- Long battery life
- Heat dissipates well
- Display needs more clarity and richer colors
- Too heavy
- Poor wireless card reception
The Dell Inspiron 14 5000 series is one of those low-cost thin and light notebook PCs designed for those who want a large screen but not concerned about portability. At $699.99 for a Core i5 device weighing nearly 5 lbs. it's more useful as a computer parked on a table rather than a highly mobile notebook PC.
The Dell Inspiron 14 5000 Series packs a great deal of bells and whistles into its nearly 5-lbs frame. Between the 1 TB hard drive, 14″ touchscreen, and decent battery, the laptop is a worthy desktop replacement for most people, but probably isn’t strong enough to be considered a business device.
At best, the Inspiron provides solid performance for everyday tasks like Web surfing and streaming content, but still lags behind many models in its weight class and price range.
Build and Design
Dell touts the Inspiron 14 5000 Series as an affordable thin and light laptop. But given it weighs almost 5 lbs., it’s hard to agree with the manufacturer. This almost certainly doesn’t qualify as “light” these days. Plus, the overall design isn’t anything to write home about, given that it’s so similar to many other devices. However, the 14-inch HD screen is probably a selling point for anyone who wants a larger display.
The device measures 13.5″ x 9.7″ x 0.9″ and weighs 4.46 lbs. for a non-touchscreen device. A touch screen unit adds slightly more weight and brings the device to 4.8 lbs. Although the weight makes the device seem solid, the brushed silver cover emits a hollow sound when it’s tapped. There’s a beveled edge at the bottom of the computer in the front and a sloped edge to create a slim appearance.
Opening the Inspiron 14 is difficult, thanks to the tight hinge and lack of a finger hold. When the device is flat, you need to hold it down with one hand; otherwise you’ll lift the whole thing up upon opening. That being said, the hinge is beneficial because it holds the screen in place with little movement once the laptop’s open.
The backlit keyboard has a nice layout and is good enough for basic typing. Dell included a large wrist rest which is comfortable for a full day of work. The power button is located above the keyboard on the upper right hand corner and slightly depressed, so that the laptop won’t accidentally turn on when the screen’s closed.
Input and Output Ports
The Dell Inspiron 14 5000 series comes with an array of ports, including two USB 3.0 slots, one USB 2.0 slot, 1 HDMI 1.4a slot, a security slot, Media Card slot (that supports SD, SDHC, SD3.0, MS, and MS Pro cards), and 10/100 RJ045 Ethernet network port.
In addition, the audio jack is perfectly placed on the right-hand side. Because the power adapter plug is on the left, this ensures that the wires will never get tangled.
Screens and speakers
Dell highlights the 14-inch LED backlit HD touch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. In practice, the screen doesn’t live up to the hyper. For example, the Dell Inspiron 11 offers a similar display and seems to have better brightness than the 14. Unfortunately, the colors on the screen were washed out even with the brightness turned all the way up. HD content doesn’t appear any better than SD either.
Considering that other devices like the Surface Pro 3 offer higher resolution, it’s clear that the Inspiron 14 5000 Series might not be the best option for an entertainment center. Occasional viewing is serviceable, but few people would have good experiences if they regularly watched movies or shows on the laptop.
Using the device in the shade was a good enough experience. Words on a Microsoft Office Word document were clearer than expected.
In direct sunlight, the Word document could still be seen although the colors were off. The white background became slightly yellowed. There was also depth perception issue in which the text looked as if it lay “far” behind the glass. However, if a user is in a pinch and needs to open the laptop in the sunlight, it was more than adequate.
There are two speakers located in the front of the beveled edge. Like many notebooks, the speakers offer poor sound quality that’s usually tinny. Adding headphones is just about the only way to listen to music here.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The full-size, spill resistant keyboard on the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 Series offers a solid feel while typing. There was a slight “squishiness” rather than a hard click when depressing the keys. Dell added a nice touch by keeping the keyboard relatively silent. Although there were occasions when the keys needed what seemed like an extra push for response, it was comfortable for long typing sessions.
The wrist pad takes up a third of the computer below the keyboard. The touchpad is large and responsive, but it may actually be too big. Had it and the wrist pad been cut down, the laptop may have been a more manageable size. However, users with large hands and wrists will probably have a great experience.