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Dell Precision 15 3510 review


Dell Precision 15 3510 Review

Lighter and thinner is the white whale of the laptop maker right now, unless you re making business devices. While most contemporary laptop designs are obsessed with shedding pounds and inches, business grade laptops like the Lenovo ThinkPad P501 ignore the zeitgeist and focus on power and ports instead. Dell s latest business laptop is the Precision 3510, a sturdy chunk of plastic with some serious internals. Our review unit came with an Intel i7-6820HQ processor, 16GB of memory, a full HD touchscreen, and a 256GB Samsung SM951 solid state drive. The additions bring the total up to £1,750, which is substantial. The i5 configuration starts at £1,000, and it s not hard at all to spend upwards of £2,000. Do the parts live up to the price? Or is this just an overpriced relic from another age, somehow still on the market? And either way, does this design live up to other business laptops on the market right now?

A sturdy black brick

Let s get this out of the way quickly this laptop is not lightweight, and it s not thin. Large business laptops do not aim for that, and the Dell Precision 15 3510 is not an exception. It s just under an inch thick when closed, and weighs nearly five pounds.

Dell Precision 15 3510 Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Dell Precision 15 3510 Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Dell Precision 15 3510 Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Dell Precision 15 3510 Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

So, no one would call this laptop elegant. But it s definitely sturdy. It s a brick. We couldn t flex the lower case much when we tried, and though the display does visibly distort if you grip and twist both sides, it takes a lot of effort. The black plastic chassis has no give, and feels great. There s also plenty of grip on the bottom, so you re not likely to drop the laptop.

Related: Did your last laptop break too soon? Here s where you can find a reliable replacement2

Our only design complaint concerns the screen. This laptop has two bezels. There s a black glass bezel surrounding the touchscreen, then a plastic bezel surrounding that. It s an easy flaw to live with, but it looks out of place in a laptop priced close to £2,000. Overall, though, this laptop boasts sturdy, no non-sense design, which is exactly what business customers are looking for.

Comfortable backlit keyboard

The keyboard on the Precision 3510 is generously sized and includes a numeric keypad. It also looks great, with crisp text on every key, and attractive backlighting. The layout is normal, for the most part, though the Page Up and Page Down keys surround the Up arrow. This might strike some as odd, but is easy to adjust to. And the keys themselves are a pleasure to use. There s not a lot of travel, but every keystroke is crisp. There s plenty of space between keys, meaning you re likely to be accurate. It s a very comfortable setup.

The touchpad is also good. It s small compared to some laptops, but only because Dell left room for two rows of physical buttons below and above. And even within the limited space, the touchpad works well with multi-touch gestures. It feels smooth and responsive. Some users will be delighted to know there s a rubber pointing stick between the g, h, and b keys. This has been common on business-class laptops since IBM s original ThinkPad. We actually think the tubber texture here is a great improvement on the ThinkPad s gritty design (though purists are free to disagree.) Cursor movement was very precise in our tests.

Dell Precision 15 3510 Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

An extra £100 gets you a touchscreen, but we re somewhat confounded as to why. There s no wraparound hinge, and the 3510 is too heavy for tablet use in any case. Why would you want to reach across your keyboard and smudge up your screen? In any case, input was accurate, though the texture of the screen itself leaves something to be desired. Long, smooth movements can be tricky. We suggest you go without this particular option.

Connects to anything

If there s one thing business laptops offer in spades, it s ports. The Dell Precision 15 3510 has three USB 3.0 ports, two on the right side, and one on the back. There s a Thunderbolt 3 port in the USB Type-C form factor. There s an SD card reader and a MicroSD card reader.

This Dell can keep up with you, whatever it is you might do for work. Basically, you can plug anything into this thing. That includes just about any display in existence. The Thunderbolt 3 port works for brand-new displays, but Dell also offers full HDMI and a VGA port. Who needs dongles? There s also a headphone jack.

Finally, we get to network connectivity. There s a wired Ethernet port of the back, and an Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 8260 card offering 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 support.

Related: Buying a laptop: everything you need to know, and maybe a little you don t3

We re surprised they didn t throw in a serial port for good measure.

Great contrast, mediocre colors

The Dell Precision 15 3510 offers four different display choices. The cheapest configuration starts at 1,366 by 768 pixels. For £100 more, you can get a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080, or full HD. Add £100 on top of that and you get the touchscreen, which is what our review unit shipped with.

Dell Precision 15 3510 Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

How did the most expensive display perform? The first thing we checked was the brightness, and our tests showed 322 lux. That s approaching the high end of the market right now, and means that outside usage isn t going to be much of a problem. At least, it wouldn t be if not for the reflective touchscreen, which make usage in direct sunlight impractical. The contrast ratio at full brightness was 680:1, which is pretty good. There are laptops with better quality, like the Microsoft Surface Book4, which has a ratio of 1410:1. But the Precision 3510 compares well to business-class competitors like the Lenovo ThinkPad P50, which reached a 700:1 ranking. Text looks crisp with this kind of contrast ratio, and it s easy to make out shadows and nuance in photos. Your computer will boot almost instantly, and programs load with similar speed.

The display is also perfectly respectable when it comes to color, though not exceptional. With 73 percent of the AdobeRGB standard, the Precision 3510 falls well short of the Thinkpad P50, which offers 96 percent of that same standard. This isn t to say that 73 percent is bad: it s typical in the broader laptop market. For a premium laptop, however, we d like to see better results. Color accuracy was also okay, but not great. We saw an average color error of 1.99, compared to the Ideapad P50 s 0.53 (lower is better). This also falls short of the similarly-priced Surface Book (1.05) and the Dell XPS 155 (1.99). Again, the Precision 15 3510 s result isn t terrible, but it could be better. In subjective use, the display s mediocre qualities are hard to notice. While viewing a trailer for Wonder Woman, we noticed crisp image quality. The decent contrast ratio can provide a vibrant image with a good sense of depth. Colors sometimes looked muted, however, and the reflective screen was a problem when viewing dark scenes.

Work hard, play harder

Surprisingly, the speakers weren t bad. A decent amount of bass gets through, for a laptop anyway, though treble can come out sounding a little tinny. But everything is clear, and you can make out dialogue from across the room clearly. External speakers are recommended as always, but the built in speakers are good enough for occasional usage.

Dell Precision 15 3510 Compared To

A heaping serving of power

Our review unit came with an Intel Core i7-6820HQ processor and 16GB of memory, which is a lot of computing power. How does it stand up to usage? Quite well, at least so far as our tests are concerned. Running Geekbench, we saw a single core score of 3,434 and a multi-core score of 12,861. This is about what you should expect from such a powerful configuration, and closely matches other Core i7 laptops like the Dell XPS 15 and the ThinkPad P50. The multi-core score more than doubles dual-core competitors, like the Surface Book, which again is not surprising. With this kind of power, day-to-day computing should never slow you down in the slightest. Hiccups just don t happen.

Even demanding software runs without issue. We saw a 7-Zip compression benchmark combined score of 19,444, which beats both the Lenovo ThinkPad P50 and the Dell XPS 15. This that number crunching of any kind will be speedy. Still, this is a very powerful laptop. You are not going to experience problems during your workflow, whatever it is you might do for work.

Blazing fast solid state drive

Our review unit came with a 256GB Samsung SM951 solid state drive connected via PCI Express. That s a decent amount of solid state storage, and if you need more, there s up to a terabyte available on the Precision 3510 s configuration page. But how s the speed? Great. Our CrystalDiskMark results showed a read speed of 1,525 megabytes per second, and a write speed of 1,292MBps. That s really fast, though slightly behind the Thinkpad P50 s results of 1,628MBps read and 1,537MBps write.

Still, the Precision 3510 does laps around laptops with SATA SSDs, like the Dell Inspiron 17 7000. There might be faster hard drives available, but this one is by no means going to hold you back. Your computer will boot almost instantly, and programs load with similar speed. Large files open within seconds, making this Dell a good candidate for editing huge photos or high-quality video.

Gaming is business too, right?

Our review unit shipped with AMD Firepro W5130M graphics, a dedicated solution designed with reliability and compute performance in mind. It s mid-range card, but it should offer a great deal more power than any laptop with on-board graphics. And our tests showed that it does. The Precision 3510 scored 1,958 on the Fire Strike test in 3DMark, which closely matches laptops like the Surface Book and the Dell Inspiron 17 70006. This result falls well short of the Dell XPS 15, however, and the Lenovo Thinkpad P50, both of which sport more powerful graphics cards. With this kind of power, you can expect modern games to run well at low to medium settings. Actually firing up some games confirmed this.

Blizzard s Heroes of the Storm, at its lowest settings, gave us a framerate of 123 frames per second, which is perfectly smooth. Crank the settings up to maximum, however, and you get 38 FPS, which is playable but not ideal. Counter Strike: Global Offensive was similar. On the lowest settings, we saw 106FPS; on the highest, 32FPS. Basically, you can game on this laptop, if you re willing to turn the settings down.

Expect to do some lifting

As we keep saying, portability was not a core design goal here. It shouldn t surprise you to hear, then, that we didn t love carrying it around. This laptop fit in a messenger bag without issue, but it became tiring, fast. Five pounds wasn t a terribly heavy laptop a decade ago, but today it really stands out. Even with its strong performance, battery life is amazing.

But all that weight pays off, as you saw above, because there s plenty of power offered. Even better all that power doesn t drain the battery too quickly. Our Peacekeeper battery test showed five hours and 44 minutes of battery life. The Lenovo ThinkPad P50, for contrast, gave us just three hours and ten minutes during that same test. Our web browser loop, where a collection of popular websites are loaded continuously, gave us five hours and fifty minutes of battery life, which suggests you can browse the web for quite a while on one charge. Watching movies is even better. Our video loop test gave us nine hours and 46 minutes of battery life. Getting this kind of battery life, with this kind of power, is amazing. We re willing to put up with the extra weight if that s what it takes. Even if our sore shoulders temper our enthusiasm.

Getting hot in here

This kind of power requires some serious heat management, and you ll be hearing the fans. Still, they re not too loud. The highest volume we could detect was 43.8 decibels, which was just barely louder than the ambient sound of our office. Those fans seem to be doing their job, for the most part. The hottest temperature we could detect on the surface while running benchmarks was 124.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Oddly, the temperature was only in one place: the upper-left corner of the bottom of the laptop. The warmest temperature we found anywhere else was 103.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dell Precision 15 3510 Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

That high temperature is in line with the Dell XPS 15, but a good 20 degrees hotter than most laptops we ve reviewed recently. It s not hot enough to be dangerous, but when you ve got this laptop on your knees you re going to notice it.

Choose your own operating system

When you order this Dell, you can choose between Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. Our review unit shipped with Windows 10, which ran very well with the hardware, but it s nice for business users to have more options, especially in legacy IT environments. Linux users will be pleased to know there s a £100 discount available if you opt for Ubuntu 12.04, an ancient version of the most popular Linux distro.

Warranty

The Dell Precision 15 3510 comes standard with three years of pro support and next day onsite service. That s a very generous amount of coverage to begin with, but if you pay more you can tack on a few years and even accident coverage.

Powerful, but not pretty or cheap

The DT Accessory Pack

If power is all that matters to you in a laptop, Dell is offering a pretty compelling package in the Precision 15 3510. It ignores the current obsession for portability and instead focuses on power, and the result is a no-nonsense laptop power users will love. Our review rig cost £1,750, which isn t exactly affordable, but considering the specs and the warranty it s reasonable. This laptop isn t a bargain, but it s not overpriced either. Does the Dell Precision 15 3510 beat the Lenovo ThinkPad P50? That depends what your priorities are. Dell is offering much better battery life, and a more generous warranty, but Lenovo has the better display quality, and the better graphics card. The P50 also looks and feels more worthy of its price tag, while the Dell makes a few missteps, like the strange bezel-within-a-bezel display.

If you re in the market for a business-class laptop, the Dell Precision 15 3510 is well worth considering. It s not cheap, and it s not pretty, but it s powerful and offers great battery life.

References

  1. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad P50 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ Did your last laptop break too soon? Here s where you can find a reliable replacement (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ Buying a laptop: everything you need to know, and maybe a little you don t (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ Microsoft Surface Book (www.digitaltrends.com)
  5. ^ Dell XPS 15 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  6. ^ Dell Inspiron 17 7000 (www.digitaltrends.com)

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iOS 10 Review: What’s New for iPad


Apple continues adding new features and tweaking old ones with iOS 10. There were a great many changes in iOS 9 for iPad, but the follow up has more to offer iPhone. Still, there definitely are enhancements to benefit those with an iPad Pro1 or iPad mini2. We extensively tested iOS 10, and here are the new or updated features that will mean the most to tablet users. We also catalogued some much needed enhancements that are notably absent.

Split View Safari Tabs

iOS 9 brought much needed support for side-by-side multitasking the ability to display two applications on-screen at the same time. While that was all very well, each app was still limited to a single window. This was especially burdensome in Safari, as people frequently want to display two web pages simultaneously. This limitation began changing with iOS 10. Apple s web browser can now show a pair of sites, with each taking up half the screen. Arranging the two pages on the display is simple go to the list of open browser tabs and drag one to the side of the screen to open it in a second window but this split-view feature is limited only to landscape mode.

IOS 10 Review: What's New For IPad

Split View Safari Tabs in iOS 10

Ending split view is just as easy, but not as intuitive as it could be: Touch and hold on one of the Tabs icons and choose Merge All Tabs. This is a welcome step in the right direction, but now this functionality needs to be extended even further. iOS 11 should give third-party app developers the same feature. iPad users need to be able to work with two Word documents at the same time, for example.

Notification Center

iOS 10 changes the look of the Notification Center, and makes it more functional too. Dragging from the top of the screen brings down a list of recent notifications that now appear in grey boxes with rounded corners. Dragging each of these to the left allows the user to either clear the notification or jump to the application that sent it. A small X button can be used to clear all notifications at once.

From the Recent Notifications page, dragging the screen to the right brings up two columns of widgets. These can be a thumbnail view of the calendar, weather reports, and similar snippets of information.

IOS 10 Review: What's New For IPad

iOS 10 Widgets

An Edit button at the bottom of the left column opens the controls of which settings are displayed, and in which column, and in what order.

Lock Screen

Apple made significant changes to the way people use their tablets before they are even unlocked. First off, Slide to Open has been removed, and just pressing the Home button has taken its place. This simplifies the process considerably, especially as everyone should already be touching this button so their fingerprint can be scanned to unlock the computer.

IOS 10 Review: What's New For IPad

iOS 10 Lock Screen

Before the iPad is unlocked, iOS 10 can show users their newest notifications. They can also respond to these, by dragging the notification to the right. A whole conversation can take place in Messages without ever unlocking the tablet. Dragging down from the top of the Lock Screen brings up a list of other recent notifications. Dragging to the right on the Lock Screen gives quick access to the same widgets displayed in the Notification Center. Anyone who wants to keep private their notifications and the information displayed by these widgets should turn this feature off by going to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode. This is especially important because otherwise anyone can respond to incoming text messages without unlocking the tablet.

Bad news: No current iPad has the motion-sensing chip necessary for Raise To Wake, so it s only users of recent iPhone models that don t have push the Power button to activate their devices.

Control Center

Dragging a finger up from the bottom of the screen still opens a set of controls for toggling WiFi, Bluetooth, etc., but this has received a facelift with iOS 10. It s now split over two screens so everything is less crowded.

IOS 10 Review: What's New For IPad

iOS 10 Control Center

The main screen has the controls for various wireless functions, the backlight, as well as links to the camera and Clock app. Sweeping the finger to the left moves to a second screen that s focused on audio.

Notes Collaboration

The Notes application has been gradually improving in recent iOS versions, and has now acquired collaboration capabilities. Users can notify another person that a note has been shared with them, and then they can both see and make changes. Apple suggests using this for simple jobs, like a family sharing a grocery list, not for a team collaborating on a patent filing.

iMessages

Possibly the most important change in iOS 10 for iPhone users is the improvements to the Messages app. Although instant messaging is done primarily on a phone, that doesn t mean tablet users should overlook it. By turning on Settings > iMessage, conversations happening on a iPhone can also be displayed on an iPad. The larger screen and keyboard make longer conversations easier.

IOS 10 Review: What's New For IPad

iOS 10 iMessage on iPad

Apple added all kinds of fun features to iMessage, like bubble effects which cause texts to swell up, fall onto the screen with a bang, and more. Messages can be handwritten, or moving images can be inserted into conversations like really big emojis. These look better on a tablet than they do on a phone, even an iPhone 7 Plus.

What s Missing

Apple has tried to keep iOS simple, even to the point of leaving out features it doesn t consider necessary. This is why this operating system debuted on the original iPhone without a central file system accessible to users. But what was the right decision in 2007 has since become a serious limitation. iOS 10 is intended to be used by businesspeople on tablets as powerful as laptops, and they need to be able to easily view and manage their files. Last year s iCloud Drive was a step in the right direction, but iOS 10 should have taken it much further. There s another missing feature that s forcing buyers toward Windows-based alternatives: the new iPad Pro series is being positioned as laptop alternatives, and most people aren t yet accustomed to controlling this type of computer with a just a touchscreen. Apple recognized this when it released its Smart Keyboard3, and it s time to take the next step and add a trackpad to this accessory, as well as support for it to iOS. It would be a step backward a touchscreen is better than a mouse but it would increase iPad sales. Plenty of people have been asking for a removable memory card slot in iPad and iPhone for almost a decade, and at this point it s clear Apple isn t ever going to add one. Fortunately, many accessory makers offer very good alternatives, allowing iOS tablets to access microSD cards and flash drives. There are very good alternatives from SanDisk4, Lexar5, Leef6, and more.

Install Now

Split-screen support in Safari is probably the best feature for iPad users, but just about all of the new features in iOS 10 are useful, and others are fun. Some oft requested changes are still missing, though. even so, people are wondering when they should install this onto their tablet. We have been testing the official release version on an iPad Pro7 since it debuted, and so far have encountered no significant problems. Apple s new strategy of allowing anyone who s curious to install iOS betas appears to have resulted in a final release version that s more stable than iOS 9 was when it debuted. That said, there have been a few small bobbles. Anyone feeling very cautious might wait for Apple to introduce iOS 10.1.

References

  1. ^ iPad Pro (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  2. ^ iPad mini (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  3. ^ Smart Keyboard (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  4. ^ SanDisk (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  5. ^ Lexar (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  6. ^ Leef (www.tabletpcreview.com)
  7. ^ iPad Pro (www.tabletpcreview.com)

>

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (2016) review


Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (2016) Review

There s no getting around it a 17-inch hybrid laptop that weighs six pounds is a little absurd. But when Dell releases a line of laptops, usually they release it in every form factor. So why wouldn t the 7000 line of Inspiron 2-in-1s grow all the way out to 17 inches? So now we have the Dell Inspiron 17 7000, a 2-in-1 laptop with specs that match its outsized form factor. Our review model came with a Core i7-6500, 16GB of memory, NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics, both a 128GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, and a 17.3-inch full HD display. All that can be yours for £1,150. If you re willing to settle for a Core i5 processor and 12GB of memory, you can grab the base model for £900. If that sounds like a lot of money, then you probably haven t looked at 17-inchers recently. Though once common, they re now a dying breed. Those that remain are typically marketed at gamers, and £1,500 is a common starting point. This positions the Dell Inspiron 17 7000 as an affordable large laptop, to the degree that such a thing is possible. The touch screen and the reversible hinge is just a bonus.

Related: Top 17-inch laptop bags for gamers, professionals and photographers1

But is Dell cutting corners to deliver that price point? And can such a massive laptop work as a tablet in even the most basic sense? We decided to find out.

Like butter over too much bread

So far as we can tell, this laptop simply takes Dell s Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-12, and makes it bigger. There s the same generic brushed aluminum, the same wraparound hinge, even the same keyboard. The result is mostly fine, but it occasionally feels like the design is stretched too thin. For example it doesn t seem like the case can quite handle six pounds of weight. We were consistently able to cause the touchpad to click by flexing the case, and it sometimes happened just by picking up the laptop with the left hand. This is worrying, and makes us wonder how long this laptop will hold up to constant handling. The backing behind the display, while thick, doesn t stop the large display from flexing, and you can distort the screen s display a bit by doing this.

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (2016) Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (2016) Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (2016) Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (2016) Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The laptop is .9 inches thick while closed, which is fairly thin for a laptop this large. But that s nowhere near thin or light enough to be usable as a tablet. Which brings us to the wraparound hinge. It works, and is steady once set, but we wouldn t recommend using the Inspiron 17 7000 on a couch. Six pounds is a lot of weight, for one thing, and a 17-inch display is way too much screen to hold close to your face. This is a tablet in the biblical sense, by which we mean we can picture Moses struggling to carry it down Mount Sinai. So yeah conventional tablet usage is out. But if you reverse the screen and set the unit down on a table, you can spend some time playing touch-compatible games. You could set up chess on it, or maybe air hockey. And it s nice to have the option to occasionally browse the web with your fingers. Dell claims this is how the device is meant to be used. It s less of a traditional tablet and more like a small all-in-one.

Related: The top eight laptop-buying mistakes3

But that s just us dreaming up uses. We re not convinced people are going to end up using this giant computer as a tablet, or even taking advantage of the touch screen, very often. It s mostly a gimmick. Fortunately the Inspiron, though, is affordably priced, and there s nothing available to compete with it.

Shouldn t the keyboard be bigger?

There s a lot of room for Dell to work with here, keyboard-wise. The laptop is 16.25 inches wide and 11 inches deep, meaning there s nearly enough room for a full-fledged desktop keyboard. Instead, Dell has allowed a small keyboard to drown in empty space. There s an inch and a half of brushed aluminum to the right and left of the keyboard, and nearly two inches between the display and the top row of keys. So far as we can tell, Dell took the keyboard from the much smaller Inspiron 13 7000, added a numeric keypad, and centered everything as best it could. Which isn t to say this is a tiny keyboard. It s about normal for a laptop. But the Dell Inspiron 17 7000 isn t a normal laptop it s huge. With so much extra space to work with, we re not sure why Dell didn t add bigger keys. Day-to-day usage never slows the laptop s Core i7.

The keyboard isn t all bad. There s a satisfying amount of feedback with every keystroke, and it s never unclear if you ve hit a key or not because of generous spacing. And the keys are backlit, making them easy to use in a dark room. The touchpad feels about the right size, and supports multi-touch gestures. Die-hard traditionalists will enjoy the clearly-defined left- and right-click areas, but modernists can tap with two fingers if they prefer. The texture is just a little bit grittier than we d like, but it s nothing users can t get used to. Then there s the giant touch screen. The glass is smooth, and input is recognized consistently. We re not sure users will reach over their keyboard to use it very often, if only because of how far of a reach it is, but it is quite satisfying to use when you get around to it.

Every type of USB port

There s a lot of room for ports on the side of this laptop, but Dell kept things simple. There are three USB ports one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, and one USB Type-C port. An HDMI port lets you connect external displays, and there s a headphone jack for your audio needs. There s also an SD card reader. Wireless Internet is offered by the Intel AC 3165 dual-band wireless card, which offers 802.11ac connectivity. Bluetooth 4.2 is also supported.

Full HD spread over 17 inches

This 17.3-inch screen display offers a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, or 1080p. It s not uncommon for smartphones to offer full HD at this point, so a 17-inch laptop could easily offer a higher pixel density. What you can t fault the laptop for is brightness. We measured a maximum brightness of 326.9 lumens, which is enough for all indoor conditions. Outdoor usage might be a problem, but only direct sunlight.

We measured a contrast ratio of 600:1, which is respectable if not exceptional. For context, this beats out the ThinkPad Yoga X1 s score of 400:1 but falls short of the Surface Book4 s 1410:1 rating. This means text will never be hard to make out, and shadows in movies and photos are fairly well defined. Colors weren t a problem, either. We found the system can render 71 percent of the AdobeRGB standard, which is again is perfectly adequate, if not exceptional. The Dell XPS 155 is the standard here, with 98 percent, but very few laptops score that high. The Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 s average color error was 2.67, which is again okay, but not class-leading.

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (2016) Compared To

Subjectively, the screen s respectable scores made for pleasant viewing. While watching the trailer for the latest Bourne film, we never found it hard to make out the action, even in darker scenes. The few colors that trailer provides came through strongly, too. For a little bit more brightness, we turned to National Geographic s photos of the day, and found forests and deserts alike looking vibrant. The only noticeable distract was the system s pixel density. Fine details sometimes looked jagged or boxy. The speakers are good, but not great. Placing them on the bottom mean audio is best when the laptop is sitting on a hard surface, but even then it can be hard to make out kick drums and basslines at all but the highest volumes. The speakers do get plenty loud, though you can expect things to distort a little when you crank it up.

Big laptop, big power

Our review model came equipped with a Core i7-6500 processor. This dual-core chip offers a 4M cache and a clock speed of up to 3.10GHz. Dell supplemented it with a whopping 16GB of memory. That s a fair deal of power, but how does it perform? Our Geekbench tests gave us a single core score of 3,380 and a multi-core score of 6,986. This closely matches the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga X1 and the Microsoft Surface Book, both of which use a similar processor. The multi-core performance falls short of quad-core wielding laptops like the Dell XPS 15, which scored 13,151 on the multi-core test. With this kind of processing power, day-to-day usage is never going to slow you down. Web browsing, writing, photo editing, and everything else was buttery smooth on this machine. Even number crunching wasn t much of a problem, as our 7-Zip combined score of 9,357 makes clear.

Related: After years of stumbling, 2-in-1 laptops will finally find their stride in 20166

Still, there are tasks that seemed to trip this laptop up. Converting a 4K movie trailer took 36 minutes, which is pretty slow for an i7 processor. The Surface Book was almost 10 minutes faster than that. Other than that hiccup, we didn t find much that slowed this laptop down. There s a lot of processing power here, far more than enough for day-to-day usage.

Two drives one laptop

There were two hard drives in our review model a 128GB Sandisk Z400S solid state drive, and a 1TB Toshiba mechanical hard drive. Offering two drives means you get both the speed of a solid state for running your software, and the cheap storage capacity of a mechanical drive for storing your data. But how fast are these drives? Testing the SSD, we saw a read speed of 469.9 megabytes per second, which is around normal for a SATA SSD. The write speed of 184MBps was downright sluggish, however.

Laptops with PCIe drives, instead of SATA ones, easily beat these scores. The Surface Book, for example, offers read speeds of 1,003MBps and write speeds of 891.6MBps. But the Inspiron 17 7000 s write speed is slow even by SATA standards. The ThinkPad Yoga X1, which we tested with a SATA drive, offers a read speed of 445MBps. The operating system was installed on the solid state drive, meaning that booting and opening programs was fast. Saving large files to this drive, however, won t be much faster than saving to a mechanical drive. And if you re working with large files, you re probably going to save them to the mechanical drive anyway. We saw an average read and write speed of 114MBps on this second hard drive. That is average for a mechanical drive, but considering it s a second drive we can t complain too much.

Overall, hard drive performance won t slow you down too much unless you re saving a large file. Then, things might get a little slow.

Game a little bit

The Inspiron 17 7000 has an Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics card. That s a mid-range laptop card, but it offers considerably more power than onboard graphics. Our 3Dmark tests confirmed this. The Dell s Fire Strike score of 1,876 is respectable for a non-gaming laptop. The Surface Book, for example, scored 778 with its onboard graphics. At the same time, the Inspiron 17 7000 scored well below devices like the Zenbook UX 5017, which scored 3,995 thanks to its more powerful GTX 960M card.

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (2016) Review

With results like this, you can expect to do a little gaming. But how much?

Heroes of the Storm ran admirably at the lowest settings, giving us 90 frames per second at full HD. That s well above the playable threshold of 60FPS. At the highest settings we saw 36FPS, which is not.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on its lowest settings gave us 143PFS, which is extremely smooth. On the highest settings, we received 50FPS, which is just short of the typical goal of 60FPS. You can make modern games run on this laptop, and if you turn down the settings they ll run well. It s not a gaming laptop, but it ll handle many popular games without issue.

Probably won t fit in your bag

This is a six-pound laptop, which isn t exactly lightweight. And at 16.25 inches wide and 11 inches deep, we couldn t fit this laptop into our messenger bag. You re going to need a fairly large backpack just to carry this laptop around, and it will weigh you down considerably if you ve got a lot of walking to do. And wherever you go, make sure you bring your power cable. The Dell Inspiron 17 7000 sports a 56 watt-hour, 4-Cell Battery, but running all its powerful hardware can eat through that without much difficulty. Our Peacekeeper test, where we run a series of browser-based benchmarks until the battery dies, gave us three hours and four minutes of life. That s okay for a laptop this powerful, but not great. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga8, for comparison s sake, gets four hours and 48 minutes. Samsung s Notebook 9 Pro9, with hardware more on the Dell s level, saw three hours and five minutes.

Our web browsing loop gave us three hours and 12 minutes, which is in line with the first result. And our video loop, which usually lasts longer, gave us five hours and 50 minutes. So, you can probably watch a couple movies without the battery dying, which is nice. But you re going to be limited if you want to browse the web. While its result is typical of a large laptop, we have tested some that beat the Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 by a fair amount. Acer s Predator 1710 gaming laptop, for example, lasted almost six hours in our web browsing test.

Playing it cool

The Dell Inspiron 17 7000 is cooled by fans, and you can expect to hear them. Running a CPU-intensive benchmark, the fan was audible but hard to detect over the 39.1 decibels of ambient noise in the room. Running a graphically intense benchmark, however, the fan ramped up, and we detected 44.1 decibels. There are louder laptops on the market than this, but the Dell Inspiron 17 7000 isn t silent, either.

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 (2016) Review

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

That fan seems to be doing the job, though. Running idle, the warmest spot we could find on the back of the laptop was 81.8 degrees, which is barely even warm to the touch at room temperature. Running a graphics benchmark, things heated up over 20 degrees to 102.3, which is warm but not uncomfortably so. You can set this computer on your lap without it feeling too hot.

One-year limited warranty

The Dell Inspiron 17 700 comes with a one-year limited warranty. If you want more coverage, there s the option to pay up to £230 extra for four years of premium support.

Conclusion

If you deeply desire a 17-inch laptop with a reversible hinge, we re pretty sure this is your only option. Enjoy.

The DT Accessory Pack

Even if the touchscreen doesn t interest you, this is a very capable 17-inch laptop at a relatively low price point. Asus ROG11 G751 offers similar specs for £1,050, but it s heavier, focused on gaming, and doesn t have a solid state drive. MSI s GS Series12 is also competitive, but costs £100 more than the Inspiron 17 7000. If a 17-inch screen is a must-have feature for you, and you want a low price point, Dell s offering is compelling. We recommend you consider something smaller, though. The Dell Inspiron 17 7000 is unwieldy, has limited battery life, and isn t of much use as a tablet. It also suffers slow solid state drive write speeds, an issue similar devices we ve tested do not share. The 17-inch laptop has become a niche for a reason. Slapping a huge screen on a laptop demands compromise.

The Dell Inspiron 17 7000, ultimately, is a stretched out version of a less expensive, smaller laptop. The result is more of a novelty than anything else. If that s what you want, go for it but make sure you ve considered the problems with toting a 17-inch laptop everywhere you want to go.

References

  1. ^ Top 17-inch laptop bags for gamers, professionals and photographers (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ The top eight laptop-buying mistakes (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ Surface Book (www.digitaltrends.com)
  5. ^ Dell XPS 15 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  6. ^ After years of stumbling, 2-in-1 laptops will finally find their stride in 2016 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  7. ^ Zenbook UX 501 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  8. ^ Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (www.digitaltrends.com)
  9. ^ Samsung s Notebook 9 Pro (www.digitaltrends.com)
  10. ^ Acer s Predator 17 (www.digitaltrends.com)
  11. ^ Asus ROG (www.newegg.com)
  12. ^ MSI s GS Series (www.newegg.com)

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