Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Series In Depth Review
The Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (5378) Series is the company’s offering for the increasingly popular multimode laptop space. The device brings the portability of a small form factor with the performance and functionality of a high-end processor and battery life which allows you to be productive on the go without problem. It brings together some of Dell’s award winning capabilities and features in a package which many people, business professionals and even everyday casual users, will no doubt be impressed by both its form factor and its performance.
The Dell Inspiron 13 5000 series won’t turn heads with its simplistic design. But, that isn’t what the device is trying to achieve. The Inspiron 13’s simple, elegant design is a testament to what Dell is focusing on with this device: performance, portability and durability. The choice to go with the slightly heavier metal materials is one choice which I was personally very impressed with. While the Dell Inspiron 13 won’t win any awards for being the lightest in its class, the metal frame gives the laptop a sturdy, high quality feel in hand.
The main feature of the Dell Inspiron 13 is its ability to stride the line between tablet and laptop – something more and more consumers are looking for. This laptop-tablet hybrid or as Dell and other manufacturers put it, “2-in-1”, has quite the heft when in tablet mode. It’s definitely on the thicker side when it comes to 2-in-1s but, personally, I liked the heft. The curves adopted by Dell in its design made the laptop feel more like a folded book in hand when in tablet mode. The position of the buttons on the Inspiron allow for quickly manipulating the volume of the device. However, the position of the power button may need some getting used to simply cause of the unconventional position in relation to run of the mill laptops.
The Dell Inspiron 13’s design isn’t trying to be the most stylish device in your arsenal. In fact, I think the Inspiron is well aware of what it wants to achieve with its simple, minimalistic design forces you to focus on the portability and functionality. With the lightweight, dual mode design the Inspiron 13 is an ideal laptop for those who are looking for a powerful, portable device with good battery life to be productive on the go.
As mentioned before this, the Dell Inspiron is definitely a high-end device. Its specifications are definitely a testament to this. The tablet comes in 2 configurations from Dell, one with the Intel Core i5 and another with the i7. While editing video may be a little taxing for the devices due to the lack of a discrete graphics processor. That said, the performance of the laptop will ultimately boil down to the usage patterns of the user. But for me, the Dell Inspiron was a trooper especially with simple photo editing and minor graphics and video work on the go.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-7500U 3.5GHz||Intel Core i5-7200U 3.10GHz|
|RAM||8 GB DDR4 2400MHz (Expandable to 16GB)||8 GB DDR4 2400MHz (Expandable to 16GB)|
|Hard Disk||256 GB PCIe SSD||1TBB 5400rpm HDD|
|Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)||Intel HD Graphics 620||Intel Graphics 620|
|Display||IPS LED Multitouch
FHD (1920×1080 pixels)
|IPS LED Multitouch
FHD (1920×1080 pixels)
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home 64-bit||Windows 10 Home 64-bit|
|Battery||3 Cell 42Wh Li-Polymer
(claimed 8 Hours)
|3 Cell 42Wh Li-Polymer
(claimed 8 Hours)
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac,
|Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac,
Widescreen Infrared HD 720p with Digital Microphone
Widescreen HD 720p with Digital Microphone
The hallmark feature of the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 series is its ability to convert between the laptop and tablet modes. This feature makes this a compelling device for both casual users and also those who are reading on the go. That said, the devices hinges, while durable, seem to have loosened a little bit throughout our review period of the laptop. But, they are still sturdy and didn’t show any sign of cracking or physical damage. The multiple form factors of the Inspiron 13 also allow the user to easily read and go through documents during their commutes (if they aren’t driving). In addition, the casual or younger user can also use the laptop as a device to read comics or eBooks on the go should they be feeling less than productive.
In its laptop mode, the laptop’s keyboard is given its space to shine. The Dell Inspiron 13’s keyboard is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable keyboards in the market so far. The spacing between the keys and the amount of travel in the keys makes typing such an enjoyable experience. The Inspiron 13’s keyboard design and mechanics don’t give you that flat, dull feedback many laptop keyboards have. Instead, it manages to deliver a satisfying “clickiness” without the usual feedback which can make typing quite a chore. The amount of travel in the keys is also something that allows the Inspiron to stand out. It somehow creates a cushion like feel which makes typing for long periods of time less stressful on your fingers.
That said, in tablet mode, the laptop’s display is put front and centre. The Inspiron 13 strikes a nice balance between resolution and screen size. It’s 1080p Full HD resolution complements it’s small form factor quite nicely. Personally, I think that if the resolution was any higher, it would be overkill for the 13.3-inch screen. The Full HD resolution allows the user to get the required details out of the video/image that you would need without the sacrificing the sharpness and quality. That said, while resolution hits the sweet spot for me, the IPS panel produced colours a little on the warmer side. That was a small problem some calibration could’ve fixed. That said, it wasn’t jarring enough to distract from whatever the task at hand was.
One of the most useful features on the Dell Inspiron 13 is the high definition 720p webcam with Infrared capabilities. The webcam’s main usage in my time reviewing it, was with Windows Hello. This was a feature which I initially thought would be a gimmick which got old over the course of reviewing the laptop. However, as I began to use the laptop more and more, the ability to unlock the laptop without using my password in public became increasingly welcomed. It allowed me to jump into work without the need for typing a password or pin. This also meant that my train of thought was uninterrupted while trying to get work done; at the same time, my password security wasn’t compromised. That said, the camera’s performance in conference calls and also in online Skype calls was commendable. Details were crisp where the internet wasn’t an issue and even without headphones or a mic, I was easily audible to the user on the other end.
The Dell Inspiron 13 that I reviewed came with a 256GB SSD which came with enough space for work on the go. However, if you’re a digital hoarder, you’d probably opt for the 1TB HDD option which is also available on market. That said, the balance between performance and storage is quite important especially if you’re on the go and the SSD offers better, quicker performance compared to a normal HDD. That said, if you need both performance and large storage space, you can opt to replace the SSD with a larger capacity. But if you want or need a quick fix for storage, the SD card slot will definitely provide a good temporary solution. Just slot in a high capacity SD card slot and you’ll have extra storage. Even without the SD card slot, there are ample USB slots which you can use for an external hard disk.
The one thing that I think sets the Dell Inspiron 13 apart from its competitors is the inclusion of a regular HDMI port among the USB ports that are available on the laptop. Compared to many of the other laptops of the same class which require you to use dongles and converters, the presence of the HDMI port is undoubtedly a boon. It also means that projecting and connecting to an external display is not an issue for the laptop and the user. This will definitely give users some peace of mind especially if their work requires a lot of presentations.
Benchmarks are rarely a true indication of the device’s performance in day to day usage. As such, we rarely take them as a real consideration for recommending and purchasing laptops. Hence, for this review, we decided to focus on the device’s everyday performance rather than the benchmarks.
The Dell Inspiron 13 is definitely a performer. The Intel Core i7 which powered the review unit I used was able to perform commendably in nearly all the usage situations that I could put it through. Normal word processing, processing spreadsheets and even basic graphics manipulation is no problem for the processor. Although a caveat to spreadsheets is that the more data you have on it the more time it may take for the laptop/processor to calculate. The only thing I could call a negative is the increase in temperature when the device is handling more intensive workloads. However, the largest limitation I could foresee in the review unit that we had was the space limitation of the SSD. That said, one could opt to replace it with a larger capacity SSD or opt to use an SD card which I mentioned earlier. Yet, it is more likely that users may opt for Windows Store versions of popular applications such as VLC media player or even pdf manipulators. Given the recent growth of the Windows Store, this may not be too bad an option but the app offerings in the Windows Store is still rather anaemic compared to the AppStore or even the Google Play Store. While it may be a temporary drawback, we’ve already seen software companies such as Adobe begin to offer app versions of their offerings which bring similar functionality to their main products to the Windows Store.
Even so, the need for the full suite of functionality offered by programs like Adobe Premiere Pro or Photoshop is sometimes undeniable. The Inspiron 13 should have no problems rising up to the challenge in either configuration available on the market: the Core i7 and the Core i5. While performance may be lacking compared to a machine with a discreet graphic processor, the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 series is definitely up to the task. On more resource intensive tasks, it came as no surprise that the laptop’s cooling system began to ramp up which can be a little noisy.
The inclusion of the SSD definitely benefitted the Inspiron 13. Windows 10 was able to boot within 5 seconds of hitting the power button. The time taken to dive into work was also shortened thanks to Windows Hello and the IR capable webcam. That said, boot time can be affected by Windows updates and errors. Thankfully, I didn’t encounter any errors during boot when reviewing the unit.
The Inspiron’s battery life is middling, to be frank. We’ve seen 2-in-1s and even slimmer laptops which are able to pull close to double the 6 to 8 hours I managed to squeeze out of the laptop. Of course, the battery life was heavily dependent on the type of work I was doing. Video and photo manipulation unsurprisingly resulted in marginally shorter battery life of between 4-5 hours depending on how extensive the work is. While word processing, reading and normal web browsing allowed us to get about 7 to 9 hours.
The Full HD resolution of the display on the Dell Inspiron 13 gives a good balance between detail, battery life and overall functionality. The display’s resolution ensured that there was minimal detail loss in the images rendered on the screen. In addition, the increased pixel count ensured that the images were sharp.
While the IPS panel used in the Dell Inspiron 13 is one of the better ones we’ve seen, colour reproduction could have been improved with better calibration. I found the colours slightly on the warmer than other panels out there.
Dell has made a wise choice in going with a Full HD 1080p resolution rather than a higher 2K or 4K resolution. In the small 13-inch screen size, any high resolution would have been overkill. In addition, Windows 10 is still being optimized to better support higher resolutions and until it is able to do so natively with stability, higher resolution displays remain wasted unless you are gaming or you have a graphics processor. In higher resolutions, a lot of the details such as names and labels may end up becoming too fine to interact with using a mouse, what more a touch screen.
The Dell Inspiron 13’s touch display is one of the more responsive touch screens I’ve seen in a laptop. There was no noticeable delay between touch and interaction of icons even in normal laptop mode.