Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series review: Upscale looks at a reasonable price

There are currently only two configurations available for the 14 7000 Series. Reviewed here is the $849.99 base model, which includes a fourth-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM, a 500GB, 5,400rpm hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 4400. For $1,099.99 you can bump the processor up to a Core i7-4500U processor and get 8GB of memory, but everything else stays the same.

For the most part, that's fine, but the option to switch the hard drive to a hybrid drive or to a solid-state drive would've been nice. However, the laptop's bottom panel is easy enough to remove, giving you easy upgrade access to the hard drive. What you can't do is add more memory, so if you think you'll need the additional 2GB of RAM, you'll need to spend the extra money for the $1,099.99 configuration.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Performance and battery life
With the $850 configuration, you should expect to get through daily tasks and entertainment with relative ease. It can handle multitasking like streaming music or video in the background while you do basic photo editing or Web surfing without feeling sluggish.

That said, the slow-spinning hard drive doesn't do it any favors when booting up, loading software, or opening large files. Again, it's not exactly slow, but compared with the solid-state drive (SSD)-based laptops I've tested, you can feel a difference. Fortunately, it does wake from sleep in just a couple seconds.

The integrated graphics are good enough for casual gaming and viewing full HD video. For more demanding PC games, you'll need to reduce settings to get playable frame rates. There is no option for discrete graphics with the 14 7000, but a midrange 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 750M is available on the Inspiron 15 7000 and 17 7000 models.

Dell quotes a battery life of up to 8 hours and 52 minutes for the Inspiron 14 7000. In CNET's video playback drain test it reached 6 hours and 28 minutes, which is good, but behind some similarly configured laptops we've tested.

For general office work and wireless Web use, it should have no problem getting past the 7-hour mark. Still, I wouldn't expect to reach that nearly 9 hours of battery life without some serious power management.

Conclusion
Superthin, aluminum-clad laptops tend to be up around the $1,000 mark right now. The Dell Inspirion 14 7000 comes in a bit under that while giving you a 1080p touch screen, backlit keyboard, and good performance and battery life. All things considered, it's well priced for what you're getting, I enjoyed using it, and it's small enough for travel, even with its larger screen size.

QuickTime and iTunes multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series
441
Acer Aspire V7
489

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire V7
240
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series
273

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire V7
106
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series
124
HandBrake MMT (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series
476
Acer Aspire V7
587

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Acer Aspire V7
475
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series
388

Find out more about how we test Windows laptops.

System configurations:

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series
Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 1,792MB (shared) Intel HD Graphics 4400; 500GB 5,400rpm Seagate hard drive

Acer Aspire V7
Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-4500U; 12GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 4GB (dedicated) Nvidia GeForce GT 750; 1TB 5,400rpm Western Digital hard drive

Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite
Windows 8.1 (64-bit) 1GHz AMD A4 Quad-Core; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 8250; 128GB Samsung SSD

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 1,792MB Intel HD Graphics 4400; 128GB Samsung SSD

What you'll pay

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

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    Where to Buy

    Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Touch (2013)

    Part Number: DNCWA1329S
    Pricing is currently unavailable.

    Quick Specifications

    • Installed Size 6 GB
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