Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series (2014) review: Very good looks and value, not a lot of choice

The 14-inch, 1,920x1,080-pixel-resolution screen is overall nice, and off-angle viewing is good, with just some loss in brightness off to the sides and none of the inverted colors I've seen on other similarly priced laptops.

Dell used Gorilla Glass for extra screen durability, but it doesn't help glare at all. If you need something that's easily visible in very bright office lighting or daylight outside, you might struggle some with the Inspiron 14 7000.

The Inspiron 14 7000 is lean on ports and connections -- it's more about portability than being a desktop replacement. If you need things like Ethernet or more USB ports built in, you'll have to move up to the larger-screen Inspiron 15 or 17 7000 series models, or step down to the Inspiron 14 5000.

Worth mentioning, too, is that the memory-card slot allows you to put a card in only half way. That means traveling with a card in the slot will likely result in breaking or losing your card.

There is no option for a built-in optical drive on the Inspiron 14 7000 series; you'll have to go up to the 17 7000 series to get one.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Performance and battery life

With the $1,050 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.

The extra 32GB mSATA SSD does seem to help with booting up and loading software, and the system does wake from sleep in just a couple of 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.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

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 7 hours and 43 minutes, which is very good. Depending on what you're doing and with some power management, you could probably eke another hour out before heading to an outlet.

Conclusion

Overall, the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 series is a stylish value for everyday life. I'm disappointed that Dell dropped the 1080p screen from the entry model and that your only option to get it back is to spend at least $200 more. If possible, spend the extra money.

Handbrake Multimedia Multitasking test

Acer Aspire R7
599
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
482
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series (2013)
476
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series
471
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series
455

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series (2013)
273
Acer Aspire R7
268
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
266
Dell Inspiron 14 7000
250
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series
234

Note:

In seconds, shorter bars indicate better performance

Apple iTunes encoding test

Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series (2013)
273
Acer Aspire R7
268
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
266
Dell Inspiron 14 7000
250
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series
234

Note:

In seconds, shorter bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test

Acer Aspire R7
219
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
341
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series (2013)
388
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series
446
Dell Inspiron 14 7000
463

Note:

In minutes, longer bars indicate better performance

System Configurations
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series Windows 8.1 (64.bit); 1.8GHZ Intel Core i5-4500U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1792MB (shared) Intel HD 4400 Graphics; 32GB SSD + 500GB HDD
Acer Aspire R7 Windows 8.1 (64.bit); 1.6GHZ Intel Core i5-4200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel HD 4400 Graphics; 1TB HDD
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Windows 8.1 (64.bit); 1.6GHZ Intel Core i5-4200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1792MB (shared) Intel HD 4400 Graphics; 128GB SSD
Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series (2013) Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-4200U; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1792MB (sharedl) Intel HD Graphics 4400; 500GB HDD
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Series Windows 8.1 (64.bit); 1.8GHZ Intel Core i5-4500U; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GT 750M; 1TB SSHD

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Dell Inspiron 14 7000 - DNCWA1706B

Part Number: DNCWA1706B
Low Price: $1,049.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications

  • Installed Size 8 GB
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