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.

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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.

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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.

This is an awkward tablet to carry around, but at least when you do, the keyboard switches off.

This is an awkward tablet to carry around, but at least when you do, the keyboard switches off.

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.

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Conclusion

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).