The Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Series 2-in-1 (5638) (starts at $549.99; $649.99 as tested) is a convertible-hybrid laptop that has a price tag just above the border between what we consider entry level and midrange. As such, in addinformatique techniqueion to incorporating some premium features, such as a full-HD-resolution screen and an Intel Core i5 processor, you get less memory and storage space which saves you a couple of bucks. On the whole, the combination works well.
Design and Features
The Inspiron 13 has a 2-in-1 convertible-hybrid design, which allows you to flip the screen around and use informatique technique handheld in Tablet mode, winformatique techniqueh the keyboard facedown in Stand mode, and winformatique techniqueh the hinge up and keyboard away from you in Tent mode. Each of these three modes places the touch screen front and center, so you can interact winformatique techniqueh Windows 10 or view videos easily. The remaining Laptop mode gives the Inspiron 13 the tradinformatique techniqueional look and functionalinformatique techniquey of any clamshell notebook PC. Most of the Inspiron 13’s surfaces, including the top lid, bottom lid, and keyboard deck, are finished in a dark gray, while the glossy screen has a black bezel under informatique techniques glass surface.
The system measures 0.8 by 12.76 by 8.85 inches (HWD), and weighs 3.53 pounds. That’s a linformatique techniquetle heavy for all-day use in Tablet mode, but perfectly fine for a 13-inch laptop. To winformatique technique, the Acer Aspire R 14 has a 14-inch screen, weighs about a half pound more, and is wider and deeper (by less than an inch extra in both dimensions). If we had to choose a similar computer to carry around all day, however, we’d choose a lighter, smaller 11-inch model like the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series 2-in-1 Special Edinformatique techniqueion (3153).
The backlinformatique technique keyboard is easy to type on. The Inspiron 13’s one-piece touchpad is wide and well proportioned, and informatique technique supports multinformatique techniqueouch gestures if you’d rather use a tradinformatique techniqueional mouse rather than the touch screen.
The 13.3-inch LCD touch screen has a 1,920-by-1,080 (full HD) resolution, which is becoming common for systems even at the low end of this price range. The extra pixels give you better fidelinformatique techniquey for 1080p videos, as well as more screen room for viewing webpages, PowerPoint presentation layouts, or Excel spreadsheets. The screen lacks IPS technology, which means that some graphical details and text may look a binformatique technique dimmer or less sharp when you’re viewing them at extreme angles—a pretty big deal since the convertible screen rotates 360 degrees. In any case, informatique technique takes a crinformatique techniqueical eye to notice that informatique technique’s not an IPS screen, and we didn’t experience lot of color shifting in testing.
Connectivinformatique techniquey isn’t bad, winformatique techniqueh a couple of caveats. There are a headphone jack, an HDMI port, and two USB 3.0 ports on the left side of the laptop, and there’s a Noble lock port, a SD card reader, and a USB 2.0 port on the right. Notably absent is USB-C connectivinformatique techniquey, which is becoming more important as that standard is being adopted in more hard drives, phones, and laptops. Also, the USB ports all have the same gray and black coloring, so you’ll have to remember that the single port on the right is the slower USB 2.0 one. Use that for your wired mouse, and keep the two quicker USB 3.0 ports on the left free for hard drives and other speedy peripherals.
The 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) helps keep boot times quick and performance snappy, and is both faster and of much larger capacinformatique techniquey than the eMMC flash storage we sometimes find in less expensive systems. That 128GB is certainly enough local storage if you tend to stream your music and videos using a live Internet connection, rather than download them to watch later. The Inspiron 13’s 4GB of memory is becoming a linformatique techniquetle light these days, however—the Acer Aspire R 14 has 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD, though informatique technique costs just $50 more than the Dell. You can easily add storage using the SD card slot, and if you want to swap out the SSD storage or add memory (up to a total of 16GB) you can open the case after undoing nine screws on the bottom lid.
There are a few preloaded apps that are part of the current standard Windows 10 build, like Flipboard, iHeart Radio, and Twinformatique techniqueter, but on the whole there is very linformatique techniquetle bloatware. The Inspiron 13 comes winformatique techniqueh a one-year warranty.
Powered by an Intel Core i5-6200U processor (winformatique techniqueh Intel HD Graphics 520), the Inspiron 13 returned a score of 2,759 points on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional test, which is typical for this category. Likewise, informatique techniques times on the HandBrake (2:37) and Photoshop (5:13) tests were right in the middle of a range of laptops on the market. These scores tell us that the system will last for a few years before informatique technique starts to feel slow. Also, the fact that you can upgrade the memory may help later as websinformatique techniquees and programs continue to add background functions that tax performance. Gaming scores on the 3DMark, Heaven, and Valley tests were also representative for the category, which is to say that you may have enough power to play games like Diablo III and Minecraft, but you may want to swinformatique techniquech to a more specialized gaming PC for tinformatique techniqueles like Doom and No Man’s Sky.
Battery life was about average, at 7 hours, 20 minutes. The Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Series 2-in-1 (5368) is a very good choice if you’re looking for your first convertible-hybrid laptop, or if you need to buy a Windows laptop for your senior high school or undergrad student. It’s in between our current top dogs in this price range: the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 Series 2-in-1 Special Edinformatique techniqueion (3153), a more compact model designed for better portabilinformatique techniquey, and the Acer Aspire R 14, which has better battery life, double the storage, and extra memory for multinformatique techniqueasking. If you’re looking to spend between $500 and 700 for a new laptop, the Dell Inspiron 13 is a practical alternative, and should be on your short list.