Premium 2-in-1 notebooks typically don't sell at affordable prices, but the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 makes a case for sub-$800 convertibles. Starting (and tested) at $750, this attractive convertible packs a speedy 7th Gen Intel CPU for work, and a comfortable keyboard for getting it all done. Unfortunately, its short battery life and ho-hum display prevent it from being a sure thing, but you do get good performance, design and audio quality for your money
The aluminum Inspiron 13's brushed-metal lid and deck give a dash of premium class to this midpriced machine. There's also an eye-catching, shiny bevelled edge that wraps around the lid.
At 3.4 pounds and 0.8 inches thick, the Inspiron 13 isn't winning any contests for thinness or weight. The 13-inch HP Spectre x360 (2.85 pounds, 0.54 inches) and the Asus ZenBook Flip UX360CA (3.0 pounds, 0.55 inches) are thinner and lighter. The 15-inch Lenovo Yoga 710 is an expectedly heavier 4.2 pounds, though still thinner at 0.71 inches.
On the left side, you'll find both a power jack and a power-drawing USB Type-C port alongside an HDMI port, a USB 3.0 port and a headphone jack. Dell placed the SD memory reader, Noble lock slot and USB 2.0 port on the right side, where the notebook's power and volume buttons rest.
The 13-inch full-HD screen on the Inspiron 13 7000 provides a sharp picture but flat colors and more reflections than I'd like. When watching the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. trailer on this panel, I appreciated the details of Baby Groot's bark, but an exploding spaceship looked muted.
Our colorimeter detected poor color reproduction, as the Inspiron's screen registered 69 percent of the sRGB spectrum. That's far below the readings from the $1,300 Spectre x360 (102 percent)and the $749 ZenBook Flip (102 percent). It's also well below the $1,136 Yoga 710 (101 percent) and the 99 percent ultraportable average.
The Inspiron 13 isn't that bright, either, emitting a paltry 228 nits. That makes it dimmer than the Spectre x360 (318 nits), the ZenBook Flip (298 nits) and the Yoga 710 (322 nits). This resulted in a poor range of viewing angles, as colors darkened when viewed at 45 degrees to the left or right.
This convertible's touch screen accurately tracked my fingers as I navigated the desktop. It also speedily recognized Windows 10 swipe-in gestures for viewing all windows and opening the Action Center.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Inspiron 13's backlit keyboard felt comfortable to use, as it enabled speedy input. When I tested it on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I beat my 80 words per minute average with a mark of 84 wpm. The keys offer only 1.3 millimeters of travel and require only 55 grams of actuation force (below the 1.5mm and 60g marks we prefer), but their responsive feedback overcame those issues.
The buttonless 4.2 x 2.6-inch touchpad on the Inspiron tracked digits accurately and provided a solid feel to each click. It also speedly recognized two-finger swipes and three-finger app-switch gestures.
You can rock out in this convertible, as it filled our large conference room with sweet sound. Its rendition of Rick Ross' "Apple of My Eye" featured clear vocals, sturdy bass and accurate piano keys.
If you need your tunes to sound just right, the Waves MaxxAudioPro sound utility offers tons of tweaks. This means you can bump up the bass, widen the sound space and heighten audio details. I didn't find that tweaking its default settings helped improve the sound.
Armed with a 7th-Gen Core i5-7200 CPU and 8GB of RAM, the entry-level Inspiron 13 offers enough brawn to multitask. It showed no stagger or stutter as I split my screen between a 1080p YouTube video and 12 open Chrome tabs (including Google Docs, Slack and TweetDeck). The system stayed speedy after I added more apps on top, opening files in Word and Excel.
The Inspiron 13 scored 6,707 on the Geekbench 4 general performance test. That's near the 6,782 from the $1,136 Yoga 710 (Core i5-7200U, 8GB RAM) and above the 5,082 from the $750 ZenBook Flip (Core m3-6Y30, 8GB RAM). Both the 7,143 category average and the 8,147 earned by the $1,300 Spectre x360 (Core i7-7500U, 16GB RAM) beat the Inspiron, though.
The 256GB M.2 SSD in the Inspiron 13 copied 4.97GB of files in 46 seconds, for a rate of 110.6 MBps. That's far behind the 512GB PCIe SSD in the Spectre x360 (318.1 MBps) and the 512 SSD in the ZenBook Flip (169.6 MBps). The Inspiron 13's performance also lagged the 256GB SSD in the Yoga 710 (164.2 MBps) and the 182.8 category average.
The Inspiron 13 rebounded on our OpenOffice Macro test, matching 20,000 names with addresses in 4 minutes and 3 seconds. That trounced the ZenBook Flip (6:00) and the 5:57 average for ultraportables. The Yoga 710 (4:02) finished a mere second earlier.
The integrated Intel HD 620 graphics in the Inspiron 13 enabled it to a 55,827 score on the Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark. That beats the 53,691 average for ultraportables and the ZenBook Flip (52,374), which packs a previous-gen Intel HD 515 card. Other competitors earned higher scores, including the Spectre x360 (70,494), which has the same Intel HD 620 card as the Dell, and the Yoga 710 (84,670), which has a 2GB Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU.
Gamers with modest demands can rock with the Inspiron 13 7000, as it ran Dirt 3 at a playable 38 frames per second (set to 1920 x 1080 pixels and medium graphics). That's better than the 33 fps category average and the unplayable 18fps rate from the ZenBook Flip. The Spectre x360 (40 fps) ran the game even smoother.
The Inspiron 13's lackluster battery life will have you dragging its power cord around. It lasted only 6 hours and 30 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (web surfing at 100 nits).
That's shorter than the 8:11 average for ultraportables, as well as the times posted by the Spectre x360 (10:06), the ZenBook Flip (9:58) and the Yoga 710 (9:19).
The 0.9 megapixel webcam in the Inspiron 13 captures decent color, but the photos lack detail. When I took a selfie on my fire escape, it accurately captured a rust-colored facade, black fire escape bars and my green-and-yellow hat. As with most built-in webcams, it reproduced little in the way of smaller features, practically erasing my stubble and the label on my hat.
The Inspiron 13's infrared webcam also supports Windows Hello facial recognition. It's super- easy to set up (you only have to set up a login password and PIN code), and it works so quickly that it makes it a breeze to log into your machine.
Your lap can get a little hot with the Inspiron 13. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video on the notebook, its underside read 97 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a bit over our 95-degree comfort threshold. Its touchpad (86.5 degrees) and the center of its keyboard (91 degrees) stayed cool, however.
Software and Warranty
The Inspiron 13 comes with the usual bloatware suspects, both from Dell and from third parties. That means you're getting Dell Power Manager to cycle your battery properly and Support Assist for when you need to contact Dell's tech support. Netflix and Candy Crush Soda Saga also come pre-loaded, though they're easy enough to uninstall.
We tested the entry-level, $749 Inspiron 13 7000, which packs a Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an IR webcam.
The $899 model upgrades that to a Core i7-7500U processor, and the $1,049 version includes 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
The slick Inspiron 13 offers plenty of pep and a comfortable keyboard in a premium design, and its speakers are surprisingly good, too. However, below-average battery life and a relatively dull display hold this 2-in-1 back from a higher rating.
If you want a thinner, faster and longer-lasting convertible, the 13-inch Spectre x360 is a great option, though it starts at $1,199 and the model we reviewed costs $1,300. If you're OK with a bigger screen, the Yoga 710 can give you similar speed and more battery life, though it, too, is pricier ($1,136).
Overall, those on a budget who want a 2-in-1 with good general performance should consider the Inspiron 13 7000.