I'm going to save you a lot of time. Do you like how this laptop looks? Does it meet your tight budget? Then buy it. Buy it and never look back.
I've never said that about a laptop before, but the Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 series is truly exceptional. For just $750, these 13- and 15-inch laptops don't merely punch above their price bracket, they do it without removing any of the features you'd want and expect from a PC in 2016.
Update, September 2016: Just don't buy the 17-inch model. The Dell Inspiron 17 7000 isn't nearly as good as its smaller 13 and 15-inch cousins.
To reach a sub-$800 price, PC manufacturers typically cut a lot of corners. This Dell doesn't.
But Dell's new laptop isn't merely competent for less money, it goes above and beyond. This $750 computer is one of the very few with a Windows Hello face-recognizing camera, and it's one of my favorite new features in years.
The camera lets you securely log into Windows with your face just by looking at the screen. Just train the computer to recognize your face (Start -> "Set up face sign-in") and there'll be no need to type passwords when you log into Windows. Because the infrared camera can see in 3D, it can't easily be fooled by a picture of a face: Only the real deal.
It's a shame the camera's a little sluggish to start up -- way slower than the one we tested in Toshiba's pricier Radius 12 late last year -- but it's still faster than typing a password. I use it constantly.
The Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 has two weak points. The first is the terribly-placed power button on the front right edge of the machine. I'm still trying to train myself not to accidentally put the computer to sleep when I pick up this PC.
The second is battery life. I only saw about 6 hours from the 13- and 15-inch models in our standard video streaming playback test, and roughly 4-5 hours of real work. That's not great for a thin-and-light laptop -- in our tests, the best usually muster 8-10 hours of streaming video playback on a charge.
But when it comes to battery, Dell has a killer trick up its sleeve: An optional $100 (AU$180, £110) external battery that plugs right into its USB-C port to keep the laptop running.
I don't have words to describe how much I adore this battery. Not only did it charge up these Dell laptops to 80 percent of their full capacity (an additional 3-4 hours of use), it's got enough amperage that you can fully drain a laptop, plug it into this battery and immediately resume working.
You can even charge the laptop and the external battery at the same time with a single power cord. And when the battery isn't charging a laptop, its two USB ports can top up a pair of tablets or phones.
(You may be able to use a cheaper third-party USB-C battery instead, but I didn't test those.)
There are a few other things you should probably know about the Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1, even though they don't sway my buying recommendation either way.
For years, I've been asking laptop manufacturers to make important features standard -- like solid state drives and 1,920x1,080-pixel screens -- instead of confusing and annoying their customers by charging more to secure the performance they already expect.
Dell is the first company to actually do it, and the result is amazing. It's a laptop I can recommend to practically anyone, sight unseen, without fussing over which specific components they should pick.
A laptop that, for $750, has everything you need.
|Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit) 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2133MHz; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 520; 256GB SanDisk M.2 SSD|
|Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit) 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2133MHz; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 520; 256GB Toshiba SATA600 SSD|
|HP Spectre x360 (13-inch, 2016)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit) 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 520; 256GB SSD|
|HP Spectre x360 (15-inch, 2016)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit) 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 520; 256GB SSD|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 4||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-6300U; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM; 128MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics 520; 256GB SSD|
|Apple MacBook (12-inch, 2016)||Apple El Capitan OSX 10.11.4; 1.2GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1866MHz; 1536MB Intel HD Graphics 515; 512GB SSD|