Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 Review – Dell is in the midst of updating all of its key laptop ranges with a hybrid design of one sort or another, with the Inspiron 13 5000 the latest in line. The concept is simple: a 360-degree hinge allows you to flip the 13.3in screen all the way around, in a Lenovo Yoga-ish way.
It looks stunning, with the lightly textured, gunmetal grey chassis adding a touch of class that’s rarely seen on such inexpensive laptops. It might be made out of plastic, but it’s robust and showed few signs of flex when put under pressure.
This Inspiron’s compact size is also a better fit for a 360-degree hinge than its 15in sibling (Dell Inspiron 15 5000 2-in-1). With built-in palm rejection, it’s well suited to graphic designers and digital artists who need a touchscreen they can bend to their will.
It’s a shame, then, that the Inspiron 13 5000’s colour accuracy is so poor: our colour calibrator showed its 1,920 x 1,080 display was only capable of showing 58.7% of the sRGB colour gamut. This means you lose out on detail and colour depth. A contrast ratio of 1,220:1 was more promising, capturing a decent amount of shadow detail in darker images, but its low peak brightness of 252cd/m2 makes everything look drab in comparison to the best screens.
It’s still a great laptop to work on courtesy of its excellent keyboard. Every key is tactile and responsive, while the full-sized keyboard uses up almost all of the space available. I had no problems with the touchpad either. Two-finger scrolling proved responsive, and the integrated mouse buttons worked well.
You get a decent selection of ports on the Inspiron 13 5000: two USB 3, one USB 2, HDMI, an SD card reader and 3.5mm headphone/mic jack. Just note the lack of an Ethernet port.
Dell’s Inspiron 13 5000 series 2-in-1 laptops come in four distinct flavours. $799 buys a 2.3GHz Intel Core i3-6100U processor with 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard disk. Choose the $1,099 version and you get a 2.8GHz Core i5-6200U, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. For $1,299 you can have the same Core i5-6200U, but with 8GB memory and a 256GB SSD.
My review sample was the top end model, which costs $1,398 and includes a 3.1GHz Core i7-6500U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. That’s enough firepower to handle most high performance tasks. With an overall score of 49 in our benchmark tests, it’s three points in front of Dell’s XPS 13.
Intel’s HD 520 Graphics helped it to 37.5fps in Dirt Showdown at 1,920 x 1,080 with graphics turned down to Low, so you can play older games at a reasonable speed if you lower your expectations. For example, Minecraft never dipped below 30fps at the medium render distance, but bumping it up to 32 chunks caused frequent frame drops.
Battery life is no more than mediocre, lasting 5hrs 26mins in our continuous video playback test. That’s with the screen brightness set to 170cd/m2, so there’s room to extend life by dimming the display.
If you intend to watch movies, the dual speakers should impress thanks to their effective amount of bass. The Wave Maxx audio-enhancement tools pre-installed on the laptop are also a real help, but you’ll get the best sound when the laptop’s in kickstand mode with the keyboard facing down.
From the design to its surprising turn of speed, it’s a great little laptop for both home and office. It does have some glaring flaws, though, namely display quality and battery life. As with the Inspiron 15 5000 opposite, its closest competitor is the 14.1in Lenovo 700 – but I’d pick the Inspiron 13 5000 out of the two. Its smaller dimensions make it a more natural tablet hybrid than the 15 5000, and the keyboard and build quality are top notch.
Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 Specifications
- Dual-core 3.1GHz Intel Core i7-6500U processor
- 8GB RAM
- Intel HD Graphics 520
- 256GB SSD
- 13.3in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS touchscreen display
- 720p webcam
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2×2 MIMO)
- Bluetooth 4
- 2 x USB 3
- USB 2
- 1yr C&R warranty
- Windows 10 Home
- 325 x 224 x 20.4mm (WDH)