The Inspiron range sits fairly in the middle of Dell's (non-gaming laptop) laptop range, outdone only by the premium XPS range. But the Inspiron laptops can hold their own just as well, given the right context, and will offer people a viable entry point into the mid- and upper-mid-range laptop market, balancing power and performance and design, and, to some extent, cost.
Upon first inspection, it is obvious that the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 is a success in design. It's thin and lightweight and has trimmed an awful lot of excess fat off to create a wonderful machine you can manipulate with one hand alone. It's a 14-inch laptop nestled and neatly arranged in a 13-inch design and chassis, meaning that there is no superfluous surface area, or bezels to be seen; it's a wonderful feat and makes more a delightfully compact and neat machine.
The design is of a plain but relatively chic nature: everything is silver, which is nice to an extent, but I'd have liked one other colour or shade to be used to break things up a little. The screen is very crisp clear and roomy for the size of the laptop too.
Within the Inspiron 14 7000 is a collection of components that ooze quality and competency for a mid-range machine. A decent SSD is more than enough to get you going storage-wise, 16GB of RAM is excellent in a laptop of this size and build, and the brand-new 10th-generation Intel processor is very welcome indeed. Throwing in the MX250 graphics card is a nice gesture and will offer some extra oomph, but nowhere near enough for those looking for their laptop to be really gaming capable.
Despite that chink in the armour, the performance is pretty excellent for what the laptop offers: a solid work and home laptop that will crunch through all of your work tasks, be the centre of a work-from-home setup or office, extending its power to photo editing and maybe even some light video work too. All while offering a great battery life, to offer these capabilities on the go. Nice.
The Inspiron 14 7000 puts all its good features and components to great use, all things considered. The brand-new 10th gen Comet Lake processor from Intel is a great boon and help the laptop be a well-performing machine, whatever home or work task you throw at it.
Here is the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Intel i7-10510U
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX250
Screen: 14-inch 1080p
Storage: 512GB SSD
Optical drive: No
Ports: 1 x USB-C Thunderbolt (Display and power delivery); 2 x USB 3.1; 1 x HDMI out; 1 x MicroSD card reader; 1 x headphone/microphone combo audio jack;
Camera: 720p webcam
Weight: 2.41 pounds (1.095 kg)
Size: 12.59 x 8.11 x 0.59-0.71 inches (31.9 x 20.6 x 1.5-1.8 cm; W x D x H)
Price and availability
It's worth noting that while this is considered a mid-range or maybe upper-mid-range laptop, the list price of the Inspiron 14 7000 is still quite high. Depending on specific build and spec, the Inspiron 14 7000 sells for between £910 and £1,150 in the UK.
We'd expect this to be of a similar pricing in the US - though a straight-up converted price would equate to USD$1,210-$1,530 and AU$1,645-$2,080. Thus, for this price, this does mean the laptop is a sizeable investment; even if you did manage to snag a deal or discount - there's usually Dell Inspiron deals on Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday.
We hesitate in recommending this as a great price for the laptop as we know Dell themselves offer laptops with far great power and performance for a similar price - but, naturally, without the thin and light design, and the decent battery life. As ever, it's all swings and roundabouts but this price does seem high.
Importantly, however, at the time of writing, it does look like the straight-up laptop variant of the machine is only currently available in the UK, while in the US and Australia, the 2-in-1 touch screen model seems to be more prevalent.
There's no denying the Insprion 14 7000's exquisite laptop design. It really a chic portable machine for the year 2020. We knew it was good even before it came out of the box as the reviewer's cat started to claim it by snoozing on the box. It is thin and lightweight, and this was noticeable as soon as you pull it out of said box. It's a pleasing thing to be able to wield a sizeable laptop in one hand and the Inspiron 14 7000 is exactly that, light and easy to handle and move around, the portability here is clear.
The other immediately noticeable design feature is the very silver aesthetic. It's silver on silver on silver (with a teeny bit of white in the screen bezels) here. For us, this is nice to an extent, but in reality, too much of one colour. We would like to have seen other colours or shades incorporated to break it all up a bit. This may seem a bit superficial but if you're paying this much for a laptop, the most folk will want it to look nice and represent that investment, and also from a usability perspective, as when the laptop's keys are illuminated it actually makes them and their letters hard to discern.
Opening up the screen was both great and a little disappointing simultaneously. This is because the panel itself, is lovely and bright, crisp, and vibrant, but as soon as the laptop was put down on a lap or surface, the hinges failed to keep the screen in position and the screen just flopped backward to its 'lowest' position.
This was a repeated issue and was a bit disappointing. It could be just that this particular review unit's hinges were not as tight as they should be, but we can only call it as we see it. The keyboard and touchpad are of a high Dell quality, however, and with a tiny bit of lateral wiggles in the keys aside, proves easy and pleasant to use.
Finally, within the design, you should be supported well by the ports on offer. There are of course some usual suspects in the two 'normal' USBs (3.1 variants), the microSD card reader, and the audio jack but what its most welcome is the multi-use USB-C port.
This is the means through which to charge the laptop, but it can also be used for display purposes too, and other functions given its Thunderbolt nature. Also present is an HDMI port which is welcome and emphasises the laptop's ability and potential to be a home and work hub, hooking up to external monitors for perfect working-from-home setups.
What does seem like an omission, particularly given the Inspiron's price tag, is the absence of an Ethernet port. This would further enhance the laptop's potential as a main work machine, but also seems like an option that users would be relieved to have, given the price of admission.
However, the flip side of this is that it would cause the chassis to be noticeably thicker so the wafer-thin design would be compromised. It's also somewhat made up for by the inclusion of Dell's Mobile Connect functionality, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth.
Here's how the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
Geekbench: 1,260 (single-core); 3,944 (multi-core)
PC Mark 10 Home: 3,165p
PC Mark battery life: 3hrs 56mins
Battery Life 1080p (TechRadar movie test): 9 hours 6 minutes
Using the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 feels exactly as it should do: the combination of the crisp and vibrant screen, with the unspectacular, but still pleasing keyboard and touchpad, supported by the component set under the hood, means anything that is asked of it (within a home/work context) is accomplished well, and it is nice to use while doing so.
The screen-keyboard use combo makes day-to-day use of Google's and Microsoft's suites easy and pleasant with typing for long period being good for a laptop and the touchpad reacting well but not being over sensitive to accidental touches. The screen is great to use, too.
Its vibrancy and clarity are great, giving a roomy and bright display to focus on without being blinded or lead to eye strain. Chrome browsing and word processing are clear and pleasant, and even videos on YouTube and streaming services are vibrant. The 100% sRGB feature of the screen is a great addition and offers another level of colour excellence which is most welcome.
In terms of heavier lifting, the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 can handle Photoshop and InDesign work but nothing too monstrous in that department, as there were a few stutters along the way. It should also be capable of a bit of video editing if you're in a pinch, too, given the new processor and plentiful RAM at its disposal.
Speaking of which, while the demanding programs will always be, well, demanding, we often ran multiple apps and programs on the laptop at once and the laptop's capability consistently meant performance was snappy and seamless. Even the extra features of a fingerprint scanner and solid webcam are reliable and decent, adding to the overall package.
I know it's not necessarily what it's aimed for but given the quality components elsewhere, I'm almost a little disappointed it's not got a beefier graphics capability - not just for gaming but for other graphic and creative work.
At this price point, complemented with the components that are present, and that good screen, it's a little deflating that it can't offer more on the graphics front. It will run games somewhat and offer a very entry-level way into PC gaming with incredibly limited results and performance, but we wouldn't put any modern game or game that's even slightly demanding on here. (Such is it's placing as a non-gaming laptop we decided not to test the latest and greatest on the machine - for fear of Red Dead Redemption 2 causing it to catch fire.)
From a purely performance to price tag perspective, there is a question mark here: you can get laptops that are way more capable than this for the same price. These machines might not offer the same battery life (see below) but, nowadays, we aren't tether-free for that long anymore. Though, having said that, if you really are after a long battery life, and want a thin and light laptop, and are not bothered by getting the most performance capability from a machine then this is a great candidate. However, we'd possibly recommend one of the less powerful builds as the value will be greater and you won't compromise too much on home and work performance at all.
If you need a laptop with as much power and performance as you can get for the Inspiron's price range, then this might not be your best option. If you're after a quality work and home laptop that maintains a thin and light design and has around-the-clock battery life then this is an excellent contender.
As the results show, this is a laptop that not only has a great, capable component set but one that can use them for a good while. PCMark's intense work out shows a decent capability of about half a working day, whereas our own video test - playing a 1080p video on 50% screen brightness and volume, demonstrated that the battery really can run and run.
The main thing to take home here, from a laptop with this spec and build, is that it will (should?) easily last you a whole day of work or home use without needing to be plugged in (and maybe some of the work commute too). This is probably one of the main factors that you're paying for here too, and you'd expect that for paying around the four-figure USD/GBP mark for such a laptop.
Buy it if...
You're after a solid work and home laptop with good battery life
It's nothing flashy or wild, but the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 will have you well covered for work and general home use, and last all day while you do it.
You're looking for a capable mid-range laptop with a great screen
The Dell Inspiron 14 7000's screen is of a wonderful size and quality, so if a bright, roomy, and crisp display is near the top of your list of requirements then this has got it.
Thin and light is near the top of your most-wanted list
There's no denying the light-ness and thin-ness of the Dell Inspiron 14 7000; it's a great laptop for both slinging around the house, keeping next to the sofa, and as you day-to-day work machine.
Don't buy it if...
You're after a gaming-focused laptop
This, of course, isn't a gaming laptop, but neither is it a laptop which can handle games (which is a nice bonus sometimes but not one found here)
You want to squeeze all the performance you can get from your budget
While this is a good work productivity laptop, there will be machines out there that will offer greater power and performance for your money (while compromising in some areas, like battery life).
If you're looking for something for a niche or something specialist
This is just a solid home and work laptop, nothing really specialist or niche here (i.e. for video editing or similar work).
- These are the best laptops of 2020