For those of you who are looking for a highly versatile and functional laptop, which runs on Windows 8.1 and offers a lot of potential, then the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2 in 1 laptop is definitely worth a look.
Thanks to Windows 8, laptops equipped with touchscreen have finally found their role in the world of productivity. It has also provided manufacturers with the option to create a hybrid device whenever a new series is introduced by competitors.
Dell first entered the hybrid market with its 3000 series of hybrid laptops, and recently added the Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 series. The 7000 series is set to compete with other hybrid PCs on the market, with its solid hardware construction and improved performance.
Design and Aesthetics.
The first thing you will notice visually on the Inspiron 13 7000 is the look and feel of the chassis, which mimics a durable machined silver colour of aluminium. In reality, it is a strong plastic finish that does not feel cheap by any means. At the same time, the weight of the laptop is very light with a stylish and sleek profile. A nice blend of looks with reliability.
The Inspiron 13 7000 is not the slimmest device on the market, however with its durable build quality, it is still lightweight without feeling flimsy. The Inspiron 13 7000 does not offer an optical drive but Dell makes up for this in its generosity with connectivity ports and SD card reader capability.
Additionally, the speakers are located on both sides of the device, and you won’t be disappointed with their quality. Since the Inspiron 13 7000 can also be used as a tablet, the power button and a volume rocker are strategically located on the right hand side of the device.
The connectivity ports are modestly positioned on both sides of the device and designed to blend well with the chassis design. A handy button on the one side reveals a hidden stylus pen, which pops out when you push the button. The bottom of the Inspiron 13 7000 is constructed of the same durable plastic material that resembles a high end silver aluminium finish and is attached with a series of screws that make accessing the internal components easy.
When you open up the back panel, the internal components are readily accessible and allow for convenient upgrades and battery swap outs. This is one of the great things about the Inspiron 13 7000. Most hybrid devices do not offer the ability to perform hardware upgrades but Dell is changing this. Plus, you can remove the back panel using a standard Philips screwdriver without any trouble.
Once you remove the back panel, you will find a 43Wh 3-cell battery, which is nestled inside the interior and performing a hard drive upgrade is as easy as removing the one screw that holds it in place. The only drawback for upgrades, is there is only one slot for the Random Access Memory (RAM) which means you are limited to 4 or 8GB of RAM depending upon the model you choose, and unless you’re running high-end games, 8GB is a huge amount for a device of this size.
What’s it like to live with?
When looking at the keyboard, it comes equipped with backlighting and a spill resistant coating, perfect for those spilt cups of coffee! The chiclet style keys are square and well spaced to reduce typing errors and when you press on the keys, they provide a great tactile feel with a generously sized touchpad.
The touchscreen can be folded back flush to the keyboard for use as a tablet device which allows you to maximise the use of tiles and apps on the Windows 8.1 operating system. You can also fold the display to a tent-style position, for use during presentations and sharing with others. The hinge also allows the bottom portion with the keyboard to function as a desk stand for the touchscreen. The screen is also equipped with a 720p webcam at the top with the Windows button located in the bottom centre of the screen.
Another standout feature is the hybrid capability with solidly built hinges. Dell has pointed out on its website that during testing, the hinges have been manipulated and twisted over 20,000 times (In Features and Designs). This means you never have to be concerned about breakage due to poor construction.
What are the Technical Specifications?
When it comes to the technical specifications, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is offered in a standard version and a high-end version. This means that the specifications will vary depending on the model you choose. The primary difference in the two versions is the processor performance, amount of memory, hard drive storage, type of wireless connectivity, and display resolution.
- Processor Performance: Both versions of the Inspiron 13 7000 are equipped with a 4th Generation Intel Core processor. However, the standard version includes an i3 processor running at 1.70 GHz, where the upper end version is equipped with an i5 processor running at up to 2.70 GHz. If you are not tech savvy, this means that the i5 processor provides faster performance than the i3 processor. Additionally, both versions are equipped Intel HD graphics 4400 processing performance.
- Memory: The difference in the memory capacity is 4GB for the standard version and 8GB for the higher end version. Both versions offers DDR3L Random Access Memory which is the latest RAM technology.
- Hard Drive: Both versions of the Inspiron 13 7000 are equipped with a 500GB hard drive. However, the standard version is equipped with a SATA hard drive where the high-end model has a SATA Hybrid hard drive. SATA stands for Serial Attached Technology Attachment which is point-to-point and offers a faster connection to a Solid State Drive. This allows the boot functions on the device to be reserved for basic operations. A SATA hybrid drive simply takes hard drive storage to the next level by monitoring the data that is read from the hard drive. Then it stores the frequently accessed bits of data in flash memory which provides faster performance when it comes to data retrieval.
- Wireless Connectivity: There is a slight difference in the wireless connectivity capability between the standard version of the Inspiron 13 7000 and the higher end version. The standard version offers wireless 802.11 b/g/n connectivity with Bluetooth 4.0. The higher end model is equipped with dual band wireless connectivity, which allows you to switch frequency bands to achieve the fastest connection to the Internet. This version also offers Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting Bluetooth enabled devices as well.
- Display: In terms of the 13.3 inch display screen, both versions of the Inspiron 13 7000 are equipped with a full high definition touchscreen with In-Plane Switching (IPS). IPS is a technology that improves the color saturation, screen response, and viewing angles. The difference between the two versions lies within the screen resolution with 1366 x 768 for the standard version and 1920 x 1080 for the high end model.
- Port Connectivity: The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 offers a generous number of ports which include one full size HDMI port for connecting to a high definition big screen television, one SD media card slot for additional storage, two high speed USB 3.0 ports including one that is equipped with Power Share for adjusting the battery charge, one USB 2.0 port for connecting older peripheral devices, two audio speakers, and a 3.5mm combination headphone/microphone port. There is also an internal slot that holds the included stylus pen which pops out when you press the button.
- Battery: The 43 WHr (watt per hour) 3-cell battery is included with both versions of the Inspiron 13 7000 and offers a life of up to eight hours before recharge is necessary. This is an impressive achievement for a laptop with so much functionality and it will of course depend on your activities. There are a few steps you can take to help prolong a charged battery life, such as reducing the amount of applications running at once, limiting battery intense applications, regularly clearing vents off any dust, preventing the battery running down to zero and always ensure your charger is always close by.
- Dimensions: The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 weighs in at 3.68 pounds with dimensions of 0.75 (19.41mm) x 12.99 (330.12mm) x 8.74 (222mm) inches.
In terms of price, depending upon where you make your purchase, you can expect to pay around £499.00 for the standard version and in the range of £649.00 for the higher end model.
How does the Inspiron 13 7000 compare to Previous Models?
There are several differences in the Inspiron 13 7000 when you compare it with previous Inspiron hybrid models. First, Dell rolled out two different series of its 2-in-1 hybrid PC,s known as the 3000 series and the 7000 series. The devices in the 3000 series are equipped with an Intel Pentium quad core processor, where the devices in the 7000 series provide faster and better performance with a 4th generation Intel core processor.
The display for the Inspiron 13 7000 is also larger than the display on the devices in the 3000 series. The 7000 series of the Inspiron hybrid device offers a 13.3-inch full high definition display which is an upgrade from the 3000 series with an 11.6 inch display.
In terms of wireless connectivity, the 3000 series does not offer dual band wireless in any of its versions. Dual band wireless is offered in the high end model for the 7000 series.
What are the Pros and Cons?
When you look at the overall design and functionality of the Dell Inspiron 13 7000, the device provides you with versatility, style, and capability that will allow you to complete general computing tasks or carry you through an entire workday. To round out the review, here are a few pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.
- The ability to easily access internal components to perform upgrades or swap out the battery.
- Relatively low amount of junk ware. Instead, the device is equipped with useful software such as Dell Backup and Recovery, My Dell, which provides you with PC performance statistics, 20GB of free Dropbox storage, Skype, Dell Digital Delivery, and Live Essentials. You also have access to a 30-day free trial of McAfee LiveSafe and Microsoft Office 2013.
- Keyboard is spill resistant and backlit for environments with low lighting.
- 4th generation Intel processor provides speedy performance.
- Built-in stylus pen prevents you from having to remember to bring one with you.
- Plenty of ports improve connectivity options.
- Sturdy construction allows for a lot of twisting and turning without having to worry about breakage.
- The 720p camera is average at best.
- The device is thicker when compared to other hybrid PCs on the market.
- Touchpad is positioned in a way that invites accidental gestures with your wrist.
- Intel HD graphics performance can handle casual gaming but is not designed for the hard core gamer.
- If you require an optical drive, you must purchase an external optical drive separately.
What Accessories are Available?
If you pay a visit to the Dell’s website, you will find a variety of accessories that can be purchased at an additional cost. A few of the accessories include:
- Wireless Mouse: Dell offers a Bluetooth 3.0 mouse that provides you with additional options when accomplishing computer tasks on the Inspiron 13 7000. The mouse offers an extensive battery life and allows you to be quickly up and running without having to install additional software. You can pick up the optical mouse for a cost of around £19.43 on the Dell website.
- Backup Hard Drive: Using a backup hard drive can be a lifesaver in the event of data loss. Dell offers a 1TB (terabyte) portable backup drive that interacts with the preinstalled backup service on the Inspiron 13 7000. The hard drive also comes with its own preinstalled software and provides an easy way to backup all of your files and folders, as well as share content on social media sites. It is lightweight and portable and is equipped with USB 3.0 for faster data transfer speeds. The Dell Portable Backup Hard Drive is available at an additional cost of approximately £78.00.
- Bluetooth Speakers: If you want higher quality audio than the audio speakers installed on the Inspiron 13 7000, you can opt to purchase the Dell Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker for an additional cost of £68.39. The speaker is designed for portability without sacrificing sound quality and allows you to enjoy up to ten hours of continuous audio. You can also opt to use the Near Field Communications technology which allows you to tap the speaker with your Smartphone or tablet to establish the connection.
THE FINAL VERDICT
If you liked the 3000 series of the Dell hybrid PCs, chances are you will like the 7000 series even better, thanks to the upgrades in performance and the larger display screen. Additionally, the price is not bad considering the versatility and functionality you receive. If you are a business professional that is looking for a great portable device that provides you with the options and flexibility you need to get you through your day, then the inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 laptop comes highly recommended.
About the author.
Article by Our IT Department, a professional IT services organisation with offices based in Central and East London. Images used in this review are the property of their respective owners. Find out more about our Unlimited onsite and remote IT Support solutions by visiting our IT Support Unlimited page.