Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Review - 2-in-1 Laptop

Preview: The Dell Inspiron 13 5000 is another rock solid hybrid laptop from Dell. We go hands on at Computex.

Dell has been making Inspiron 2-in-1 laptops for several years, and they’re often overshadowed by their more powerful bigger Inspiron brothers. Without dedicated graphics and other beefy specs, it’s often easy to overlook these quieter, cheaper laptops. The Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 is a great example of this, and I was able to get hands on with the new laptop at Computex.

Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Review

Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Review

This is an evolution, not a revolution of the previous-generation Inspiron 2-in-1s, with an updated set of specifications with this year’s tech. I always found the previous-gen devices to be some of the most robust-feeling hybrids around so keeping the formula the same is a sensible decision.

Dell hasn’t made it any more colourful, though, the unit I tested was coated in bland, grey plastic that really didn’t befit what is a friendly consumer device. More colours, please?

If you're looking for something a little bigger, the Inspiron 15 5000 2-in-1 might also be worth a look. It's built practically identically, with very similar processor and RAM choices to its smaller sibling. You get the same flexible hinge as you'd find on the smaller version, which means you can get the same in-bed and on-train video streaming experience as you'd get with the smaller device.

There's also a 17-inch version available, but this won't be available until much later in the year and, frankly, 17 inches for a 2-in-1 is only ever going to be a niche option.

A stylus will be available with some versions of these machines, but if that's something you really want, check with your retailer before you buy.

Back to the 13 5000: The keyboard on my test model was backlit and it felt great to type on. There was a reasonable amount of key travel and while the keys weren’t particularly grippy, I was able to get up to speed with accurate typing very quickly.

Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Review

Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Review

The touchpad is similarly good. It’s perhaps slightly too grippy for my tastes but tapping and swiping is accurate, as is two-finger scrolling, which is the most important gesture, for me at least.

The screen is a Full HD panel, and while it won’t set the world alight with its performance, it’s nice and bright and looks sharp, which is about all you can ask for from a sub-£600 device. Touch gestures were recognised immediately and I wasn’t left swiping frustratedly at the screen.

That’s useful, because this laptop’s party piece is its ability to flip round into a thick tablet. This is most useful when watching Netflix in bed and watching other video when on a plane or train. Don’t mistake it for an actual tablet, though: at 1.62kg and 13 inches, though, it’s a hefty tablet so you won’t want to be carrying it for too long.

On the sides, you get three USB 3.0 ports, which is plenty, and a full-size HDMI port for connecting to your TV or a monitor. There’s also a full-size SD card slot.

Inside, there’ll be a variety of storage options including high-capacity hard disks and SSDs; the model I was using had a hard disk but it still felt suitably snappy.

Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Review

 

Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Review

There’ll also be a choice of either an Intel Core i5-6200U processor or an i7-6500U. Both are dual-core chips, and both are very good for this sort of device with low power consumption but sprightly performance.

That low power consumption appears to point to excellent battery life: according to the Windows 10 battery life estimation on the unit I was using, there were eight hours remaining with the current brightness and usage conditions. That’s absolutely excellent and points to a laptop you’ll be able to use all day.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 2-in-1 looks like another solid Dell machine, and with its price starting from £499 for a Core i3 model, it's certainly on track to be one of 2016's better-value hybrids.

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