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Dell Inspiron 15 2-in-1 review: A sturdy Windows 11 laptop with impressive mid-range performance

The 360-degree design allows the touchscreen to be used as a tablet, albeit a heavy one

<p>This device has Dell’s renowned build-quality in a convertible form factor</p>

This device has Dell’s renowned build-quality in a convertible form factor

A versatile hybrid laptop powered by decent mid-range specs, Dell’s inspiron 15 2-in-1 was never destined to turn heads. It’s a quietly competent, no-frills device, designed to get on with work without causing too much of a fuss.

That means you’re getting Dell’s renowned build-quality in a convertible form factor. It’s ideal for budget-conscious shoppers as well as students in need of a machine that can handle everyday tasks without slowing down, and can switch into a configuration better suited for watching entertainment on the go.

The inspiron is available in black or silver, and the difference is more than just skin deep. The former is the more powerful device and has a few bonus features. It’s powered by an 11th generation Core i7, has an IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition, a stylus and a 4K display. The silver model is more friendly on the bank account, with a more basic Core i5 CPU, a 1080p display and no stylus included.

Which one is right for you depends on the kind of work you do. If you’re using a laptop for writing, watching TV and scrolling through tweets, the less powerful Inspiron has got your back. If you’re working with giant media files and juggling a hundred Chrome tabs, the more powerful of the two is designed to handle your workload with ease.

How we tested

We swapped in the Dell inspiron 15 2-in-1 for our usual laptop and had it tackle our typical routine. That means constant use while on mains power as well as occasional use while unplugged on commutes of around 30 to 40 minutes. Software used included light apps such as Spotify, Office and Teams, as well as more taxing processes such as juggling multiple Discord, Slack and Outlook tabs on multiple Chrome user accounts, and processor-intense export jobs in Adobe Creative Suite.

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The question is, does this two-in-one device truly deliver? Read on for our verdict.

Dell Inspiron 15 2-in-1 (7506): From £729, Dell.co.uk

The Dell Inspiron 15 2-in-1 in black starts at £1,129

  • Graphics: Integrated Intel Xe (silver edition) / Intel Xe Max (black edition)
  • RAM: 8GB (silver) / 16GB (black)
  • Screen: 15.6in, 1920 x 1080 (silver or black) / 3840 x 2160 (black only)
  • Storage: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB (black only)
  • Connections: Two USB A ports, one Thunderbolt 4 USB C port, headphone/microphone jack, HDMI 2.0
  • Pros: Great performance at this price, convenient folding design is ideal for entertainment
  • Cons: Bulky, keyboard feels cramped

Design

The Dell inspiron 15 2-in-1 doesn’t rock the boat when it comes to design. It’s functional – boring, even – but more importantly it doesn’t feel cheap.

The matte silver or black finish and glossy metal trim hides fingerprints well, is sturdy, and surrounds a full-size keyboard with number pad. That’s not a feature seen very often on a 15in laptop, and makes the keys look a little cramped compared to other laptops we’ve tested, but it unlocks useful functionality for spreadsheet monkeys.

When converted into its tablet mode – by folding the display a full 360 degrees – the inspiron falls foul of the usual problems that plague this form-factor. It’s too large and heavy to use one-handed, and feeling the keys being mushed under your fingertips as you grip the laptop just feels unpleasant.

We don’t think these kinds of laptops are ever truly designed to be used as pure tablets, but the ability to prop the screen up on a desk in tent mode is a good setup for watching entertainment in confined spaces, particularly if you’re commuting and only have a small fold-down tray table to work with. There’s a case for quickly presenting to clients this way too, especially if you’re working with touchscreen interfaces and mobile app designs.

The “element black” version of the laptop not only arrives in a moody dark colourway, but comes with a rechargeable stylus that lives inside what Dell calls an “intuitive pen garage”. Cute. Windows 11 offers a much improved stylus experience over previous generations of the OS too, allowing you to seamlessly pair the stylus and interact with the display in a way that’s versatile and actually convenient.

Display

The 15.6in touchscreen feels zippy under the fingertip, and while not the brightest laptop we’ve tested it offers decent contrast and response times and excellent colour reproduction. The element black variant bumps things up to an optional 4K ultra HD display, while the standard silver model suffices with 1080p, which looks perfectly adequate on a screen of this size.

The bezels surrounding the screen are thin, with the exception of the lower bezel where the lid meets the hinge. This makes the device look a bit vertically unbalanced, though the extra thickness means that when in laptop mode the keyboard becomes inclined slightly for better airflow and a more comfortable typing experience.

In the top bezel is the laptop’s 720p webcam, which is nice and sharp on both models and features a happy little privacy slider. An IR sensor in the more powerful model enables logging in with facial recognition via Windows Hello. Otherwise you’ve got a fingerprint scanner integrated into the power button, which logs you into your Windows profile in the time it takes you to wake the laptop up.

Performance

There are two versions of the inspiron 15 2-in-1 to consider. The black variant is more powerful and expensive, with a higher resolution display and included stylus, while the silver model has more modest specifications suited to less demanding work.

In either guise, this is a mid-range laptop with an 11th generation Core i5 or Core i7 processor, capable of handling most everyday tasks and juggling dozens of open browser tabs without sputtering to a halt.

We tossed our usual workflow at the more powerful model, editing large picture files and rendering multi-track audio in Adobe Creative Suite. While it’s far from the fastest laptop we’ve tested, there wasn’t much that could faze it. For everyday use, both models are future-proofed machines that should serve you well for years to come.

The laptop does like to cause a racket though, whirring up the fans at the slightest suggestion of having to do any hard work. Dell says it uses intelligent motion detection to tell when the inspiron 15 2-in-1 is on a desk and when it’s on a lap. This means it only enters high-performance mode when the device is on a solid surface or, when on your lap, will dial things back to keep your legs from overheating. In testing, however, the fans seemed to kick in whenever they pleased, though for all their noise they do keep the device cool without dips in performance.

Battery life

We’d say the inspiron has an average battery life. Accidentally leave home without your charger and, so long as the device was fully juiced up before you left and you’re not grinding through too many processor-intensive tasks, you’ll make it all the way through a working day without any problems.

There’s fast charge capability too, with the device able to reach 80 percent in about an hour, meaning you should have enough time to top up the battery during your morning ablutions.

The verdict: Dell Inspiron 15 2-in-1 (7506)

The Dell inspiron 15 2-in-1 is designed to be a middle of the road device, but after some time on the market, both models are beginning to show their age. That said, the more powerful version of this versatile hybrid laptop has more than enough performance for general use, and features a great display for entertainment, while the cheaper device would fit around a remote-working lifestyle or a student’s workload.

Both are often heavily discounted by Dell too, with the price of the more powerful configuration of the laptop falling by anything up to £400. Find either model on offer and you’ve got an enticing opportunity to grab a well-built Dell laptop on the cheap.

Dell Inspiron 15 2-in-1 (7506)

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