You'll never find a cheap laptop that doesn't cut corners, but 2014's Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1 came close. For $400, it was one of the very best budget convertibles you could buy. (I know because I tried them all.) Now, Dell's bringing back the 11-inch portable with a new price and some fresh coats of paint: Just $249 (roughly £170) or AUD$599 in your choice of a beautiful blue, red, white, or silvery grey.
Now, you might be a little bit confused. Wasn't this laptop already on sale? Not quite, that was the regular $199 Dell Inspiron 11 3000, which doesn't come with a fancy hinge to let it flip over backwards or a touchscreen display.
But other than those two characteristics, they seem like basically the same machine. Your $250 buys you the same dual-core Intel Celeron processor, paltry 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, low-resolution 1,366x768-pixel screen and a decent 10 hours of manufacturer-estimated battery life with those particular specs. You can also upgrade to 4GB of RAM (which we recommend) or add a faster processor if you're willing to sacrifice some battery life as well as your cash.
So how does it feel? A little cheap, but cheerful, especially in more vibrant colors like the blue and red. At just under 0.8 inches (21mm) thick, it's pretty slim for an entry-level laptop and surprisingly solid too, like something you can trust a kid not to break in a few minutes. The low-resolution screen doesn't dazzle and the hinge feels a little stiff at first, but for the price it seems like a well-built product.
We'll have to spend a good bit more time with the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1 to let you know if it's the new budget laptop champ, but if you were already eyeing the standard Inspiron 11 3000, now you know you can get a touchscreen, too, for an additional $50. It'll go on sale in the US and China on June 2nd.