There are few compelling 13-inch 2-in-1 laptops that don't cost an arm and a leg. Unfortunately, as much as the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 ($729) tries to be the standout laptop in this price range, it falls short due to poor battery life and an underwhelming display.
Still, there is a lot to like about the Inspiron 13 7000. For example, the convertible has an aluminum build, and the secondary IR camera makes logging into Windows 10 with Hello a breeze. So while it doesn't deserve a glowing recommendation, the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 is worthy of your consideration.
How Much Does the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 Cost?
Our $729 review unit comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The $679 base model has the same specs, except storage is cut in half, at 128GB. The only other version gets you a more powerful AMD Ryzen 7 2700U CPU and 12GB of RAM for $850.
The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1's design may look bland, but the laptop's metal chassis is a definite step up from previous plastic Inspiron models we've reviewed.
This pricier version has a brushed-aluminum deck that may have been stylish a few years ago but now looks dated. Also, thick display bezels, like those found on the Inspiron 13 7000, are becoming inexcusable as bezelless designs trickle down into lower price ranges.
Fortunately, the laptop's chrome logo and trim around the lid and touchpad add elegance to a classy dark gray-and-silver color scheme. I'm also a fan of the rear vent design, which has a certain cool factor to it.
As a bendback 2-in-1, the flexible Inspiron 13 7000 can flip back into a tablet or fold into tent mode for viewing content or presenting slideshows.
At 12.7 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches and 3.5 pounds, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 is considerably larger than the Lenovo Yoga 730 (11.5 x 8 x 0.6 inches, 2.7 pounds). However, another direct competitor to the Inspiron, the Acer Spin 3 (13.2 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches, 3.6 pounds), is even larger and heavier.
The Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port, but just about every other modern input is here.
On the right side of the laptop are an SD card slot, a USB 2.0 port and a Noble lock. A USB 3.0 Type-C port, an HDMI, a USB 3.0 port and a headphone/mic jack grace the left side of the chassis.
While sharp, the Inspiron 13 7000's 13.3-inch touch-screen display is let down by dull colors and a poor maximum-brightness setting.
When I viewed a 1080p trailer of the biographical drama Collette, the brilliant period costumes were rich and detailed. I could clearly see the dark floral pattern on Keira Knightley's white dress and the crosshatching in her wicker hat. In a party scene, the sharp display caught the acclaimed actress' subtly upturned smile as she held up a small shot glass with her ring-adorned fingers.
I do wish the colorful gowns worn by the dancers were more vibrant -- the display didn't do justice to the energy of the scene. And some of the darker shots, like when Knightley stands on a dimly lit stage, looked rather dreary on this dull display. White balance is also far too warm.
The Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1's display covers only 67 percent of the sRGB color gamut, falling well short of the Yoga 730 (118 percent) and the mainstream laptop average (86 percent). The convertible Spin 3 has a similarly underwhelming screen (69 percent).
Display brightness is also a shortcoming of the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1. At 218 nits, the panel is much dimmer than the display on the Spin 3 (237 nits) and the Yoga 730 (282 nits). The mainstream laptop average is also more luminous, at 242 nits.
I had no problems using the touch-screen display to browse the web or draw pictures in Paint 3D.
Keyboard and Touchpad
I have mixed feelings about the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1's backlit keyboard. While the laptop's keys are undoubtedly shallow, they make up for it with good spacing and a pleasant springiness.
At 1.1 millimeters, key travel on the Inspiron 13 is on the short side. We prefer between 1.5 mm and 2 mm of key travel because it ensures that you don't bottom out, or hit the deck when a key is activated.
Still, overall, the keyboard is comfortable, and I never felt like it slowed me down. That's thanks in large part to the adequate spacing between each key and an actuation force of 71 grams, which is right in the sweet spot. And instead of having a mushy feeling, like the keyboards on so many other sub-$1,000 laptops, the Inspiron's keys are pleasantly bouncy, if a bit stiff.
My 108 words-per-minute score in the 10fastfingers.com typing test is a single wpm behind my average, and the 93 percent accuracy I achieved falls just below my 5 percent error rate.
The 4.1 x 2.5-inch touchpad on the Inspiron 13 responded swiftly to my commands. The surface had no problems with a range of gestures, including pinch-to-zoom, three-finger swipe to switch between windows and three-finger tap to open Cortana.
The bottom-firing speakers on the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 get loud enough to fill a medium-size room, and they output clear audio. When I listened to Eminem's "Fall," the rapper's flowing vocals were free of distortion, even at maximum volume. Unfortunately, the bass in the song's energetic beat was anemic and sounded more like splashy cymbal hits than low thuds.
The electric guitar featured prominently in Hozier's new song "Shrike" was a bit hollow on the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1, but the Irish singer's powerful voice boomed with conviction.
If the audio isn't to your liking, you can balance the highs, mids and lows using MaxxAudio Pro, Dell's EQ software.
Powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU, the Inspiron 13 7000 did a decent job during our real-world performance testing. I noticed only occasional lag when I loaded 16 tabs in Google Chrome and ran two 1080p YouTube videos and a full HD Twitch stream. Most of the sluggishness I encountered happened when I switched between tabs and scrolled with the touch screen.
The Inspiron achieved better-than-average results on our lab tests, but the laptop lagged behind Intel-powered competitors. It scored a 10,278 on the Geekbench 4.1 overall performance test, falling far behind the Spin 3 (13,203) and the Yoga 730 (13,750). On a positive note, the 2-in-1 scored higher than the mainstream laptop category average (9,847).
The Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 makes up for a somewhat underpowered processor with a speedy 256GB SSD. The laptop required only 27 seconds to duplicate 4.97GB of mixed-media files in our File Transfer Test. At a rate of 188 megabytes per second, the Inspiron's hard drive outpaces the Spin 3 (145.6 MBps) and the mainstream laptop average (136 MBps), but it was no competitor against the lightning-quick Yoga 730 (299 MBps).
The Inspiron 13 7000's score was right in the mix on our Excel Macro Test, where we task laptops to match 65,000 names to their corresponding addresses. The convertible completed the task in 1 minute and 32 seconds, which is a bit slower than the Spin 3 and Yoga 730, but a good deal faster than the mainstream laptop average.
It took the Dell laptop 23 minutes and 9 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution using the Handbrake app. The Yoga 730 took only 11 minutes and 59 seconds to complete the task, but that result is an outlier, considering the Spin 3 needed 21 minutes and 9 seconds, and the mainstream laptop average is just short of 28 minutes.
The Radeon RX Vega 8 GPU didn't provide the gaming boost we'd hoped for on this AMD-powered machine. Like other laptops with integrated graphics, the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 is good enough for casual gaming, but not much beyond that.
The Inspiron scored a 72,488 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics test, below what the Intel UHD Graphics 620-equipped Yoga 730 (81,015) scored. The category average (70,737) is slightly worse than the Inspiron 13's result.
The Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 did a solid job in real-world testing, but it didn't run away from the competition. The 2-in-1 played the racing game, Dirt 3, at 52 frames per second, which is smoother than the Spin 3 (47 fps) and the mainstream laptop average (45 fps), but the Yoga 730 (45 fps) wins out again.
You'll need to stay near a power outlet with the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1; the laptop's short-lived endurance is just sad. The Inspiron 13 lasted only 6 hours and 21 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness.
That's a terrible result when compared to the 9 hours and 12 minutes achieved by the Spin 3. Even the Yoga 730, which we criticized for its below-average battery life of 7 hours, outlasted the Inspiron 13. The laptop category average is 7:28 -- an entire hour longer than the Inspiron 13.
The image captured by the Inspiron 13 7000's 720p webcam depends greatly on lighting. In a dimly lit office setting, the camera failed to soak up enough light, resulting in a muted image devoid of detail. When I moved to a brighter area, minute features in my face surfaced, and I could make out individual strands of hair in my beard and the turquoise-blue veins in my hand. Under the same lighting, the selfie camera did a good job accurately capturing colors. The teal shirt I was wearing matched my blue eyes, and blond streaks could be seen in my beard.
Don't worry about the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 overheating; the convertible laptop remained cool under a heavy workload. The center of the keyboard (87.5 degrees) and the underside of the laptop (86.6 degrees) stayed under 90 degrees when we watched a 15-minute, full-screen HD video. Better yet, the touchpad (79 degrees) didn't even breach the 80-degree mark. The hinge was the hottest location on the laptop, at 91 degrees, but even that area remained below our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Software and Warranty
Windows 10 on the Inspiron 13 7000 comes with an average amount of preinstalled software. Dell brings its typical suite of support apps, including Dell Update, which automatically checks online for the latest BIOS, driver and firmware releases.
Another genuinely useful app from Dell is Mobile Connect, which displays smartphone notifications from Facebook, email and text messages, on your laptop. You can also take calls, send messages and interact with phone apps. The app now shows third-party iOS-specific notifications, a feature not present on even Mac computers.
Dell Digital Delivery lets you manage software you purchase when ordering the laptop, while the Dell Power Manager shows you the health of your battery. There is also a Customer Connect app, should you need to contact a support representative.
Microsoft adds a bunch of bloatware to what Dell already brings to the table. Apps you shouldn't feel bad about uninstalling include Hidden City, McAfee Security, LinkedIn and the Candy Crush games.
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With a poor display and short battery life, the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 falls flat where it matters most. Those shortcomings are hard to overlook and prevent the Inspiron 13 7000 from reaching the ranks of the best mainstream 2-in-1s. Still, the laptop's sturdy aluminum chassis, snappy keyboard and Windows Hello support make up some ground.
Unfortunately, there are still no standout 13-inch 2-in-1 laptops that cost less than $800. The Acer Spin 3 is a formidable alternative to the Dell, but a poor keyboard and middling performance hold it back. The 12.3-inch HP Chromebook x2 is an excellent device, so long as you're OK using Chrome OS.
Alternatively, you could spend around the same amount of money on an excellent clamshell laptop, like the Asus ZenBook UX330UA, or save up a bit more cash for a premium 2-in-1, like the Lenovo Yoga 920.
Credit: Laptop Mag