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  4. Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (2015) Review
  • Pros /

    Sharp 4K touch screen; Luxurious design; Loud audio

  • Cons /

    Display not very bright; Jumpy cursor; Below-average battery life

  • Verdict /

    The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 offers a 4K touch screen and robust speakers in a luxurious design, but it doesn't offer enough endurance or oomph for the money.

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 has made the jump to 4K. Dell's 15-inch premium laptop is now available with a stunningly crisp 3840 x 2160-pixel screen, a 5th- Generation Intel Core i7 processor and an optional AMD graphics chip, giving you more power and more eye candy for work and play. Priced at $1,449, ($679 starting) this notebook has a lot to offer, but we'd like more performance and battery life for the money.

Specs

Design

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 looks and feels luxurious. It has the same satiny aluminum lid as the previous version of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000, with a shiny Dell logo in the middle and rounded corners. The keyboard deck sports a satin midnight-blue finish, giving the notebook a chic yet professional vibe.

The keyboard sits on the top middle portion of the deck, giving ample space at the bottom for a large touchpad encased in a slim, shiny bezel. There's a circular power button at the top right corner of the deck as well, which glows with a bluish clear light.

The 4K touch screen on the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is vibrant and perfect for watching your favorite YouTube and Netflix videos.

The Inspiron 15 7000 is fairly sleek at 14.9 x 10.3 x 0.78 inches and 4.53 pounds. The MacBook Pro 15 with Retina is slightly more svelte (14.13 x 9.73 x 0.71 inches, 4.49 pounds) and the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition is larger by a hair (15.3 x 10.1 x 0.8 x 0.9 inches, 4.8 pounds).

Display

The optional 4K touch screen on the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is vibrant and perfect for watching your favorite YouTube and Netflix videos. I watched the 4K trailers for Pixar's new movie Inside Out, and all the imaginary blob characters were rendered with bold, bright colors, their exaggerated expressions wide and detailed.

I wasn't surprised to see that the notebook delivered a wide range of hues on our color gamut test. The Inspiron 15 7000 can produce 93.4 percent on the sRGB color spectrum. That's better than the mainstream category average (84.3 percent) and both the MacBook Pro (86 percent) and the V15 Nitro (83.9 percent).

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However, this Dell isn't the best at reproducing colors accurately, with a Delta-E score of 5.4 (closer to 0 is better). That's better than the V15 Nitro, which scored an abysmal 10.5, but not as good as the MacBook Pro (2.1) or the mainstream category average of 2.3.

It's also not the brightest display, notching just 180 nits on our brightness scale. It's close to the V15 Nitro (212 nits), but no match for the mainstream category average (257 nits) or the shining MacBook Pro (303 nits).

Audio

The Inspiron 15 7000 is outfitted with Waves MaxxAudio and can pump out some loud tunes. I listened to "Golden" by Travie McCoy featuring Sia, and while the song was boisterous, Sia's vocals didn't have their typical sharpness through my headphones. They may not be the most accurate speakers, but they easily filled half of my apartment with rich sound.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Inspiron 15 7000's layout felt cramped at first. I would try to hit the Enter key with my pinky or ring finger and would miss entirely, hitting the space next to it on the keyboard deck. The keys have a travel of 1.1mm, which is quite flat, but a decent actuation force of 62 grams.

At first, I found it difficult to type on the notebook, but I got used to it, eventually hitting 73 words per minute with a max speed of 115 words per minute 0n the TypingTestOnline.org challenge.

I often used the touch screen to scroll when the touchpad wasn't quick to respond to my two-finger gestures.

The click pad is a spacious 4.2 x 3.2 inches, but I didn't love this pointing device. The cursor felt jumpy, and two-finger scrolling was erratic in the Chrome browser (better in Explorer).

I often used the touch screen to scroll or pinch to zoom when the touchpad wasn't quick to respond. The touch display was convenient both in desktop mode and in Windows mode, letting me close tabs and open previous apps.

Heat

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 can get a little heated on its underside, which measured 100 degrees Fahrenheit after streaming Hulu for 15 minutes. That's above our 95-degree comfort threshold. However, the touchpad reached just 77 degrees and the space between the G&H keys hit 92 degrees.

Ports and Webcam

The right side of the notebook holds the charging port, an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port and a headphone jack. The left side has another USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, a Noble lock slot and a media card reader.

The notebook's standard HD webcam isn't anything to write home about. The camera vibrantly rendered the rust color of my shirt and accurately reflected my skin tone, but the photo also looked on the fuzzy side.

Performance

My review unit of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 was outfitted with a 3-GHz Intel Core i7-5500U processor, 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. It handled more than 12 Google Chrome tabs well, with little lag as I switched between them.

On Geekbench 3, which measures overall performance, the Inspiron 15 7000 scored a measly 6,380. That's a good step up from the XPS 13 (5,530 with Core i5 and 4GB of RAM). However, the similarly priced but more gaming-focused Acer Aspire V15 Nitro (2.5-GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor with 16GB of RAM) reached a much higher 12,843.

The 256GB SSD moved 4.97GB of mixed media with a good transfer rate of 195.7 MBps. That's much better than the mainstream category average (58.5 MBps) and close to the V15 Nitro (203.6 MBps).

When matching 20,000 names to their addresses, the Inspiron 15 7000 completed the task in 4 minutes and 33 seconds, better than the category average of 5:05 but slower than the V15 Nitro (3:55).

Graphics

Now featuring an AMD Radeon R7 M270 GPU, the updated Dell Inspiron 15 7000 has decent graphics power, but don't expect to get your game on in 4K.

The notebook played World of Warcraft at a fairly smooth 46 frames per second on auto settings, but boosting the resolution to the native 3840 x 2160 slowed things to an unplayable 16 fps.

On the BioShock Infinite benchmark, the Inspiron 15 7000 averaged a barely playable 29 fps at 1080p on low settings, but fell to 11 fps at 4K. By comparison, the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro (featuring an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M GPU) produced 43 fps on the same test at 1080p.

When the Inspiron 15 7000 ran the 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme test, it delivered 1,197, which is not as good as the V15 Nitro (1,844) but is much better than the category average (959).

Battery Life

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 lasted 5 hours and 45 minutes on our battery test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi. That's shy of the mainstream category average (6:07), but you won't need to charge as frequently as you would with the V15 Nitro (2:48).

MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

Software and Warranty

The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 comes with Windows 8.1 installed and a few other pieces of software. MyDell keeps the system up to date and includes System Info, PC Checkup, Downloads and Backups and Drivers. I appreciated the free 20GB of DropBox storage space that comes with the purchase of this notebook, as every bit of cloud storage I can get is welcome.

The Inspiron 15 7000 comes with Dell's one-year limited hardware warranty. See how the company fared in our Tech Support Showdown.

Configurations

Our review unit of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 ($1,449) features a 3-GHz Intel Core i7-5500U processor with 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD (1TB hard drive) and an AMD Radeon R7 M270 GPU with 4GB of VRAM.

The base $679 model sports a 2.7-GHz Intel Core i5-5200U CPU, 6GB of RAM, 1TB hard drive and Intel HD Graphics 5500. That device has a 1920 x 1080-pixel FHD touch screen.

Bottom Line

Dell made the Inspiron 15 7000 an elegant multimedia notebook. Its sexy design will make you want to show it off, and its stunning and responsive optional 4K touch screen will be the envy of your friends. However, while this system offers solid overall performance, the discrete AMD graphics aren't powerful enough to play the most demanding games, especially at its native resolution. I also wish the touchpad worked more smoothly; it sometimes felt like it was fighting me.

Still, the $679 base model is a good option for families who want a notebook that does it all - it lets mom and dad work, and lets the kids watch videos and movies, as well as play touch-friendly games.

  • Pros /

    Sharp 4K touch screen; Luxurious design; Loud audio

  • Cons /

    Display not very bright; Jumpy cursor; Below-average battery life

  • Verdict /

    The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 offers a 4K touch screen and robust speakers in a luxurious design, but it doesn't offer enough endurance or oomph for the money.

CPU Intel Core i7-5500U
Operating System Windows 8.1
RAM 16GB
Hard Drive Size 256GB SSD
Hard Drive Type SSD Drive
Display Size 15.6
Native Resolution 3840 x 2160
Graphics Card AMD Radeon R7 M270
Video Memory 4GB
Touchpad Size 4.2 x 3.2 inches
Ports (excluding USB) Noble Lock
Ports (excluding USB) USB 2.0
Ports (excluding USB) USB 3.0
Ports (excluding USB) HDMI
Ports (excluding USB) Headphone/Mic
Card Slots SD memory reader
Card Slots SDXC
Card Slots SD/SDHC Card reader
Size 14.87 x 0.78 x 10.28
Weight 4.53
Company Website http://www.dell.com/