The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is more than just a well-rounded work laptop, thanks to its flexible 360-degree hinge that lets you use it like a tablet. In addition to having a sturdy 2-in-1 design, the 13-inch notebook offers long battery life, speedy performance and good looks. Commuters might be turned off by its relative heft, though, and its keyboard is a bit on the shallow side. So does the Inspiron 13 7000 ($449 to start, $749 as reviewed) belong in your work bag?
The Inspiron 13 7000 manages to look both stylish and professional at once. I especially like the soft-touch lid, which feels luxurious. The aluminum keyboard deck sports a slick, brushed-metal effect. Keep in mind that the brushed-metal deck is available only on the pricier Special Edition model, which starts at $749 and has a more premium design than the $459 standard model.
While the Inspiron 13 7000 isn't exactly heavy, commuters who need to carry their notebook between home and the office might want to opt for something lighter. The machine, which weighs 3.64 lbs., is noticeably heavier than smaller notebooks like Toshiba's 2.9-lb. Satellite Radius 12. Lenovo's 3.5-lb. Yoga 700 is also lighter, even though that machine has a larger, 14-inch display.
Among similar laptops, Dell's Inspiron 13 isn't the heaviest we’ve tested; that distinction belongs to the 4-lb. Acer Aspire R 14.
While the Inspiron 13's 360-degree hinge might sound like a gimmick, I think that most workers will find the 2-in-1 design genuinely useful. The notebook is a bit too large and heavy to be carried around like a tablet, but the intermediate modes are handy. Both the stand and tent modes can be used for showing off a presentation to a small group, or for using touch-screen apps in cramped quarters — on an airplane tray table, for instance.
The Inspiron 13 7000 comes equipped with a 13.3-inch display that's a good size for daily productivity tasks. With a resolution of 1920 x 1080, the panel looks nice and sharp; it produces crisp text and clear images. I also appreciated the display's wide viewing angles; images didn't look washed out when I viewed the system slightly from the side.
The laptop's display has a glossy finish, which tends to attract reflections from windows and overhead office lights. For work, I'd prefer a notebook with a matte display that diminishes reflections.
Keyboard and trackpad
The Inspiron 13 7000's somewhat shallow keyboard gave me the feeling that I was bottoming out too quickly on each keystroke as I typed up this review. It offers about 1.2 millimeters of travel, which falls short of the 1.5 mm that we look for on a laptop computer. Deeper keyboards provide a more comfortable, desktoplike typing experience.
On the bright side, the Inspiron 13 7000's keys feel snappy, with plenty of feedback on each stroke, which mitigates the travel issue. Most users will probably think this keyboard feels fine.
The trackpad feels good, with a nice, smooth finish that allowed me to quickly and accurately position the mouse cursor. Gestures, including two-finger scrolling, were also responsive.
The Inspiron 13 7000 should easily last through the end of the workday or survive a long business flight. The notebook ran for a very solid 8 hours and 15 minutes on our battery test, which simulates continuous Web browsing over Wi-Fi.
That beats the ultraportable notebook average of 8 hours and 10 minutes, and it's also longer than the runtimes for the Yoga 700 (7:03) and the Satellite Radius 12 (7:22). The Aspire R 14 edged out all rivals, though, running for 8 hours and 37 minutes on the same battery test.
You'll find a pretty standard selection of ports on the Inspiron 13 7000. The left edge has two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port for linking to monitors or projectors, as well as a lock slot for physically securing the laptop at your desk. The right edge adds a third USB 3.0 port and an SD card slot for expanding the notebook's internal storage.
The Inspiron 13 provides more than enough power to handle an average workload. Our review unit came outfitted with a 6th-generation Intel Core i5-6200U processor with 8GB of RAM, and it sped along smoothly during moderately heavy multitasking. I didn't notice any hiccups while I edited a large spreadsheet while streaming 1080p video, with about a dozen tabs open in my Firefox Web browser.
In our performance tests, the Dell was about on a par with rival notebooks. It scored a very solid 5,775 on the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance. That's about as good as the Toshiba Satellite Radius (5,779) and the Lenovo Yoga 700 (5,855). Acer's Aspire R 14 was the speediest of the bunch, though, with a score of 6,266.
However, the Inspiron 13's hard drive could be a bit faster. It took longer to finish our file-transfer test than the Radius 12 and the Aspire R 14 did, though it slightly outpaced the Yoga 700.
For this review, we took a look at the Special Edition model, which has a 6th-generation Intel Core i5-6200 processor with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of speedy solid-state drive (SSD) storage and a 1080p touch screen, all for $749. It also has a snazzy, brushed-aluminum keyboard deck, which other models lack. Overall, it's a well-rounded and reasonably affordable package for the average worker.
Dell also sells the Inspiron 13 7000 in a variety of other hardware configurations. The entry-level model costs $449 and comes with a low-power Pentium 3825U processor with 4GB of RAM; a 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive; and a 1366 x 768 touch display. For an additional $529, you can bump that up to a faster Intel Core i3 processor, and for a total of $749, you can get a Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM and a 1080p touch display.
The Inspiron 13 7000 is a really-well-rounded work machine. I liked the notebook's appealing design, as well as its long battery life and solid performance. Plus, its flexible hybrid design is pretty useful.
Regardless, commuters who need to lug their laptop between home and the office might want to opt for a notebook such as the Toshiba Satellite Radius 12, which weighs a full pound less. Acer's Aspire R 14, which is slightly lighter and comes with a bigger display for $100 less, is another enticing option. Still, the Inspiron 13 7000 is a solid 2-in-1 laptop that will serve most workers very well.