Having a laptop that doubles as a tablet has become increasingly attractive, especially as the 2-in-1 laptop market has become more affordable. With the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1, affordability is the name of the game. Even the entry-level model, which is what we have been testing, has enough processing power for most users.
Keep in mind, there are some corners cut when lowering the price of any product. One such corner with the Inspiron 13 7000, the 7373 specifically, happens to be battery life – and, to some extent, build quality.
Price and availability
Starting at $799 in the US, the Inspiron 13 7373 comes with an 8th generation Intel i5 Core processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Customers can tailor the configuration, all the way up to $1,149 with an 8th generation Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
The same approach is used in the UK and Australia, with starting prices of £849 and AU$1,698, respectively. Once again, you can customize the internals of the Inspiron 13 7373, loading it up with 8th generation Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD, or any combination of components in between.
The versatility of being able to add more memory, a faster processor or more storage is convenient and appreciated.
For those looking for a 4K UHD display, you won’t find one on the 13-inch model. Instead, Dell has limited the higher-resolution screen to the bigger Inspiron 15 model.
While it’s not as light and thin as the HP Spectre x360, the Inspiron 13 is smaller than the Surface Book 2 and the Yoga 920, but only slightly. Weighing 3.2 pounds and measuring 12.2 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches, the Inspiron 13 puts portability first. Two hinges hold the screen in place, whether it’s in standard laptop, tent or tablet orientation.
Front and center on the Inspiron 13 is an indicator light. The light’s placement is helpful in that it’s often easier to see the front of a laptop when it’s on a desk or in a bag, and can help you quickly judge how much battery life is left.
There’s a myriad of ports on the Inspiron 13, including a lone USB-C port, HDMI, USB 3.0 and a 3.5mm audio jack on the left side. Opposite of those ports is another USB 3.0 and an SD card reader. The bottom of the laptop is covered in a series of elongated fan vents and small speaker grilles.
Upon opening the lid, the bright, 13.3-inch narrow-border FHD (1,920 x 1,080) touch display catches your eye. The bezels surrounding the display are small, and allow Dell to shrink the overall size of the laptop without compromising the screen size. Swipes and taps on the display are recognized and incredibly smooth.
Just above the display is an FHD webcam with infrared (IR) for facial recognition with Windows Hello, which unlocks the Inspiron 13 rather fast.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Inspiron 13 keyboard is rather basic, for better or worse. The keys are stiff and provide a reassuring feeling each time one is pressed. The top row of shortcut keys provide media playback controls, along with volume and brightness controls.
The touchpad is something we struggle with. As with most touchpads, the lower-right corner is dedicated to act as a right-click when pressed. However, the area where a right-click is triggered is a mystery.
At times, we can press nearly half-way up on the right side of the touchpad, expecting a standard left-click, and instead a right-click is triggered. Outside of that annoyance, the touchpad works as one would expect. Gestures and swipes are quick and easy to trigger.
Stylus not included
Unfortunately, a Dell Active Pen is not included with the Inspiron 13 7373. We were unable to test the display’s prowess with any sort of stylus, despite supporting Windows Ink and similar programs.
Users can purchase the Dell Active Stylus Pen for $49 (about £35, AU$62). Frankly, a stylus should be included in the box for how much the laptop itself costs, as it’s arguably a crucial piece of the product offering.
The Inspiron 13 7373’s configuration is impressive, especially when you consider the price. During the past week, we’ve used and tested the Inspiron 13, coming away rather impressed.
The Intel Core i5-8250, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD can’t quite keep up with the Surface Book 2’s performance, but that’s to be expected considering the Surface Book 2’s internals. The Yoga 920 compares more favorably with the Inspiron 13, in spite of a beefier spec sheet.
In particular, the Inspiron 13 and the Yoga 920 scored similarly on the 3DMark Sky Diver benchmark (4,112 vs 4,451, respectively). The same came be said about the Cinebench, Geekbench 4, and the PCMark 8 Home tests – scores between the two laptops are within just a few hundred points of one another.
Strong performance in benchmarks is noticeable in everyday use as well. We find apps to launch fast and perform lag-free on this 2-in-1 laptop. Even when using multiple tabs in Chrome, we don’t experience any sort performance hiccups.
In other words, even though it may not look evenly matched to better-equipped systems on paper, the Inspiron 13 7373 is a fully capable 2-in-1 laptop. Expect to be able to achieve a common to moderate workload with this device, i.e. word processing, serious web browsing and seamless video streaming.
Easily the most disappointing aspect of the Inspiron 13 7373 is its battery life. Neither of our benchmarks — PCMark 8’s battery test, and our movie test — were able to reach half of Dell’s promised 8 hour 20 minute battery life.
In fact, the PCMark test was just shy of two hours total. Granted, the 38 watt-hour battery inside this 2-in-1 laptop suggests less than all-day battery life, but it would be nice to get closer to Dell’s far loftier estimate.
For reference, this laptop would struggle to get through most coast-to-coast flights across the US, Australia and western Europe. That’s not a great look for the mobile professional or globe-trotting civilians.
Features and software
Dell has taken a somewhat heavy-handed approach to preloading software on the Inspiron 13. Between McAfee, and seven different Dell-related applications, there’s a lot of unnecessary bloat on the Inspiron out of the box.
Outside of the pre-loaded software, the rest of the software experience is pretty vanilla. With the gamut of Windows 10 apps and services without any extra layers or redundant software.
The Inspiron 2-in-1 laptop may not look incredibly fancy, but its looks are deceiving. Windows Hello worked well with the IR webcam, and its price point combined with performance make it incredibly attractive.
The touchpad is way too finicky for our liking, and battery life is a disappointment. Also, we’re not fans of the stylus being an optional upgrade. Such accessories should be part of the core conceit of the product.
There’s always some give and take when it comes to finding an affordable laptop, and the Dell Inspiron 13 7373 2-in-1 is no different. It’s portable, powerful, but lacking all day battery life.
For that reason, we’ve awarded this laptop 3.5 stars. While the Dell Inspiron 13 7373 2-in-1 is a fine performing device, you’ll be forced to ask yourself tough questions regarding its value and whether what’s lacking here matters to you, and if so by how much.