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The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is mostly just a mainstream convertible, but for some reason, I just fell in love with it. There’s something about the design that feels natural, and the keyboard is comfortable. All in all, the laptop is a delight in an almost indescribable way.
So read on, while I go ahead and try to describe it.
Navigate this review:
This product starts at $849, packing a Ryzen 5, 8GB RAM, and 256GB of storage. There’s also a Pebble Green color listed in the guide, but not on Dell’s product listing.
The design of the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is somewhat unique, and that’s one of the key reasons that this feels so nice to use. It comes in a color called Mist Blue, and with the aluminum and plastic chassis, it feels premium. The soft blue color was something that I liked right away, as I always like colors on laptops as opposed to a generic silver or gray.
But what I really like about the design is the rounded edges on the front and rear; the sides are still flat. It makes it easy to lift the lid, and again, it’s something that’s just a bit different from the rest of the market. In a world of MacBooks and MacBook clones, it really does help to have something that just feels different.
Upon opening the lid, you’ll find that the lid actually moves back a bit so that it props up the laptop. This creates a gap between the surface and the bottom of the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1, providing better airflow. As you probably know, the more you can keep the inside cool, the better and more sustained performance will be.
All of the ports are kind of last-gen, sadly. On the left side, there’s an HDMI 1.4b port, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port. All of the USB ports support 5Gbps speeds, rather than newer standards that support 10Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen 2), 20Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen 2×2), or 40Gbps (USB 4). Being that this is an AMD machine, there’s no Thunderbolt. That part is no surprise. It’s just strange to have HDMI 1.4b instead of HDMI 2.0 (or even 2.1), and to have older USB ports.
The subtle design of the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is similar, yet unique.
On the right side, there’s another USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card slot. It seems more common for high-end consumer laptops to have two USB Type-C ports and one Type-A port, rather than the other way around. Still, that’s fine. The USB Type-C port does support video out and charging, so you might be able to make use of the dual USB Type-A ports for other things, perhaps for a mouse and external storage, for example.
I really love the design of the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1. I love the feel of the rounded front and back, the color, and more. It really feels good to use.
The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 has a 14-inch, 1,920×1,080, 16:9 touchscreen. That’s pretty much the story, because there’s not much else that’s special about it.
From my testing, it supports 67% sRGB, 48% NTSC, 50% Adobe RGB, and 50% P3, which really isn’t great. I actually ran this test a bunch of times in different ways, and then I tested my MacBook Pro just to see if there was something wrong with the sensor. Frankly, I didn’t expect the results to be this low, and had a hard time believing it.
Brightness maxes out at 278.3 nits, which means that it’s not going to do great in bright sunlight, and contrast ratio maxes out at 1,120:1.
The viewing angle on the screen seems to be a full 178 degrees. In fact, if I was going by my naked eye, I’d say that the display is much better than the test results. But still, there you have it. It’s something to be aware of if color accuracy is critical to your work flow.
Right above the screen is a webcam with a physical privacy guard, which is always nice. Unfortunately, the webcam is still 720p, a shame when the webcam has become such a critical component.
Dell did send me its UltraSharp 4K Webcam, which is phenomenal. Indeed, if you want to look good on calls, this is the webcam to get. It supports AI zoom, meaning that if you move around, it will automatically zoom in on you. It also supports HDR and more.
I really like the keyboard on the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1. Dell says that it made the keys 9% bigger, and I can feel the difference. I never thought ‘spacious’ was a word I’d use to describe a laptop keyboard, but here we are.
The keyboard is comfortable to type on, but it almost takes a little bit of getting used to. The keys aren’t wobbly or anything, something that would ruin the experience of the larger keys. It just kind of feels different in a good way. Again, I like it a lot.
I never thought I’d use the word ‘spacious’ to describe a keyboard, but here we are.
The Microsoft Precision touchpad is fine. Dell says that it’s glass-like, meaning that it’s not glass, but that’s fine. It gets the job done.
At the top-right of the keyboard is a power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor. Once again, Dell doesn’t scan your fingerprint when you press the button to power on the machine. You still have to touch it again after it boots up, and this is contradictory to the behavior of any PC with a fingerprint in the power button that’s built by a different OEM.
Dell thinks it’s a security risk to automatically log you in by scanning your fingerprint when you first press the button. Personally, I think users know how their own laptops work, and if they know their computer is going to automatically log them in, they won’t walk away from it in a public place in that five to 10 seconds or so.
Honestly, Dell Mobile Connect deserves more shout-outs than it gets, because if you’re an iPhone user, you really should be using a Dell laptop. The app lets you send and receive texts from your laptop, and it also lets you send and receive files, mirror your screen, and more. It works with both Android and iOS.
The big difference is that there are a ton of services that do this with Android. With iOS, that’s not the case. Even Microsoft’s own Your Phone app has put zero effort into getting it to work with an iPhone. Other solutions, like HP’s, lets you send files that are smaller than 50MB, but that’s about it.
If you’ve got an iPhone, Dell Mobile Connect is the reason you should be using a Dell PC.
With Dell Mobile Connect, sharing a file is like using AirDrop, but with a Windows PC instead of a Mac. It’s that fast, and if you’ve not experienced the pain point of transferring a 4K 60fps video you just took from an iPhone to a Windows PC, then you know that this is an amazing feature to have.
The Inspiron 14 2-in-1 that Dell sent me comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 5700U, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD, which is pretty solid for a fairly low price tag. There’s another model with a Ryzen 5 5500U, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD, but I wouldn’t consider that one. It really doesn’t cost much more for the higher end model.
There’s good news and bad news here. The Ryzen 7 5700U is essentially AMD’s answer to Intel’s Core i7-1165G7. These companies are kind enough to give their comparable products the same numbers. AMD Ryzen 5000 is really good too. Assuming you buy this for normal ultrabook purposes, you’re in great shape.
Battery life is pretty good, averaging around six hours, but the problem is really performance while on battery life. Running PCMark 10, it scored 5,320 when connected to power. While not plugged in, it scored a disappointing 4,046. Both tests were performed with Windows set to best performance. That’s almost a 24% drop in performance just from disconnecting a power cable, and sadly, this is typical for AMD Ryzen laptops.
I don’t want to say that performance is actually bad when it’s not connected to power. You can still use your laptop as you normally would. There’s just a dip in performance that’s significant enough to get a mention.
For benchmarks, I used PCMark 10, 3DMark, Geekbench, and Cinebench. All of these were with the unit plugged into power and set to best performance settings.
Note that if we compare the score when the machine is disconnected to power, it compares more to Intel eighth-generation machines.
But when it’s plugged in, you can see that overall, it compares to pretty beefy laptops like the Surface Laptop Studio and last year’s Dell XPS 17. They compete in different ways though. As you can see from Time Spy, the other two laptops do much better because they have dedicated graphics. The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1, on the other hand, has eight cores, so it does better in multi-core tests than the Surface Laptop Studio does.
The short answer is yes, the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is an easy laptop to recommend. Despite a few shortcomings, it still punches well above its weight.
As mentioned, there are a few shortcomings. The screen falls short in the color gamut department, and performance takes a big hit when the laptop isn’t connected to power. And of course, the webcam is still 720p.
With all of that considered, I still fell in love with this machine. It’s just a delight, from the keyboard with its larger keys to the familiar yet unique design that has rounded edges and a subtle blue color. Performance in general is pretty good too, as tends to be the case with AMD Ryzen processors.
And let’s not forget that all specced out, it still only costs $1,049. If that’s the price target that you’re trying to hit, then I’m not sure what else you could want from a laptop.
XDA » Mini Reviews »
Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.
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