The Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 ($900 to start, $1,150 as tested) is the largest 2-in-1 around, and giant-screen enthusiasts will appreciate its Brobdingnagian proportions. If you want a giant laptop that turns into a giant tablet, this is for you. While it has a great screen and offers strong performance, the size is unwieldy as a convertible, and it's not comfortable to type on.
Anyone who has walked past my desk in the past few days has seen me engaging with an aluminum beast. Once you get over the Inspiron's sheer size, it's otherwise a very plain machine. It's a slab of dark-gray aluminum with Dell's logo in black on the lid. Lifting the lid reveals the 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 touch screen and an island-style keyboard complete with number pad.
The laptop has a pair of 360-degree hinges that allow it to be used in four different modes: laptop, tablet, tent and display. This is par for the course for a 2-in-1, but the 17-inch Inspiron is unwieldy, and I often had to contort my arms into strange angles to switch it around (you might have better luck if you have a longer wingspan than me).
The Inspiron weighs 6.2 pounds and measures 16.2 x 10.9 x 0.9 inches. That's slightly smaller than the HP Envy 17 (6.6 pounds, 16.4 x 11.2 x 1 inches), which isn't a 2-in-1. The 15-inch Samsung Notebook 7 Spin (5 pounds, 14 x 10.1 x 0.8 inches) and the 15-inch HP Spectre x360 (4.4 pounds, 14 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches) are both far smaller and lighter, but at the expense of a larger screen.
Despite the amount of space on the Inspiron's sides, it doesn't have any more ports than you would find on a 13- or 15-inch laptop.
The left side is where you'll find a USB Type-C port with DisplayPort, an HDMI output, a USB 3.0 port and a headphone/microphone combo jack. On the right are a USB 2.0 port, an SD card reader and a Noble lock slot, as well as the power button and volume rocker.
The 17.3-inch, 1080p display on the Inspiron is nice and vivid, as long as you keep it at maximum brightness. If it was anywhere below that, I found it was a bit dim. When I watched a trailer for the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, Gaston's red jacket popped on the screen against the beige walls in a pub, while I could make out every single ruffle in Belle's yellow dress.
The panel reproduces a beautiful 112 percent (100 percent is considered excellent) of the sRGB color gamut. While that falls below the 120-percent desktop-replacement average, it beats the Notebook 7 and Envy and is just behind the Spectre x360 .
With a Delta-E score of 1.4 (0 is ideal), this screen is very accurate, besting the average as well as the Notebook 7 Envy 17 and Spectre x360.
The Inspiron's panel measured an average brightness of 246 nits. While that's lower than the 297-nit average, I found it to be completely usable if I kept it at max brightness. The Envy, Spectre x360 and Notebook 7 all hit above 250 nits.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Inspiron's keyboard is shallow and set very far back on the deck, which are two ingredients for an uncomfortable typing experience. The keys offer 1.3 millimeters of travel (we prefer 1.5mm) and require 55 grams of force to press. Although I typed at an above-average pace of 117 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test with my usual 2-percent error rate, I found that the keys felt flat. The 17-inch deck leaves a lot of extra room, and I had to reach to the back of the deck to type.
The 4.2 x 3.2-inch touchpad is smooth and accurate, but considering the size of the deck I wish it was larger (there's certainly room for it). Besides two-finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom, the Inspiron supports Windows precision gestures, like flicking three fingers to show or hide your windows.
The speakers on the Inspiron can get loud, but they don't provide even, balanced sound. When I listened to Audioslave's "Dandelion," singer Chris Cornell's vocals and the guitars absolutely dominated the song, subduing any sign of the drums and the bass.
I opened up Dell's preloaded Waves MaxxAudio Pro software and used the MaxxBass and Details options to make the cymbals and bass clearer and to dial down the guitar, though I never managed to truly highlight the drums.
The Inspiron's 2.7-GHz Intel Core i7-7500 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB, 5,400rpm HDD, 128GB SSD and Nvidia GeForce GTX 940M GPU are primed for multitasking. I had 30 tabs open in Google Chrome, one of which was streaming a 1080p clip from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, without any lag while scrolling or switching between tabs.
Dell's 2-in-1 earned a score of 7,610 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test. The Envy 17 and Spectre x360, both with the same Core i7-7500 CPU and 16GB of RAM, scored higher at 8,367 and 8,017, respectively.
It took the Inspiron 1 minute and 23 seconds to copy 4.97GB of files; a rate of 61 MBps. The Spectre x360 and its [TK] reached 282.1 MBps. The Notebook 7 was also faster at 77.4 MBps, but the Envy was slower at just 48.5 MBps.
On our OpenOffice Spreadsheet macro, the Inspiron took 3 minutes and 38 seconds to pair 20,000 names and addresses. That's in the middle of the pack compared with competing systems.
You won't be able to use the GTX 940M GPU (a last-generation graphics card) for intense gaming, so put away your copies of Grand Theft Auto V and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. It played the Dirt 3 benchmark at a playable 36 frames per second, though, so you can kill a few hours with lighter fare.
The Dell earned a score of 103,676 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark. Equipped with their own GTX 940 Ms, the Spectre x360, Envy and Notebook 7 all notched lower scores.When the Inspiron isn't doing any heavy lifting, it falls back on its Intel Integrated HD Graphics 620 GPU.
The Inspiron endured 6 hours and 27 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which consists of browsing the web continuously over Wi-Fi. It outlasted the desktop-replacement average (4:30), the Envy (4:48) and the Notebook 7 (5:53). The Spectre x360 lasted longer (8:36) despite its 4K display.
MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life
The 720p webcam on the Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 takes unremarkable photos.
A picture that I snapped at my desk wasn't terribly detailed (my beard was one brown glob), but my pale blue-striped shirt was color-accurate.
The Inspiron stayed nice and cool during regular use in our testing. After 15 minutes of streaming HD video from YouTube, the bottom of the laptop measured 93 degrees Fahrenheit, while the touchpad reached 85 degrees and the space between the G and H keys hit 80 degrees.
Software and Warranty
Dell stuck to its routine set of preloaded apps on the Inspiron. It includes SupportAssist to research and find troubleshooting resources and Dell Update to keep your laptop up to date. Dell also added Dropbox (with 20GB of free space one year) and a 30-day free trial of Microsoft Office. McAfee LiveSafe comes with it, but its pop-ups are annoying and you can do better when it comes to antivirus software.
There's also the usual bloatware built into Windows 10, including Candy Crush Soda Saga, Flipboard, Netflix and Twitter.
Dell sells the Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 with a one-year warranty. See how the company did on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands ranking.
The $1,150 Inspiron I reviewed came with a 2.7-GHz Intel Core i7-7500 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB, 5,400-rpm HDD,128GB SSD,Nvidia GeForce GTX 940M GPU and an Intel Integrated HD Graphics 620 GPU. The price drops to $1,050 without the SSD and jumps to $1,350 with a 512GB SSD.
The $900-base model features a Core i5-7200U processor, 12GB of RAM, 1TB, 5400-rpm HDD and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 940 MX GPU with a Intel Integrated HD Graphics 620 GPU.
The Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 is a computer for those who want the versatility of a convertible and the biggest honkin'screen you can find. It's cumbersome to switch between modes, but its 17-inch display is vivid and you get solid performance.
If you want the same guts but prefer something smaller and with a more striking design, the 15-inch HP Spectre x360 has a 4K display and offers much longer battery life. The trade-off is that it's more expensive, starting at $1,280.
But if you want a supersized convertible, stretch your arms as far they'll go and consider the Inspiron.