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Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 Laptop Review: Big, Versatile, and Powerful

If size matters to you, Dell boldly presents the 17-inch convertible you've been looking for.
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Dell was the first company to bring a 17-inch screen to the hybrid laptop market when it launched the original Inspiron 7000 devices in 2016. Since then, it has iterated on the formula, bringing updates to both the form-factor and internal tech.

The Inspiron 17 7000 (model 7786) 2-in-1 is the latest and largest of the three new models launched this year. If you want a highly capable, no-compromise laptop that can also transform into a touch-screen tablet, this 17-inch hybrid device is as big as they come. Even better, despite having the big-screen convertible market to itself, the Inspiron 17 7000 is competitively priced starting at $1,089.

Let's take a closer look at how Dell's newest 17-inch 2-in-1 tackles your unique productivity and lifestyle demands.

Special thanks to Dell for loaning us a new Inspiron 17 7000!

Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 Laptop

Reviewed by Mike Jackson
4.0
    Design 3.6
  • Build Quality 4.0
  • Performance 4.2
  • Cost 4.1
  • Overall Value 4.2

Pros

  • Great for multimedia
  • Super-fast M.2 solid-state drive
  • Full keyboard
  • Bright IPS screen
  • Classy looks

Cons

  • Relatively heavy for a laptop
  • Cooling intakes are easily obstructed
  • Mediocre speakers
  • No 4K screen option
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Dell Inspiron 17 7000 (model 7786) 2-in-1 Specifications

  • 8th-gen Intel Core I7-8565U (up to 4.6GHz)
  • NVIDIA MX150 GPU w/ 2GB VRAM
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS touchscreen display
  • 128GB M.2 SSD + 1TB 5400RPM HDD
  • 802.11 ac WiFi 
  • Fingerprint sensor power button
  • 4-Cell 65Whr battery
  • Ports: HDMI 2.0, USB Type-C 3.1, 2x USB 3.1, SD Card slot, headphone/microphone jack

A Great Multimedia Performer

Dell’s latest update of the Inspiron 7000 line arrived in October, introducing upgrades to all of the bits that matter most. For the 17-inch model, a new 8th-generation Intel Core i7 CPU is featured, with speeds up to 4.6GHz. Essentially, this laptop provides more than enough performance to blister through any of your general daily tasks, both at the office and at home.

Supplementing the new CPU is an NVIDIA MX150, a dedicated graphics processor that makes watching (and editing) 4K videos a breeze. This added power comes in especially handy if you connect the laptop to a 4K TV or monitor as a media playback device. Working with high-resolution photos and videos is no problem, and it's even capable enough to play modern PC games, if you're so inclined. I tested Fortnite (yes, that game you just can't seem to escape) and it played very smoothly.

Movies and TV shows look excellent on the bright, 17.3-inch screen thanks to IPS pixels, which is among the newest screen technologies that delivers crisp, vibrant colors even at extreme viewing angles. Watching a movie in tablet or tent mode while wearing a good set of headphones is almost like having your own personal theater.

While games and movies shine on the massive screen, the native 1080p resolution isn't quite as pin-sharp as the most popular dedicated tablets on the market, like the Apple iPad. Most of the time, you won't notice any issues, but when using the Inspiron 17 7000 in tablet mode (with the screen closest to your face) you might spot some pixelation in certain types of text. Unfortunately, the option to upgrade to a 4K display is restricted to the 13- and 15-inch models, leaving the 17-inch model — which is the best candidate for a 4K screen — with only a Full HD panel.

It's worth noting that the Inspiron 17 7000 still sports the same thick bezels as its predecessor, which adds bulk to the entire device, while its smaller siblings received new, thinner borders around the screen. Also, the largest 2-in-1 in the series is the only one that lacks support for Active Pens — a potential deal-breaker for digital artists.

All Bases Covered

The laptop itself features a clean aesthetic that benefits from a tasteful silver finish and polished accents for extra flair, along with a web cam that's nicely hidden above the screen. Overall, the design feels focused on convenience and ease of use. Take the new fingerprint sensor, for example. It's fast and responsive, and a perfect update for those of you who struggle with all those pesky passwords. Once you've tried it, this is a feature you won't want to live without.

One of the best updates to this year's model, though, is the addition of a new M.2 solid-state drive option. M.2 is the latest and greatest standard for speedy PC storage, and allows the laptop to boot up in mere seconds while also enabling near-instant access to your files and applications. Bear in mind that the 128GB M.2 drive is a $100 option (increasing the base price to $1,189), but considering the vast improvements it brings to every aspect of the user experience, I'd say it's a must-have. And don't let the small storage capacity deter you — the M.2 is just for the Windows operating system and your most frequently accessed applications. Everything else can be loaded onto the large 1TB traditional hard drive that's also included.

In terms of accessibility, Dell maintained the inclusion of a full-sized HDMI port, which is convenient for connecting to a TV without the hassle of buying add-ons or converters. It also features a USB Type-C port, which can be used to charge the device while also outputting video to a modern USB-C monitor. Two additional standard USB 3.1 ports, an SD Card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack round out the list of conventional ports.

Read More: Dell 27-inch Ultrathin Monitor Review

Size Matters

While some might argue that a 17-inch form-factor is too big for a laptop/tablet hybrid, there are benefits to having the largest model in the Inspiron series besides that cinema-like screen. The spacious frame allows for a hefty power cell, resulting in great battery life — I was able to stream a two-hour movie and then achieve several hours of productivity before needing to recharge.

Also, the inclusion of a comfortably-spaced keyboard with a full number pad makes for a no-compromise typing experience. The keys are well-positioned and suitably clicky, much like Apple's premium MacBooks, and I had no trouble typing thousands of words on it.

Even with the full-sized keyboard, the Inspiron 17's large stature leaves plenty of space to either side, but Dell missed an opportunity to place speakers there — instead, they're located on the bottom of the device. And while this isn't an issue in tablet mode, when used as a traditional laptop, the speakers can be blocked if the Inspiron 17 is placed on your lap or any cushioned surface. This is also the case for the air intakes that are positioned on the bottom. In general, a smooth flat surface is the best place to use the Inspiron in its traditional configuration.

Should You Buy the Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 Laptop?

The new Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 laptop is an intriguing thing — its size can be rather daunting at first when trying to use the 360-degree hinge. And yet, once it’s found a home on your desk in tent mode, with a movie in full-swing, you really start to appreciate the large screen and versatility. It’s also competitively priced for a powerful convertible that has little — if any — direct competition.

There are some minor caveats, though, which I've mentioned throughout the review. In particular, the 17-inch model misses out on a number of significant upgrades and features (like 4K resolution, smaller bezels, and Active Pen support) versus the smaller Inspiron 2-in-1 models. And because of that, the Inspiron 17 feels a bit dated. You should also consider that, in general, 2-in-1 laptops tend to price higher than their traditional clamshell-only counterparts. So, if you can forego the convertible functionality altogether, similar performance can be had for significantly less cost, both from Dell itself and from its competitors.

With that said, the Inspiron 17 7000 is still truly a unique player in the market. Clean looks and a full-sized keyboard make it a great office laptop, while the fast processors are more than enough for all of your media and productivity needs. The reversible hinge, then, is like a hidden talent, offering up interesting ways to enjoy touchscreen web browsing, TV show binging, or casual games.

If your lifestyle specifically demands a large, versatile 2-in-1 device in order to achieve the best possible multimedia and productivity experience, the new Dell Inspiron 17 7000 is absolutely the one to get.

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About the Author
Mike Jackson Contributor

Mike Jackson has been writing for high-profile publications for 16 years, primarily in the video game industry, but also covering tech. Mike is an obsessed video game hoarder with hundreds of games spanning a 30-year collection. An entire room in his house is dedicated to Super Mario, and he thinks the Nintendo Switch is “the best invention in human history.” Counseling may be necessary.


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