Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 review: A sad display on a good laptop

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Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 sitting at a table.

Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1

MSRP $1,000.00

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score details

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“The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is a good laptop with a less-than-good display.”

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professionals

  • excellent performance

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    undoubtedly attractive

  • Mostly solid build quality

  • nice keyboard and mouse

  • strong battery life

Shortcoming

  • display is low

  • Very expensive considering the display

  • depressing audio

The 14-inch laptop is in an increasingly popular size. It offers a larger display than 13-inch laptops, but a much smaller chassis than 15-inch machines. This convertible is also gaining popularity among 2-in-1s, again offering more screen real estate for things like digital inking, while being far less cumbersome than the 15-inch 2-in-1. Dell gets that, and its newest Inspiron 14 2-in-1 fits right in.

I reviewed Inspiron 14 2-in-1 With AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU and 16:9 Full HD Display. It has a $1,000 price tag, which isn’t budget by any means—that’s really the limit of premium territory. And while 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD) sweeten things up a bit, the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 has a lot to live up to. While it performed well and delivered impressive battery life, its display holds it back – making its price a daunting constraint.

design

An angled view of the backside and keyboard of the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1.
Mark Koppock/Nerdshala

The Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is built from a mix of aluminum in the lid and plastic in the chassis, and manages its materials to give it a sturdy feel in the hand. The lid flexes a bit under pressure and there’s some display distortion—never a good thing—but the keyboard deck and bottom chassis are solid. It’s built fairly well for the price, and a lot better than the Asus VivoBook Flip 14 which is about $300 less (with a lower-end Ryzen 5 CPU and half the RAM). The $735 Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 was just as well built and thus proves that you don’t have to spend $1,000 or more for solid build quality, while at the same time making $1,100 The dollar’s clamshell Acer Swift X had more flexing in its lid and keyboard deck. go figure. The Inspiron 14 2-in-1’s hinge was stiff, requiring two hands to open, but it held the display firmly in its four positions – clamshell, tent, media, and tablet – and it provided a comfortable typing angle. Supports the keyboard deck. and additional airflow.

Aesthetically, the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 comes in an AMD configuration in two colors, Pebble Green and Mist Blue, and just Platinum Silver in its Intel avatar. My review unit was Mist Blue, and it’s a bit deceiving—the laptop is actually two-tone, with mist blue covering the lid and a dark gray (or somewhat light brown) covering the bottom chassis . The top and bottom of the display and the front and rear edges of the chassis are rounded, but the angles are simple, giving the laptop a minimalist appearance that’s attractive enough without standing out. The display bezels aren’t as small as I’d like on the top and bottom, but they aren’t too big and don’t distract too much with the modern look. The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 and Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i are both equally underrated. The HP Specter x360 14 is more elaborately designed, but it’s also significantly more expensive.

In terms of its size, the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is pretty slim at 0.64 by 0.71 inches depending on where you measure, and it’s right in the ballpark for a 14-inch convertible 2-in-1 at 3.43 pounds. The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 comes in at 0.72 inches and 3.31 pounds, while the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i is thicker at 0.82 inches and heavier at about 3.3 pounds. The Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is a little deeper than that given the slightly larger bezel, but it’s a comfortable size overall. There is nothing to complain about here.

Connectivity is a mixed bag. There’s a full-size HDMI port, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, and a USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port on the left, and a second USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card on the right. card reader. The problem with this configuration is that the laptop charges via USB-C (and given the AMD chipset, it doesn’t support Thunderbolt 4), and with only one such port, you’ll need to power both. Some kind of dongle will be needed for this. Connect the machine and USB-C devices. However, legacy support is strong. The usual Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 handle the wireless duties.

Display

Front side image of the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1.
Mark Koppock/Nerdshala

AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series CPUs dominate against Intel’s 11th-gen Core U-series processors, which is what you’ll find in thinner and lighter laptops. The Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is equipped with either a 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 5500U or an 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 5700U, which powers my review unit. It’s interesting that the Ryzen 5 version with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD is $200 less, making it an interesting option.

There are many reasons to question the price of the Inspiron 14 2-in-1, but performance isn’t one of them.

The Inspiron 14 2-in-1 performed well in our benchmark suite, just behind the Ryzen 7 5800U and ahead of the Ryzen 5 5500U. It was particularly strong in our Handbrake test converting 420MB of video to H.265, finishing it in 116 seconds compared to the HP Pavilion Aero 13, which has a faster Ryzen 7 chip that finished just four seconds faster. it occurs. The Inspiron also did well in the Cinebench R23, another CPU-intensive test, falling behind the faster laptop, but not by much. PCMark 10 Complete ran as expected with a score of 5,411 and its Essentials, Productivity and Content Creation scores were in line with the competition.

Nothing to complain about in terms of performance. The Inspiron 14 2-in-1 will burn through your more challenging productivity workflows, and it will do well in your creative tasks thin and light even without a discrete GPU. There are many reasons to question the price of the Inspiron 14 2-in-1, but performance isn’t one of them.

Geekbench (Single/Multi) handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23 (Single/Multi) PCMark 10 3DMark Time Detective
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (Ryzen 7 5700U) 1184/6281 116 1287/8013 5411 1247
Acer Swift X (Ryzen 7 5800U) 1287/6663 99 1437 / 10135 6247 4073
HP Pavilion Aero 13

(Ryzen 7 5800U)

1373/6430 112 1381 / 8304 5756 1212
Asus VivoBook Flip 14

(Ryzen 5 5500U)

1102/5432 131 1180/7579 5191 1099
Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 (Core i5-1135G7) 1397/4301 213 1325/4411 4550 1025
hp specter x360 14 (Core i7-1165G7) 1214 / 4117 236 1389/3941 4728 1457

Gaming isn’t the strength of the Inspiron 14 2-in-1. Its Radeon graphics only scored 1,247 on the 3DMark Time Spy test, slightly behind the Intel Iris Xe graphics in the HP Specter x360 14. fortnite At 1080p and higher graphics, which is in line with class but not impressive performance. You can play a few games on the Inspiron 14 2-in-1, just be prepared for the graphics to turn down.

Display

Closeup image of the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1's display
Mark Koppock/Nerdshala

There is a certain performance standard that laptops must meet if they are going to spend $1,000 or more. This is especially true with a laptop that has the performance chops to meet the entry-level needs of creative types – performance should be at least average in all respects.

While the Inspiron 14 2-in-1’s display looked fine during my testing, we don’t do anything that requires a lot of color. Our review process is productivity-oriented, unless we’re reviewing laptops with even faster CPUs and different GPUs aimed at creators. So, although I thought the brightness was a bit low and I disliked the old school 16:9 aspect ratio (I like the trend toward taller 16:10 and 3:2 aspect ratios), I had no other major complaints.

The Inspiron 14 2-in-1’s display was the most disappointing aspect of the machine.

However, my colorimeter was not impressed. At first, brightness was actually low at just 238 nits, just under 300 nits our favorite which ensures a display will be bright enough for all indoor conditions. Contrast was good at 1,090:1, higher than our 1,000:1 limit for a premium display, but low brightness still limited how much black text popped against a white background.

I was disappointed when I looked at the colors of the display. The panels had narrow colors at only 52% of AdobeRGB and 69% of sRGB, though they were fairly accurate at a delta of 1.81 (less than 1.0 is considered excellent). Premium laptops (or near-premium) have 72% or more AdobeRGB and 95% or higher sRGB. The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 and Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i had similarly poor colors and brightness, with low contrast, which made them slightly worse than the Inspiron 14 2-in-1. But then, they’re also pretty little money.

The Inspiron 14 2-in-1’s display was the most disappointing aspect of the machine. It’s unfortunate that Dell didn’t put out a better panel, because then it would really live up to its promise of an affordable machine for creatives to do their more lightweight work. Anyway, it’s fine for basic productivity tasks, and even then, you’ll be disappointed when viewing photos and videos.

Audio was quite loud at max volume, but there was a lot of distortion…

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