PROS / This is the only laptop on our lineup that has a dedicated graphics card option.
CONS / The battery life is poor.
VERDICT / In favor of its great performance, the Inspiron 7000 sacrifices some of its portability – most notable in its battery life.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Even though the Dell Inspiron 7000 isn't the most portable laptop on our lineup, it's still a strong contender for the best laptop. The Inspiron 7000 has a good display and excellent performance. This laptop definitely favors performance over portability, but that doesn't mean it's a complete slouch in portability. The only major downside to the Inspiron 7000 is its relatively short battery life.
At only 0.8 inches thick, it's impressive that the Inspiron 7000 performs as well as it does. Of course, as this laptop crunches data, it generates heat – and with powerful components, you get lots of heat. The Inspiron 7000 struggles a little with dissipating that heat. During testing, our sister site Laptop Mag determined that the bottom of the laptop reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit after playing a 15-minute video on Hulu. That's warm enough to be uncomfortable in your lap.
According to the test data from Laptop Mag, the Inspiron 7000's battery ran out of juice after 5 hours and 45 minutes during its web browsing test. This is considerably shorter than any other laptop's battery life on our lineup and could be a major issue for students and others who need to be away from outlets for extended periods of time. Part of the drain on the battery is the fact that you can put a dedicated graphics card in the Inspiron 7000, which drives a 4K display (3840 x 2160).
You can pick from several different versions of the Inspiron 7000. The cheapest comes with a 1920 x 1080 display, which is a good starting place. If it fits in your budget, you can opt for the model that comes with a 3840 x 2160 screen. The 4K display gives you wonderful crispness, but it falls short in color reproduction, and it's not particularly bright.
With the AMD Radeon R7 M270 graphics upgrade, the Inspiron 7000 is a powerful machine. It earns an A- grade for overall performance, which is very good. The cheapest model comes with an i5-5200U, clocked at 2.2GHz. This processor is enough for most people. However, if you want more processing power for multimedia editing, then you can opt for the more expensive model that comes with an i7-5500U. The i7 benefits from the addition of hyper-threading.
According to data from Laptop Mag, the Inspiron 7000 dominated most of the performance tests. Of course, with a dedicated graphics card, the Inspiron 7000 performs much better at any task that involves 3D rendering. It also did particularly well in the Geekbench 3 overall performance test, earning the second-highest score on our lineup. The Geekbench test seeks to simulate real-world usage and is a good indication of how well the Inspiron 7000 will perform for average users.
None of the laptops in this particular series come with an SSD. Instead, they all feature a 1TB hard drive. With that much space, you don't need to worry much about running out of space for your photos or music library. This is the advantage of using a regular hard drive – you get lots of storage space for cheap. However, you lose out on the speed of an SSD.
The least expensive model in this series comes with 6GB of memory, which should be enough for most people. While 8GB is quickly becoming the norm for laptops, 6GB is enough to allow you quickly multitask. If you need more memory, you can get one of the more expensive models, which feature 8GB and 16GB of memory. With 16GB of memory, you won't have to worry about upgrading your memory for the life of the computer.
As comprehensive as laptops are, they can't do everything. Many people like to use a mouse with their laptop because the trackpad isn't efficient or just isn't very comfortable. For those cases, having as many USB ports as possible is great. The Inspiron 7000 comes with two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port. With three total USB ports, you shouldn't run out of space for your peripherals anytime soon. There's also an HDMI port that allows you to send your laptop's screen to any other HDMI-enabled device.
Help & Support
In Laptop Mag's customer service testing, they gave Dell a B- grade. This means that the support representatives did an adequate job of responding to queries quickly. Compared to other laptop manufacturers, a B- is pretty good. When you buy the Inspiron 7000, you get a one-year warranty that covers any factory defects. Should you have any trouble with the machine, you can contact support via phone, email, live chat or social media.
The Dell Inspiron 7000 can be a powerhouse of a machine if you are willing to pay for the most expensive model. The 4K display is crisp and has its advantages, but it also has poor color reproduction and isn't very bright. The range of options you have with this laptop series is admirable. Even though its battery life is poor, the Inspiron 7000 earns its place as one of the best laptops you can get.