Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Kaby Lake-R is finally in many notebooks and while we recently took a look at Dell's new XPS 13 Touch, today we take a look at a much different notebook. The Inspiron is all about usability and business, and while the Dell XPS 13 is super thin, the Inspiron 13 is a bit thicker.
This increased thickness allows for a better cooling solution, which can possibly increase performance. The Inspiron 13 7000 we are using can be put in a tablet mode and it has a 13" touchscreen. Let's take a look at what this more affordable Dell notebook has to offer.
The notebook has a few different configurations, but ours came with the i5-8250U processor with 4 cores and 8 threads, a 1.6GHz base clock with a 3.4GHz Turbo Boost. We also get 8GB of DDR4 running at 2400MHz, a 13.3" FHD (1080P) IPS Truelife LED-Backlit Narrow Border Touch Display, and supports pen and facial recognition.
We find two cameras both made by Realtek; an IR camera for Windows Hello and an HD camera. We also get an Intel Wireless AC 7265 card, a 256GB SanDisk X400 SSD, and a 38WHr 3-call battery. The notebook weighs 3.2lbs and measures in at 12.2"x8.5"x0.6".
Our unit costs roughly $780, but you can buy cheaper configurations or more expensive ones.
Dell uses a white box to package the notebook, and the notebook is suspended between two cardboard pieces.
There aren't many accessories; you get a 45WAC/DC adapter rated for 19.5v at 2.31A, AC power cord, and manuals.
Our unit is silver, although you can choose other colors like rose pink. The top and bottom of the notebook are made of soft aluminum and the entire unit feels very sturdy. The bottom of the unit features vents for speakers, and a large vent structure for fans to blow.
The front of the notebook doesn't feature anything, and the rear features two the hinges and some output vents. The right side of the notebook features the Noble lock slot, a USB 3.0 type-A port, and SD card slot. The left side features the DC power input, a USB 3.0 type-C port, an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 type-A (power share) port, and headset audio jack.
Physical Overview Continued
The display can rotate 360 degrees to produce a tablet, although you still have the keys on the backside that don't pull down to make it a flat surface as some other 2-in-1s feature.
We get two cameras; one is an HD (720P) webcam and the second is an IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition. Both cameras are made by Realtek. We also find a dual array microphone. The touchpad is smooth, but there are no physical indications for where the right and left mouse clicks are, but there is a little visual dash.
The QWERTY keyboard features nice large keys with solid spacing. It's much like the keyboard on the XPS 13, and we like it a lot. The power button is located in the top right corner of the keyboard.
Function keys are present and offer many quick abilities such as volume control and WIFI enable/disable. The keyboard also has a backlight, but it's only white and isn't that bright.
Software and BIOS
Software applications are a bit on the light side, which is a good thing. Dell's Support Assist and Battery Manager Lite are included to help improve the user experience.
WAVES MaxxAudioPro is included for audio control.
Dell's UEFI looks more like a Windows application than anything else. It's loaded with pretty much any setting you need, including high-end security settings. You can disable hardware, set times for the system to operate, and even manage some performance metrics.
System Performance Benchmarks
CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks
These benchmarks are run using default settings and configuration.
AIDA64 AES and HASH
Handbrake 4K and 720P Transcoding
UNIGINE Heaven 4.0
The i5-8250U has the same core and thread count as the i7-8550U in the XPS 13 but the performance of the Inspiron is much better than that of the XPS 13. That is mainly due to what I assume are power/performance limits imposed on the XPS 13 to ensure that the unit doesn't overheat. The battery life of the XPS 13 is also significantly better.
System IO and Battery Performance
System IO Benchmarks
Internal Storage Read Test:
Internal Storage Write Test:
ixChariot Network Throughput:
The SSD speeds are typical for a SATA based M.2 drive. The networking performance is decent for an Intel Wireless-AC 7265 controller.
The battery performance is not great, and is one of the weaker aspects of the Inspiron 13 7000.
The notebook warmed up nicely after our torture testing and the keyboard area hit around 45C.
The rear of the notebook heats up quite a lot when the notebook is turned on. The good news here is that it seems that the heat is being vented through more vents than when the notebook, which means that the cooling has been beefed up because the power limits have been increased.
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
Here are key points about the Lenovo New Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1.
Kaby Lake-R Unleashed: Kaby Lake-R is basically Kaby Lake with more cores, however, it seems that Dell has found a way to get more performance out of the 8250U than the 8550U in the XPS 13 we already reviewed. We figure it's due to power restrictions being lifted, and it seems they have done that because this unit seems to have better cooling and worse battery life. Although, the battery is smaller on this unit. Either way, with 4 cores and 8 threads, the i5-8250U offers excellent performance.
Thin 2-in-1: The Inspiron 13 7000 is as thick as the XPS 13 at its thickest, which is still quite thin. It also offers the ability to flip into tablet mode or into a tent, which is great for traveling or multi-use scenarios such as shifting from taking notes to giving a presentation.
IR Camera: Windows Hello requires a near-infrared camera to work, as it uses facial recognition to unlock Windows devices. The Inspiron 13 7000 has both a normal RGB camera and an IR camera.
Affordability: With our unit at $780, we were extremely impressed with the amount of processor performance we got the price, as well as many other things. We found a decent amount of features, including a type-C port and IR camera. The unit also offers excellent build quality and we though the display was of good quality and had an appropriate resolution for a 13" display.
Battery Life: While performance was excellent battery life wasn't. You will get a few hours of intensive work done with the battery, but its battery life is more in line with gaming notebooks than ultra-books.
No Upgrades It's not possible to upgrade the machine. It's very hard to even open because of how the back is designed, and the DRAM is integrated onboard.
The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 is the second Kaby Lake-R notebook we have reviewed and we are impressed by its performance and overall quality. The notebook chimes in at a very affordable price point as well, and offers solid input devices including a backlit keyboard and a responsive touchpad.
The unit itself didn't get too hot, but because of the improved cooling and performance, battery life wasn't crazy. It also doesn't have the largest battery in its class, but its lower resolution screen shouldn't tax the system too much when viewing videos or streaming content. The notebook isn't really meant for gaming at all, it's more of an affordable workhorse. If you are in the market for a sub $1000 notebook with great performance and versatility, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is worth a look.
The Bottom Line: Striking a balance between performance, price, and versatility is no easy feat, but the Dell Inspiron 13 700 2-in-1 gets it right.
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