I purchased the 16-inch OLED Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 laptop from BestBuy. I don't do many product reviews. But I think overall I'm happy with it, so I figured I'd share!
Here's my independent, personal review of the pros and cons of the Dell Inspiron 16" 2 in 1 Laptop, 2022, and why I'm using it.
I live in a bit of an unusual situation. I'm a student studying Web Development online and I'm also in recovery from addiction. As such, I've been living at a sober-living home for the past two years. This presents many unique challenges.
The owners of the house I'm in recently made us move into a smaller apartment with much less space. I no longer have room to set up my office with a 35 inch monitor. I'm working out of a super tiny 3 foot wide desk, and occasionally the kitchen island. In short, I'm low on physical space but still need to get a lot of work done. I doubt I'll stay here much longer since I lost my office, but I need something to work for me in the meantime before I get setup at my next location.
I've decided that I need a device that meets these requirements:
- Be portable enough to easily fit into a backpack, use on a plane, and carry around
- Have a battery life that lasts at least 3 to 4 hours
- Have a screen on the larger size, 15 or greater
- Has a 360° hinge so I can fold it into narrower spaces
- Be able to play some mainstream online games at 45-60fps 1080p low settings
- Be powerful enough to run up to two Adobe apps at once, with multiple files open
- Budget of around $1000
I went with this Inspiron from BestBuy because it seems to check most of these boxes.
They had an open-box unit available rated as like-new condition. The price came out to $1015 with taxes. The new price on Dell.com is $1250.
I got lucky with this one. I checked the hard-drive runtime, and it was only used for 10 hours. Practically brand new.
The key specs of the device are:
- Display: 16-inch 4K OLED Touch Screen
- Processor: 12th Gen i7 (i7 1260p)
- GPU: Integrated Intel Graphics and Nvidia MX550 mobile GPU
- RAM: 16GB DDR4
- Storage: 512GB SSD (Western Digital SN530)
- Misc: Backlit keyboard, 2x Thunderbolt Ports, 2x USB A, Windows Hello, Fingerprint, SD Reader, HDMI Out, USB C Power delivery, Digital pen support
This is the high-end version of this model. They also offer a lower-cost version with a 1080p display, i5 processor, 8gb RAM, etc.
This device is relatively slim for a 16 inch laptop. It's much slimmer than a typical 15.6" gaming or budget laptop. Still, it is on the heavy side at over 4lbs.
The display is by far the standout feature on this device. It's a 4K OLED with everything you'd expect from an OLED display. The screen has excellent blacks/contrast, HDR, and supports nearly the entire DCI-P3 color range. It's plenty bright at 400 nit. I don't have the tools to comment on the color accuracy.
I found this laptop is more than adequate for light gaming, Photoshop, Illustrator, multiple browsers running, etc. It meets all my needs in those regards.
As a two-in-one, it can be used in tablet mode, tent mode, or regular mode. The hinges seem strong and the display stays firmly in place. Hopefully, it stays that way! I have had issues in the past with two-in-ones from Lenovo breaking at the hinge under normal, very light use.
I purchased a laptop stand and fold the display back. This gives me room to use my full-size keyboard under the display. I assume the extra space under the laptop also helps with cooling. With this setup, it's a similar experience to an all in one pc.
The battery life is about 3 to 4 hours with the balanced power setting depending on what you're doing. I think I might squeeze five hours out of it in efficiency mode with the screen dimmed just running basic tasks. For light gaming, it might last two hours. This is in line with what I was expecting and is more than enough to get me through a 3 hour plane ride since I regularly fly to visit family.
The cooling system seems adequate. I'm not an expert on PC cooling. According to HWMonitor, the CPU is idling at around 50°C as I write this article, with many tabs open and background processes running.
For a completely unscientific test, I opened Photoshop and applied several filters to a 2k res image. The temps spiked at around 80°C but almost instantly went back down to around 55°. The device puts off a significant amount of heat and you can feel the fans working hard.
The heat is exhausted directly from the back of the device, under the monitor. You'll certainly feel the heat when you're typing or have this on your lap. The back or underside of the device does not get exceedingly hot anywhere, which is a good sign.
The MX550 GPU is a slight step up from Intel's integrated graphics. The system will pick which GPU to use depending on the application. It's based on the Turing architecture and shares its guts with the more powerful GTX 1650. Overall, it's OK. It'll play most mainstream games like Fortnite or Overwatch at 60fps 1080p in low settings. It won't be running things like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Cyberpunk 2077.
If you just want to play well-optimized mass-market or casual games, it'll do just fine. I certainly wouldn't call it a gaming laptop, as it can be crushed by thicker laptops half its price. For the form factor, I'm happy with it.
- Windows Hello
- You can login with your face, much like FaceID. It also has a fingerprint scanner on the power button that works well. No complaints here.
- Webcam is 1080p 30fps. It's a middle of the road webcam. It's not blurry or unclear, but it will not compete with a latest-gen Macbook. Perfectly usable, not impressive. Physical privacy shutter is a pleasant bonus.
- Dual upward facing speakers on the left and right of the laptop.
- It gets pretty loud without sounding too awful.
- The speakers are nothing to write home about. They're pretty mediocre. There's no bass and they sound tinny. They sound like a $10 step up from the cheapest speakers you could get.
- I wouldn't recommend using them to listen to music. For TV shows, work presentations, etc. I think they're passable.
- Keyboard & Trackpad
- The keyboard is backlit (one color). Looks and feels nice enough. No complaints. Comfortable enough.
- The trackpad is large and works well.
- Touch Screen & Stylus
- The touch screen is occasionally useful, but I prefer mouse and keyboard. I wouldn't use this as a tablet, it's far too large.
- It comes with a Dell Active Pen. The kind that needs a quad-A battery. The pen feels small in my hand, and I have small hands. I don't think it's comfortable to use for any extended work. I'd use it to sign a document, mark up a PDF, or maybe write a quick note, but I wouldn't want to use it for digital painting or drawing.
- You can purchase the Dell Pro Active Pen, which has slightly better ratings. Third party pens may be available, too.
Overall, I like this laptop. I haven't returned it yet, which says something, as I usually return like five computers a year. Frankly, I'm surprised they still let me return stuff.
For a comparable MacBook that meets all my requirements, I'd easily be looking at over $2000.
If you're looking for a larger laptop with a 360 hinge, a powerful processor, and a good-enough GPU, I would recommend this laptop. It's powerful enough to get work done, good enough to play light games, and portable enough to easily take places (in a bag).
- Good For
- Students who don't need a battery to last more than about 4 hours
- Light gaming
- Graphic design and editing
- Watching TVs and Movies
- Most productivity purposes
- Coding, Web Design, Business Development
- RDP Client
- A secondary machine to complement a more-powerful desktop
- Bad For
- Dedicated gaming machine
- Heavy media production, video rendering, 3D production, etc.
- Listening to music with speakers
- Kids, chaotic work zones, or any situation where you might accidentally drop it. I don't think this would take a fall well.