The Bottom Line
Dec 9 2013 - Dell's design philosophy for the Inspiron 15 7000 seems to be a nice stylish system that focuses on efficiency rather than performance. This is apparent in the choice of a lower voltage processor that helps extend battery life but makes the system underpowered given its size and competitors. They make up for this somewhat with a dedicated graphics processor in the more expensive configurations which make it capable for some gaming and video or graphics work. It just would have been nice to see them improve the screen brightness to be more functional in difficult lighting and reduce the weight a bit more considering the more slender profile.
- Excellent Build Quality
- Dedicated Graphics Processor
- Above Average Battery Life
- Lower Performance From Low Voltage Processor
- Screen A Bit Dim and Difficult to Use Outdoors
- On The Heavy Side For Size and Features
- Intel Core i7-4500U Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 16GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 15.6" WUXGA (1920x1080) Multitouch Display With 1.0 Megapixel Webcam
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M Graphics Processor
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
- Four USB 3.0, HDMI, 7-in-1 Card Reader
- 14.9" x 10" x .9" @ 5.7 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - Dell Inspiron 15 7000
Dec 9 2013 - Dell's revamped laptop lineup includes the Inspiron 15 7000 as a sort of premium class 15-inch laptop. Rather than using a mix of metals and plastics, the body of the laptop is constructed of aluminum and has a design that mimics what has been seen in the Apple MacBook Pros and HP Envy laptop series. The system tries to shrink down the size of the laptop by providing a thinner profile of just .9-inches but it is still on the heavy side weighing in at 5.7 pounds.
One of the main reasons for the new design is to use the new Intel Haswell processors. For this higher end model, it uses the Core i7-4500U dual core processor. This is the same low voltage class of processor that is typically used in ultrabook class laptops. This means that the system does not offer the same high performance that one would expect from a typical 15-inch laptop of this size. On the other hand, the processor still provides more than enough performance for the average user that mostly uses their PC for browsing the web, reading email, watching media and some productivity applications. Those looking for higher performance computing for things like gaming or desktop video will probably want to look at a laptop with a higher performance processor. Surprisingly, Dell packs in 16GB of DDR3 memory in this configuration which is more than enough to keep Windows operating smoothly and there certainly won't be a need to upgrade the memory at all in the future.
Storage performance is probably what holds back the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 from what it could really be. Rather than using a solid state drive, Dell has elected to use a traditional hard drive. Sure, it is a very large one terabyte drive that provides more than enough space for applications, data and media files but it spins at a very sedate 5400rpm rate. It would have been nice to see Dell offer more configuration with the option for either a dedicated SSD (which is available on their most expensive model) or a small SSD used for caching. If you need additional storage space, the system does feature a total of four USB 3.0 ports for use with high speed external drives. As with most of Dell's other systems, there is no DVD drive on the laptop.
The majority of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 models come equipped with a touchscreen display. Lower end versions will see a limited resolution display but the higher end models come with a 1920x1080 native resolution display for full 1080p video support. Color and viewing angles were quite good with the display but the brightness could be better. With the glass coating of the display for the touchscreen, the brightness levels make it difficult to use outdoors or in places with a large amount of glare. Unlike the lower priced version, this model comes with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics processor. This means that the system does have some gaming ability although some games might have to have details or resolution levels turned down for a smooth experience. The graphics processor is also more useful than the integrated one for accelerating non-3D applications which is even more useful considering the lower power processor.
The keyboard for the Inspiron 15 7000 uses the fairly typical isolated key layout that provides a fair amount of space between the keys. It also manages to include a numeric keypad without reducing too many of the right hand keyboard keys. Overall, it is a decent keyboard although the key travel is quite shallow for the size of the laptop. The trackpad has a nice large size that worked well for both single and multitouch gestures.
The battery pack for the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 is an internal one with a rated 58WHr capacity. This is a bit larger than the average 15-inch laptop battery. In digital video playback testing, the laptop was able to run for seven hours before going into standby mode. This is certainly above average for this class of laptop thanks to the more efficient ultrabook class processor. Sadly it still does not have the same level of running time that the more expensive Apple MacBook Pro 15 with Retina Display achieves thanks to its massive 95WHr battery.
Pricing for the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 varies greatly but the configuration reviews is priced around $1099. This puts it in a mid-tier price range that many of the companies seem to be moving away from in favor or either more affordable models or premium ultrabooks. The primary competition for Dell comes from the HP Envy TouchSmart 15 and the Lenovo IdeaPad Y510p. Both of these offerings trade away battery life compared to the Dell for faster performance from quad core processors. They also offer DVD burners which means that they are thicker than the Dell but they both are actually slightly lighter weight. The HP ends up being more affordable because it still uses the integrated graphics rather than a dedicated processor but the Lenovo offers a similar level of graphics performance albeit without a touchscreen display.