Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series Review: Curvaceous Competitor

by Michael Wall Reads (60,347)
Editor's Rating
6.86

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 7
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 5
    • Usability
    • 7
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 6
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 6.86
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Solid performance
    • Affordable
    • Attractive design
    • Portable form factor
  • Cons

    • Shallow viewing angles
    • Keyboard flexes
    • No SSD option
    • Poor audio quality

Quick Take

The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series offers a premium build design and solid specs at an attractive price.

The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series looks to incorporate the attractive curved design of the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 in a sleeker more portable form factor. The 14-inch ultrabook features a beautiful all-aluminum chassis design and solid specs including Intel’s fourth generation Haswell processors at an attractive $850 starting price.

With an attractive price tag, solid specs and premium build does Dell have what it take to derail the market’s most popular high-end ultrabooks? Read the full review to find out.

Build and Design

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series Build and Design

The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 features an attractive silver aluminum chassis design. The rounded edges of the protective cover coalesce wonderfully with the curved hinge design to create an alluring aesthetic. The display screen is coated in a dark black plastic with a protective rubber trim outlining the exterior of the display panel.

The deck incorporates the same aluminum construct as the lid. The cool metallic coating is smooth to the touch and serves for the perfect hand rest while typing. Along the edges of the base of the chassis the aluminum is cut at an angle, producing an attractive sheen that contrasts beautifully against the duller coloring of deck’s face.

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series Back Measuring in at 13.6” x 9.4” x 0.6” and weighing in at 3.8 pounds, the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 offers solid portability. With its sleek design the Dell ultrabook is one of the thinner 14” ultrabooks on the market slightly beating out the 0.84” Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 14 (4 pounds).

The attractive aluminum design also boasts considerable durability. The machine’s chassis proved especially stout, retaining its form even when extreme pressure was applied. The aluminum lid also proved well equipped to handle the wears and tears of travel, only flexing slightly when pressure was applied, with no noticeable rippling appearing on screen.

 

Ports

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Ports LeftDell Inspiron 14 7000 Ports Right

Given the Dell Inspiron 14’s slim design it’s not surprising the device only offers a few ports. The machine manages to cover all of the essentials, but users looking for anything extra will find this device wanting. The left side of the laptop features a power jack, an HDMI connector, a USB 3.0 port and a security lock-slot. The right side of the chassis is outfitted with a USB 3.0 port, a 3-in-1 card reader and an audio jack.

 

Display and Sound                                                                                                                                                 

The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series is equipped with a 14-inch LED backlit FHD (1920 x 1080) touch display. While the display only boasts a measly 110 nits max brightness, the LED panel still managed to provide a crisp clear image perfect for surfing the web or viewing media. Notebook Review was also pleased with the device’s vibrant color contrast, as the display managed to accurately detail the various dark shades of greens between the tree-line, shrubbery and grassy fields in the game League of Legends.

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Screen FrontDell Inspiron 14 7000 Series Screen Back

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series Screen SideDell Inspiron 14 7000 Series Screen Front

Unfortunately while the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 manages to provide a high-quality image, maintaining that experience proves to be a far more challenging task. With limited brightness and a glossy surface the display suffers from incredibly shallow viewing angles. Even turning the device 45 degrees away from the user causes severe color loss causing images to appear washed out. The notebook doesn’t fare much better on the vertical axis, as the screen’s sensitivity to light causes background reflections to appear on-screen when titled forwards or backwards.  Luckily in normal lighting conditions from a straight-on view the display’s reflections won’t be too disruptive, but they’re still noticeable.

The Dell is outfitted with two speakers located on the right and left side of the chassis. The speakers are loud enough to provide audio for a small group of people, but the device will struggle to fill an entire room with sound. Unfortunately users likely won’t want to turn the volume up that high, as it diminishes the sound quality greatly. While listening to an orchestral track at 100 percent capacity Notebook Review noticed a considerable level of sound disruption. The Dell Inspiron struggled to detail the high-notes of the track, as the distortion nearly overpowered the song itself. Turning down the sound to around 70 percent capacity does improve the quality, but users looking to do anything highly dependent on audio will want to turn to an external speakers or headphones.

 

Keyboard and Touchpad

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series Keyboard

The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 houses a spacious Island-style backlit keyboard. The plastic rounded keys are smooth to the touch and provide ample grip. Key travel is somewhat limited and the tactical response is suitable. The keyboard also suffers from a fair bit of flex as well, particularly near the middle of the keyboard. While the noticeable flex of the keyboard can make typing uncomfortable the consistent feedback of the keys should allow users to type with precision; but it’s a far cry from the typing experience offered on other high-end ultrabooks on the market.

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series TouchpadLocated directly below the spacebar the notebook features a spacious touchpad. Devoid of mouse buttons the pad instead designates the bottom right and left portion of the pad (along with multi-finger gestures) to act as mouse-clicks, as designated by the small vertical graphic on the bottom of the pad. The pad’s surface offers a unique textured design that provides exceptional grip without impeding the movements of the user.

Outfitted with Dell’s drivers the touchpad performed as designed for the most part reading swipes, clicks and most multi-finger gestures without issue. However, Notebook Review did have issues with the touchpad when scrolling through webpages. Occasionally when using the touchpad to scroll down a page, the curser would jump back to the top of the page causing us to lose our place. Unfortunately this issue can be disruptive and serves as a black mark on the otherwise well designed touchpad.


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  1. tlawson99

    Nice laptop design … it looks like the replacement for the Dell XPS 14.
    It needs a SSD to really compete in the Ultrabook category.