From the moment I drew the new Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 out of its trim shipping box, I grew impressed at how lightweight this 15-Inch display laptop is, yet solid in the hands. It was very shiny, and the housing seemed of excellent quality.
The Inspiron arrived with a power cord and a slip of paper with limited information, no paper manuals or physical media. The Dell Support Assist application is used to access any manuals provided for this machine. Once the PC was online and basic software loaded, I found the online documentation on the Dell SupportAssist web site and it seems sufficient. One manual generally describes computer hardware, and another manual describes the exact Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1. A third manual shows how to dismantle portions of the laptop for basic upgrades and repairs. I recommend leaving the repairs to the guidance of the experts at Dell support. The laptop comes with a standard one-year warranty, but I highly recommend buying an additional two years of support from Dell.
Upon first powering up the Inspiron you are directed to finish setting up Windows 10, and as part of the setup you are given the option to generate recovery media. Once I had purchased a USB thumb drive, Windows made it easy to return to generate the recovery files.
Out of the box the laptop had a charge, however I opted to charge it overnight so I can see how long the battery would last during use while set to low power. I turned down the display to lowest level to save power which I was still able to use comfortably in a normal lit room. On battery saver, the indicator says I have 5 hours of battery life. In reality this charge lasted around four hours, which is reasonable in my opinion due to the included Core I7 processor.
The Dell Support Assist utility provides information on system capabilities, your warranty, device manuals, etc. I went there to get a PDF manual of this system. The Inspiron comes with three USB 3.1 ports (including one port that will share power with the system turned off). There is also a USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-C) port which can be used for peripherals such as external storage devices, printers, and external displays. Dell.com has an available option called the Dell Power Companion that provides 12,000mah of battery power to continue running your laptop. The Inspiron includes an HDMI port for video, a media card reader, and Bluetooth connectivity. However, there is no onboard LAN port--if this is important to you, do not be surprised—you will utilize a Wifi connection only for network connectivity. I checked online and Dell does not provide an orderable option. As an alternative, you can pick up a USB NIC from your local technology store, for faster data transfers when you are at home or the office.
From a usability side: This unit was peppy with an Intel Core i7 8th Generation, 12 Gb of installed RAM (11.8Gb usable) and 1.80 Tb SATA hard drive.
The display is quite clear and crisp. I had no complaints about the laptop screen. As a 2-in-one PC, the display is touch responsive, and the computer can convert to a tablet configuration. The laptop does not include a pen; you would need to acquire one separately. Even at low power, I had no problem working with the display screen in a dimly lit room. Windows 10 provides tablet accessibility features, and someone who has not used a Windows tablet should use the onboard help to get the needed training to use the tablet features. I did not find it difficult to learn, but since I’m primarily used to using a laptop configuration I stuck primarily with that option.
The keyboard is backlit and can be toggled on, with two different brightness settings, or turned off. This is very handy for those times when you really want the keyboard light, otherwise turn it off to save battery. The keyboard itself is a great size for my hands, and give a reasonable depth and a good feel. This keyboard does not contain a second separate set of number keys, so you will have to be used to using the number keys on the top. There is a set of dedicated cursor keys at the bottom right hand of the keyboard. There are function key options for volume controls, pause, fast forward, rewind, projector toggles, brightness, keyboard backlight, wifi on/off, and zoom. Like every laptop, there is a small learning curve getting used to the placement of some keys, but most everything seems standard.
The provided trackpad is very responsive, and I had no trouble navigating across the screen and performing double-taps and right clicks with the device. When I keyboard, my hands did not brush up on the trackpad so there is no issue with undesired mouse movement. This laptop does not come with a trackpoint in the center of the keyboard like other manufacturers, so if this is expected don’t be surprised.
This unit does not include a fingerprint reader, instead utilizing Windows Hello Facial Recognition for unlock. I used the Windows set up to configure facial recognition, and didn’t really have any trouble getting the laptop to unlock by using the onboard camera. If for some reason the camera does not recognize you, you will be prompted to provide the PIN number you declare at setup of facial recognition.
The Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 is a very solid performer. There were some minimal pauses when loading applications. I did wish that the laptop came with a solid state drive, as it made me wonder if it would be even faster. However, the Dell Inspiron was pretty quick like I would expect from a new fresh laptop.
As a Microsoft PC, the system comes with a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365, which you are able to subscribe to get a renewable annual license. The system also comes with a McAfee trial license, which you can subscribe or substitute with whatever is your preference. Windows comes with native antivirus options so you don’t need to keep that trialware.
Due to its slim nature, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 does not come with a DVD / CD / or Blu-Ray drive. This made installing my Starcraft II game an additional challenge, which I am currently in progress. If you have physical media to load from, you will need to either purchase a USB DVD drive, or have the media shared on a network drive. You can purchase a USB DVD drive from your local technology store.
Not being a hard-core gamer, I pulled out one of my favorite games, Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty. I know that this would not heavily stress a decent powered system, however my previous i5 laptop of 4-year vintage had an occasional stuffer with this title. This Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 had no trouble playing the game. It was a pleasure playing my old friend Starcraft 2 on this system. The sound was great, even though it was out of two little speakers from the bottom front of the unit. Video display was crisp. I did not play with the game’s video settings, satisfied from an everyday business user’s standpoint that this machine could play a reasonable game. If you are going to play a high-end game, you most likely will be going for an Alienware system instead of this mainstream consumer system. However, I am comfortable that this system could play other reasonable games.
I paired the laptop with my Samsung Digital Television U28E590 28” 4K display. I used the laptop to extend desktop to the Samsung, and the video card on this laptop was able to drive this display to a high resolution 3840 X 2160 resolution, which is really cool. This is not unusual as my previous laptop could do the same. I watched the latest episode of Star Trek Discovery, and the image was crisp and amazing. I did experience some lag but I’m sure it was likely due to internet bandwidth issues on the server end, as the episode had just come out this evening.
In any case, I highly recommend the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 laptop. The system is a great fit for the normal consumer. It has plenty of room for storing your files and media, is lightweight and won’t bog you down while traveling around. Definitely do the recovery file creation, and get a nice messenger bag to store it in.