Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Special Edition 2-in-1 Review

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

While reviewing Dell's Inspiron 13 7000 SE, we continually had the perception that we were working with a powerful, premium laptop, not a 2-in-1 convertible. The keyboard is robust, the trackpad responsive, its display is crisp and bright, though there was some  fan noise to remind us of the power beneath its hood. But in fact, this device is more than a laptop; it's a larger-than-average 2-in-1 that also happens to be more powerful than most rivals shipping today. In a nutshell, this is a rare creature, focusing first on being a potent laptop and second on being a tablet. If you've grown tired of seeing 2-in-1 after 2-in-1 ship with weaker innards and compromised keyboards, you'll appreciate the laptop first, tablet second approach that Dell has taken here with the Inspiron 13 7000 Special Edition.

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By all accounts, our $1,000 test unit was powerful enough for mainstream users and even light gamers. Its Core i7-5500U and Intel HD 5500 graphics proved to be a potent duo, churning through everyday tasks and even taxing games with essentially no hiccups to speak of. $1,000 is a lot to ask for a tablet, but it's not a lot to ask for a flagship laptop. And, when you consider that you're effectively buying two products in one here, the value proposition becomes clearer.

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It's this same train of thought that has led Microsoft to believe that its Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3 are amongst the first tablets engineered to truly and completely replace your laptop. We're fans of intelligent consolidation, and we're impressed with how uncompromising the Inspiron 13 7000 SE feels. It's worth pointing out, however, that our hero unit shipped with a 256GB PM851 SSD from Samsung, which we credit for much of its snappiness to. Dell also ships this unit with mechanical hard drives, which we'd recommend avoiding.

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For those who have been on the hunt for a new laptop that can double as a tablet -- look no further. This machine is best used primarily as a laptop given its size and weight (and expansive 13.3-inch LCD), but manages just fine between two hands as a tablet on occasion as well. Granted, it's a bit heavy and unwieldy when used as a slate for long periods, but we're glad that mode exists for this device. We have plenty of options in the tablet first, laptop second market; it's good to see more machines that flip that equation on its ear.

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The build quality, software experience, and overall design leave little to gripe about. The Inspiron 13 7000 SE looks and feels like a premium machine, through and through. The only major drawbacks come as a direct result of this machine being so powerful. Excess heat and fan noise to an extent, will be unavoidable, so those favoring an ultra-quiet device will need to look elsewhere.  Unfortunately, battery life also took a hit as a result, so avid road warriors might consider this a non-starter, though we did manage almost 5 hours of up-time in our web browsing test. That said, those seeking a powerful new laptop that's as versatile as they come will appreciate the comprehensive package that has been assembled by Dell here. The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Special Edition is a rare jack of all trades in a notebook-first 2-in-1 approach, that also manages to master its primary usage scenario. 

  • Flexible use modes 
  • Gorgeous, sleek design
  • Very powerful for a 2-in-1
  • Top-notch keyboard and trackpad
  • Battery life
  • Some excess heat and fan noise
  • A bit pricey with an SSD

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