October 28, 2013
- Attractive, lightweight aluminum design
- Beautiful 1080p backlit display
- Responsive touch screen
- Keyboard could be better
- No SSD cache drive
The Dell Inspiron 14 7000 is an attractive all-aluminum laptop that has good battery life, a colorful display and touch screen and decent performance. While it isn't the quickest laptop available, if you want a thin and light Apple MacBook Air alternative, this one is a good choice.
The best part about the Inspiron 14 7000 is the all-aluminum chassis, which looks really slick and classy. It's definitely on par to the Apple MacBook Air in terms of design appeal. The edges of the body look very sharp and very stylish. The bottom has two long rubber strips to help with grip. For buyers in the market for a Windows-based attractive laptop, put this one near the top of your list right from the start.
It measures 13.6 x 9.4 x 0.6-inches (wdh) and weighs 3.8-pounds, so it's definitely both thin and lightweight. Out of all the ultraportable Windows-based laptops we've seen, this one is one of the thinnest and lightest.
Aside from the physical exterior design, the 1080p HD LED backlit display is also one of this laptop's strongest selling points. The display has edge-to-edge Corning Gorilla Glass. The resulting image is extremely good. We found it to be very crisp and vibrant. The bezel around the display is a little thicker than we are used to, especially along the bottom, but this is a minor complaint. The touch screen aspect of the display worked extremely well and seemed very responsive to our touch.
The island-style keyboard worked well, but there was quite a bit of noticeable flexing and the keys seemed a little mushy. The keys are backlit, so that's a plus. The touch pad is large and very responsive. It easily worked with all of Windows 8's multitouch gestures.
For ports, the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 offers two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, a headphone/microphone combo jack and a 3-in-1 memory card reader. Wireless connectivity includes both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Our review unit included a configuration with an Intel Core i5-4200U (1.6GHz) CPU, 6GB of RAM, a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive and integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics. In a PCMark 7 benchmark, it earned a score of 2,767, which is just shy of the ultraportable category average. The shortfall is most likely due to the 6GB of RAM instead of the usual 8GB seen on other similar laptops and the lack of a solid-state cache drive. Because you don't get a cache drive, boot up times are slower than laptops with them. With this Dell laptop, we averaged around 25 seconds (as opposed to around 10-15 with a SSD drive).
In real-world use, we found the performance to be quite good. The benchmark didn't do this computer justice, but that's sometimes the flaw of those numbers. For the average user (or even the more advanced user), looking for a portable computer with good performance, this one won't disappoint. Watching streaming HD video worked smoothly as well as doing moderately heavy multitasking. You won't be able to do any 3D gaming on this laptop, however, but that is the price you pay for wanting portability.
Battery life clocks in at around 7 hours, which is a tad longer than the ultraportable category average.