Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (late 2020) review: A compelling combination

A smart, mid-range 15.6in convertible with a focus on frill-free value and competency

Editor's Choice
Price
£691 exc VAT
  • Great value
  • Decent speed
  • Great display
  • Middling battery life

The Inspiron 15 7000 is an upper-mid-range 2-in-1 foldable 15.6in laptop that sits between Dell’s workaday Inspiron 5000 series and the desirable but pricey XPS range. That’s not the most exciting introduction to a laptop review you’ll ever read, but it underscores what Dell is punting here: frill-free value. 

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (late 2020) review: Design

One sign that this is an Inspiron rather than an XPS laptop is its weight. At 1.73kg, it isn’t outrageously heavy for a 15.6in convertible (nor, at 354 x 238 x 17mm, is it unduly large) but if you’re used to sleek 13in ultraportables such as the XPS 13 then you’ll notice its bulk.

Still, on removing the Inspiron 15 7000 from its box, your first impressions will be of a stylish and well-made laptop. The underside panel and lid are made from plastic, rather than metal, but neither feels nor looks any the worse for that; there is flex to the lid, but you won’t notice this unless you apply deliberate twisting force. More importantly, a metal chassis ensures the main body is solid. On a practical note, the matte-silver paint job does a good job of keeping fingerprints at bay. 

The two hinges that give this Dell its 360˚ screen flip are solid and squeak-free. Even if you regularly fold up the 7000, we suspect the hinges will remain tight. If you are hoping to use the 15 7000 in tablet mode, then you’ll be pleased to hear that its ten-point capacitive touch support worked faultlessly, and note that Dell sells its Active Pen for only £27. 

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (late 2020) review: Keyboard and trackpad

Back in normal laptop mode, if you push the lid past 90˚ then it levers up the back of the deck by just under 10mm to marginally improve the typing angle. The keyboard layout is spacious and the keys have a decent amount of travel, but it’s too bouncy for our liking; we’d describe it as middling rather than good. The trackpad could also be better, with a click action in the two lower corners that’s mushy and unsatisfying. We expected better from Dell.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (late 2020) review: Display

Things improved when we examined the 1,920 x 1,080 IPS panel more closely, which is well up to par for a machine in this price range. It has a good peak brightness of 330cd/m² and lighting levels are uniform across the panel. sRGB coverage is strong at 97%, as is the contrast ratio of 1,003:1. 

Out of the box, its Delta E figure was a respectable 2.16. Note the panel is glossy rather than matte, so you may not find this the ideal laptop for use in an office with flourescent lighting. The display also isn’t helped by a 10mm black border at the top, 5mm down the sides and 15mm at the bottom. 

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (late 2020) review: Specs and performance

You should be happy with the laptop’s speed, with Intel’s 11th-generation Core chips on duty. My review sample included the 4-core i5-1135G7 with a burst speed of up to 4.2GHz. Coupled with 12GB (8GB+4GB) of DDR4-3200 memory, it scored a commendable 119 in our benchmarks. If you want more power, consider the all-black version of the 7000 2-in-1, which costs £1,299 and includes a Core i7-1165G7, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD.

Here, storage comes in the form of a 32GB+512GB Intel Optane H10 SSD. It’s not the fastest, recording 1,022MB/sec reads and 699MB/sec writes in AS SSD’s sequential transfer test, but the relative tardiness has no significant real-world implications. 

Graphics are handled by the Intel Iris Xe chip – arguably the first Intel integrated graphics chip that you won’t mind being foisted on you. For instance, the Dell can play Doom at 40fps-plus, as long as you knock the resolution down to 1,280 x 720. 

Battery life, however, is best described as middling, with a run time of 8hrs 20mins in our video-rundown test. Not bad for a 15.6in Windows laptop, but far from class-leading. Thankfully, the rat-and-tail power supply that Dell includes can recharge the 53Wh battery from flat in less than two hours.

One final note: put the Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 under heavy stress and things can get hot. You can prevent this using Dell’s Power Manager control panel, which offers various trade-offs between performance, heat and fan operation. The fan is loud at full speed, mind you.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (late 2020) review: Ports and features

As with most of Dell’s equipment, this laptop is reasonably easy to service. Undo eight small Philips screws and the bottom panel can be removed, giving access to the Wi-Fi 6 card (an Intel AX201 2x2), SSD and two SODIMM memory slots. 

Spread across the two edges are a DC power jack, one full-size HDMI 1.4 output and two USB-A 3.2 ports, as well as a USB-C connector that supports Thunderbolt 4, power delivery and DisplayPort, and a 3.5mm audio jack. There’s an SD card reader too, but it’s rather slow and half the card always sticks out. For the more security conscious, there’s a shutter to mask the 720p webcam as well as a fingerprint sensor built into the power button. You’ll also find a pair of downward-firing speakers tucked below the palmrest; these are loud and detailed, but they could use more bass.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (late 2020) review: Verdict

Dell has hit a solid boundary with the Inspiron 15 7000. The less-than-perfect trackpad and keyboard are blots, but it offers a compelling combination of value, convenience, power and style. The easily accessible internals and flexible USB-C port are key selling points. ALUN TAYLOR

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (late 2020) specifications

Processor

Four-core 2.4GHz (4.2GHz burst) Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor

RAM

12GB DDR-3200 RAM 

Graphics adapter

Intel Xe graphics 

Storage

512GB M.2 PCIe SSD

Screen size (in)

15.6in

Screen resolution

1,920 x 1,080

Screen type

IPS

Touchscreen

Yes

Memory card slot

SD card reader

3.5mm audio jack

Yes

Graphics outputs

Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 1.4

Other ports

2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1

Web Cam

720p webcam

Wi-Fi

2x2 Wi-Fi 6

Bluetooth

Bluetooth 5

NFC

N/A

Dimensions, mm (WDH)

356 x 238 x 17.9mm

Weight (kg) - with keyboard where applicable

1.78kg

Battery size (Wh)

53Wh

Operating system

Windows 10 Home

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