Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY Review
The latest Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY , a midrange 2-in-1 convertible-hybrid laptop, flaunts new features that slice a niche for it at the top of the class. Last year’s Dell Inspiron i7359-8404SLV was one of the few, reasonably priced laptops with a multimode form factor. At the time, we loved it for a sleek design, good connectivity and solid performance. Dell keeps the same form-factor in the latest Inspiron by maintaining the same 1080p HD touchscreen, dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and adds a USB-C port, quite impressive.
Plus, the system has been upgraded with the latest seventh-generation ‘Kaby Lake’ Intel Core i7 processor and improved overall stability. This, along with stronger overall performance and almost all-day battery life, makes the 13-inch Inspiron i5378 well worth your consideration if all you need is a midrange user’s convertible laptop.
The Inspiron i5378 has a 2-in-1 convertible hybrid design, meaning the screen can be flipped around and used in: Tablet mode as a handheld; Stand mode with the keyboard facing down; and, Tent mode with the hinge up while the keyboard is facing away from you. In all these three modes, the touch screen is placed in the front and center, so you can seamlessly interact with Windows 10 or watch your videos easily. The remaining Laptop mode lets you use the Inspiron as a traditional laptop, with the functionality of a typical clamshell notebook PC. The system’s body, top lid, bottom lid and keyboard deck are finished in a dark gray, while the glossy screen has a black bezel beneath the glass surface.
It measures 0.8 by 12.8 by 8.8 inches (HWD), and weighs 3.4 pounds. It will fit into just about any laptop bag, though not the thinnest as you have systems such as the HP Spectre x360 measuring a svelte 0.5 by 12.0 by 8.6 inches (HWD), and weighs 2.8 pounds. Being light means that you can use the HP Spectre for longer periods in Tablet mode without sacrificing comfort. However, if your work entails holding a PC in one arm for more than an hour, then you’re safe with a detachable hybrid, let’s say something like the Microsoft Surface Book, which has a 1.6-pound tablet that is easily separated from its keyboard case.
Display and Keyboard
An easily accessible keyboard is perhaps the main reasons you’d prefer a 2-in-1 convertible laptop over a detachable or slate tablet, and the Inspiron 13 has a really good one. The backlit keyboard is easy to type on, and its one-piece touchpad is wide enough and well proportioned, with support for multi gestures. This gives it an edge over using a traditional mouse for anyone considering it over the touch screen.
The system’s 13.3-inch touch screen has a 1,920-by-1,080 (full HD) resolution, which is now becoming stand even for low end systems. While a QHD+ (3,200-by-1,800) screen would have been better, 1080p is still perfectly fine if all you do is primarily stream videos from YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix. With a full HD screen, you benefit from extra pixels that give better fidelity for watching 1080p movies, more screen area for viewing web pages, easy editing of PowerPoint presentation layout, or working on Excel spreadsheets.
Connectivity is standard and varied. There is a headphone jack, an HDMI port, one USB-C port, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port and an SD card reader. The inclusion of a USB-C port ensures that the laptop is at par with the industry standard, as we’re seeing it being adopted in more hard drives, smartphones, and laptops. On the downside, all 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 for mice and other slower peripherals. It supports dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless connections.
There’s a 256GB solid-state-drive (SSD) that helps keep boot times quick and ensures snappy performance, and is faster than traditional hard drives. This is certainly enough local storage for anyone who intends on streaming music and videos using a live Internet connection, rather than download and watch later. Still, you can have a couple of them downloaded to the system, and it can as well accommodate a good number of photos and documents. 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), which is enough upgradability for a hybrid convertible.
Powered by a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor (3.5 GHz), 8GB system memory and Intel HD Graphics 620, this system suffices for anyone in the market for a versatile, yet portable notebook for school and work. These features tell us that the system will remain relevant for a few more years before it starts to feel slow. Also, the fact that you can upgrade the memory makes the Inspiron 13 future proof as websites and programs are being designed with background processes that can easily tax performance. For daily use, it will deftly handle multi-tab browsing, allow you stream in Full HD, and a couple of other light productivity tasks.
Like most of the convertible-hybrid laptops we’ve seen, the Dell i5378-7171GRY relies on integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics card, which is more than enough for browsing the Web and streaming media, but struggles when dealing with 3D gaming. If you need a gaming rig, a 2-in-1 may not be a perfect fit, perhaps you can check out the conventional gaming rigs such as the Acer Aspire VX 15 with its 16GB memory, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 105 Ti gaming card combined with a 256GB SSD.
Battery life is good but not outstanding, at 6 hours 24 minutes, on our tests. You can certainly spend almost all day (more than 6 hours) away from a power outlet, and that enough time to get through a business presentation or a few episodes of Game of Thrones, but the HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx, the Surface Book, and the Lenovo Yoga 910 all yield from 14 to 21 hours.
The Bottom Line
So why should you consider the Dell Inspiron i5378-7171GRY? There are plenty of reasons, ranging from a solid, sleek construction and excellent build quality to cool performance and a little bit of extras including connectivity. It is a perfect choice if you’re buying a first hybrid-convertible, or buying a Windows notebook for your senior or undergrad student. While the 256GB SSD is irksome now, you can easily expand the storage and an SD card reader comes handy as well. Ultimately, for a compact form factor and solid overall performance, this 13-inch system should definitely be on your radar.