You see, Dell has thrown in what appears to be a full-size keyboard, and while it’s very springy, it’s still surprisingly comfortable. That’s the good side of things, and the more we played with the keyboard on the Inspiron 7000, the more we liked it, with a decent amount of travel, the right sort of click, and pretty much zero typing error or lag as we punched down the keys.
This is a very good keyboard, Dell. Keep them like this from now on.
But then there’s the mouse, and it just lacks the quality the keyboard oozes. Offering a slightly coarse texture to the top with a button that works but feels a little basic and plasticy, the mouse comes off feeling cheap while the keyboard offers an experience that begs to have text typed in.
It does offer multi-touch gestures, mind you, and is particularly fast at responding to them, but where the keyboard feels like Dell has paid plenty of attention, the mouse is just a little short.
Thankfully, you’re not forced to use the trackpad if you don’t want to.
Remember that the 13 inch screen is also a touchscreen, and to help with this part, the keyboard hides a little slot for a push-to-eject stylus. Granted, it’s not one of those neato magnetic ones Samsung’s tablets and (at one point in time) laptops used, but rather a simple broad-tipped passive stylus.
That means there’s no mouse button here, so if you want to do anything more than simple double tapping — right clicking, for instance — you’re going to have to go back to that ho-hum trackpad under the keyboard.
But it’s at least an inclusion, and a positive one at that.
And it’s an inclusion that will lead you to the Dell Inspiron 7000’s hidden secret.
Actually, it doesn’t really hide it, more like it just assumes you know what it can do, provided you’ve read the feature list when buying it, the box, and even taken a gander at the sticker on the wrist wrest.
This not-quite-so-secretive feature is a multi-mode hinge, which is a slightly more complicated way of saying 360 degree hinge, allowing the Dell 7000 series laptop to fold its screen all the way back and work as a 13 inch tablet.
We’ve seen this style from Dell before, and we’ve even seen it from other manufacturers, and it has many names, but the premise is this: why have just a tablet when you can have a laptop that works in very much the same way, and even stands up when you decide to use it as an entertainment solution.
Those are just some of the options in what Dell calls a 2-in-1, and if you want to, you can fold the keyboard underneath the laptop and turn it into a tablet. We’re not sure why you’d want to type on a 13 inch tablet when you have an excellent physical keyboard at your disposal, but the option is there, and the 13 inch Full HD display is also available to you.
But no matter how you use it — tablet or laptop — you’ll find a pretty ordinary battery life waiting for you.
We suppose it had to happen this way; there is an Intel Core i7 lurking underneath, and it can get a wee bit toasty, but that warm processor can speed its way to a 5 to 6 hour battery life, and that’s while doing something as simple as being productive and writing, and being less productive and surfing the web.
A battery life of 5 to 6 tells us how well the system will perform when there’s something intensive going on, and the results aren’t super amazing, so if you’re going to load up Photoshop or something else processor intensive, make sure to keep your battery charger nearby, because you are going to need it.
You might also hear the fan spin up every so often, and it’s a little high pitched, but not overly loud, and for the most part, we didn’t hear it at all during our time with it, except during one small play with a Full HD video. Again, not very loud, just something we heard.
It’s a shame, too, because the performance is pretty good. Hardly surprising given the Core i7 underneath, but we found little to no lag as we wrote on the machine and relied on it for general use.
Push it hard and you may find it pushes back, but overall, we found the Core i7 and 8GB RAM handled itself about as well as any other Ultrabook we’ve tested here.
If you’re looking for something and have a reasonable amount to spend, Dell’s 7000 series Inspiron handles itself well and is spec’d closely to other machines in the $1600-2000 class.
That said, we’re curious about its lack of high-grade materials, because with this set of specs and a $1700 price for the model we checked out, Dell is competing against models which aren’t far off the dollar mark and yet include better looking and more solid hinges (Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro) or aluminium as the chassis material (HP Spectre 13, 2015 edition).
Dell, on the other hand, relies on plastic. Plastic isn’t bad, but it’s still plastic, and granted, it’s a nice feeling machine, but it lacks the premium feel and deluxe finish the others are going for, and yet targets similar money, leaving us a little uneasy in the value department.
If that doesn’t bother you, though, and you’re happy with Dell’s design, you’ll find something to like in the Inspiron 7000 series 13 inch.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Surprisingly well spec'd for a machine this size; Decent Full HD display; Comfortable keyboard; Soft plastic exterior is very easy to grip and hold; Passive stylus included in the package, with a slot for the pen;
Chassis could do with more premium materials... or any, even; Very, very reflective screen; Overly plastic trackpad could do with some more work; Fairly ordinary battery life;