- Good 1080p touchscreen display
- Durable yet portable
- Well-rounded device
- Great battery life
- Slow boot and launch times
- Poor keyboard and mouse feel
- No discrete graphics
The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 series is a well-rounded machine that, while its value may suffer due to a lack of an SSD and graphics card, is still a solid computer overall, with good portability and decent power for the price.
The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series is a very standard Ultrabook offering. Featuring very average specs for its price point, a generally good construction, good media offerings through its screen and speakers, but overall nothing too impressive under the hood, the Inspiron 14 is a pretty good machine. To learn more about what we liked (and what kept it from being a “great” machine), read on.
Build and Design
The Inspiron 14’s aluminum body feels good in the hand when closed. There is a bit of give on the top when squeezed, but not enough to make the device seem fragile. Instead it feels comfortable to hold with one hand. The chassis doesn’t dip much when pressed hard on the palm rests, and flexing the screen back causes very minimal rippling.
With its sturdy hinge design, the touchscreen doesn’t wobble much when tapped. While it isn’t nearly as heavy as the 15-inch Dell Inspiron 15 7000, the computer still feels secure on the tabletop while typing, not sliding overly thanks to its long rubberized grips. The fact that the Inspiron 14 utilizes a hybrid drive that combines a traditional hard drive (HDD) with a small solid state drive (SSD) cache means the device is a bit heavier than other 14-inch Ultrabooks, though at only 4.4 lbs and 0.6 inches thick, it is still plenty portable.
Ports and Connectivity
For connectivity options, this computer is a bit lacking. It features only two USB 3.0 ports, one of which has PowerShare, an HDMI output for external monitor use, a 4-in-1 SD card reader, a headphone/microphone combo jack and a Noble Lock port. The Inspiron 14 also features Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7260 2×2 AGN Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting external wireless devices such as mice and keyboards.
Display and Speakers
The Inspiron 14 features a 14-inch full HD TrueLife multitouch display at 1920×1080 resolution. While the color quality is good, the glossy touchscreen surface is very reflective and accumulates smudges very easily. However, it is responsive to gestures and touches throughout, and has very good viewing angles and deep, rich blacks.
The included Waves Maxx Audio software allows users to adjust sound settings based on whether they are listening to music, watching movies, gaming or more, and the good audio quality extends all the way out of the speakers. The Inspiron 14 is loud enough to fill a small room on maximum volume. Oddly the small speakers grills are located on the left and right sides of the device, as shown in the Ports and Connectivity images below.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Inspiron 14’s chiclet-style keys feel very limp and light, not offering much in the way of tactile feedback when pressed. The travel length is very short as well. However, the backlighting works well on this keyboard, which is a nice change from the usual; it has three modes (off, dim, or bright) which are controlled via a key above ‘9’. Light doesn’t seep out much from the sides of the keys, which also suggests that the keyboard may stay cleaner inside as well. The airplane mode key, which turns off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, sits right next to the brightness control and print screen keys. This lead to a few accidental cuts to wireless connections, which grew frustrating after a while.
The touchpad, which is located directly below the spacebar in the center of the device, is a light and overly sensitive piece of plastic that doesn’t feel good at all when used. It also reacts readily to wrist input, making typing for long durations a bit annoying due to accidental input. There are no discrete touchpad buttons here so you may find yourself pressing a left click when you meant to press a right click, or vice versa.