiron 15 outside. Its reflective screen made it impossible to see anything, even on a slightly overcast day at max brightness.
The laptop is sturdy enough that you'll never feel like you need to hold it in any sort of special way to keep it from being damaged, but opening the laptop does require both hands and a firm grip. Its weight and size make tablet mode difficult one-handed without propping it up on something.
- McAfee Live Safe Internet Security: You're going to want to uninstall this immediately and find another solution. Its intrusive pop-ups hide the "close" option in a drop-down menu rather than a simple button.
- Amazon One Button App: a simple shortcut to Amazon located in the taskbar.
- Dell Backup and Recovery: Dell's proprietary backup solution.
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