If Dell's XPS notebooks are the thoroughbreds of ultrabooks, then the Inspiron series are the less glamourous workhorses. Take the latest Dell Inspiron 14 5000 Series for example. It's thicker, heavier, and generally less sexy than the Dell XPS 13. But the Inspiron is also much more affordable. My Intel-based Inspiron 14 (5410) review set costs S$1,349 and you can get it down to S$1,199 if you choose the AMD model. It won't attract envious glances at the cafe, but the Inspiron 14 will get the job done.
- 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) screen
- Intel Core i7-11390H processor with 16GB system memory and Nvidia GeForce MX450 graphics
- 54 watt-hour battery
Its 14-inch full-HD display is probably the Inspiron 14's weakest link. It's not bright enough — 250 nits according to Dell — to be used outdoors. In fact, I ended up using it with the brightness set to at least 80 percent all the time. Even indoors, there's plenty of reflections that diminish the viewing angles despite its matte finish. Colours, too, look dull and a tad washed out. Dell probably opted for such a middling display in order to meet the Inspiron's affordable price tag. The bezels, though, are slim enough, while the 720p web camera above the screen has a mechanical shutter for privacy. This webcam cannot do facial recognition, but it doesn't need to because the Dell's power button doubles as a fingerprint sensor.
The rest of the Inspiron 14 is surprisingly good given its price. The build quality is particularly impressive. Dell uses aluminium for the chassis and lid, which gives the notebook a certain solidity. The lid also raises the laptop base slightly when opened. This design helps with the airflow and tilts the keyboard slightly to improve the typing experience. There is some flex in the keyboard and the key travel could be better, but the notebook's overall build quality is definitely better than expected. The Inspiron 14 also has a decent selection of ports. You'll get two USB-A ports, a USB-C port and a HDMI port, along with a microSD card slot. You can charge the notebook using the USB-C port or the dedicated charging port.
The laptop bottom becomes fairly warm while running an intensive program like PCMark 10. I'm glad that the lid was slightly raised. The fan sounded faint even during benchmarking and I could barely hear it. The Inspiron 14 scored 4,766, which is comparable to the HP Spectre x360 14 (4,720). The presence of an entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX450 graphics chip means that you can run casual games or AAA games (at low settings). Hades, for example, ran at around 200fps at 1080p. However, the notebook gets very warm during gaming — definitely don't place it on your lap.
The Dell Inspiron 14 also excelled in our video-loop battery test, lasting 9hr 22min. Its relatively dim display probably helps with the battery life here. My review set comes with Windows 10 Pro, but you can also select Windows 11 Home or Windows 11 Pro (prices will vary slightly). Overall, the Inspiron 14 is a portable mainstream notebook with excellent battery life. It is a good fit for less demanding users such as students and office workers. You can get it from Dell or from Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Dell.
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