- Powerful multitasker
- Good HD display
- Solid aluminum build
- Poor keyboard, trackpad and layout
- Slow boot and launch times
- Heavy for an Ultrabook
Quick TakeDell’s Inspiron 15 7000 series is a solid alternative for users who want good graphics and processing power but can’t afford a solid state drive in their Ultrabook.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series is a jack-of-all-trades type of machine. With its i7 processor, discrete NVIDIA graphics, loads of RAM and a large hard drive space, the Inspiron looks fierce on paper. A good deal cheaper than many of its other 15-inch Ultrabook competitors, it’s also an enticing buy for users on a bit of a budget while still seeking the power mentioned above.
Is the Inspiron 15 the right choice for your general computing needs though? Read on to find out.
Build and Design
The Inspiron 15 has a solid-feeling aluminum body reminiscent of a Macbook Pro, meaning that while it’s not the lightest machine on the market, it feels much more high-end than other plastic or magnesium notebooks. The chassis doesn’t dip when pressed hard near the corners or on the palm rest, and the top is sturdy as well, not bending under applied pressure.
The single long hinge on the device is a bit shaky when opened, as the screen takes a second or two to stabilize after hard taps to the touchscreen. It is very secure when closed, however, and the machine doesn’t have much give when held in the closed position. The long rubberized grips on the bottom of the machine plus its severe heft means that when the computer is sitting on a table, it’s not likely to go sliding anywhere without some serious pushing or pulling.
Display and Speakers
The 15.6-inch Truelife LED multitouch display features a 1920×1080 full-HD resolution, and is a very good screen. The multitouch gestures are responsive even at the edges of the screen, and the on-screen keyboard is easy to use when enabled. The only downside is that since it is a touchscreen, it is very reflective in light.
The Inspiron 15 features RealTek high definition audio, as well as Waves MaxxAudio Pro sound settings for its internal speakers and external devices like headphones plugged into the headset jack. For example, the device asks what size the speakers on the device you plug in are; small, medium, or large headphones are all accommodated. With customizable presets for music, gaming, movies and more, this is a good device for music fans. The speaker quality is generally good for a laptop, though at maximum volume it only reaches loud enough to filll a mid-sized room. Metal and classical tracks both sounded very clear, and the device would be great for watching movies on overall.
Ports and Connectivity
The Inspiron 15’s connectivity options cover a broad range of options. With 4 USB 3.0 ports (two on each side), one of which is charging, users will find plenty of space for peripherals. The 8-in-1 memory card reader allows for memory sticks, SD cards and more, and an HDMI port lets the Inspiron connect to an external monitor.
For internet capabilities, this computer has both wireless 7260BGN Wi-Fi and an RJ45 Ethernet port. Bluetooth 4.0 rounds out the connective options, allowing for wireless devices such as keyboards, mice and headsets to be used with the Inspiron 15.
|Left: AC adapter, USB 3.0 x2|| Right: Card reader, Headset Jack,
USB 3.0 x2, HDMI, Ethernet
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Inspiron 15’s keyboard was a hassle to use, as is becoming the norm in Dell computers. The arrow keys are tiny, and in trying to pack as much functionality into the keyboard as they could, everything ends up too close together for comfortable typing. With a gap between the number pad and the rest of the keyboard the same size as that between any other two keys, we had to lot of accidental pressing of the Num Lock when trying to delete text, for example. It also doesn’t help that the backspace button is about 3/4 the size of many other computers’. Key travel length is not very good, and the slick, flat tops of the chiclet keys were uncomfortable after a while.
The oversized fully-clickable touchpad is quiet, but responds poorly to gestures and double clicks, especially towards the edges. While it features a distinguishing line at the bottom designating left and right click areas, actually pressing these areas is a challenge as the sensitivity is frustratingly poor in the bottom corners. As well, due to the slight dip in the touchpad’s surface, there’s very little tactile feedback when you do manage to register a click. Since the touchpad is so large, accidental wrist input became a fast problem when typing for extended periods.