It's only been less than a year since I reviewed the previous Dell Inspiron 16 Plus. Unsurprisingly, the new version is more of a hardware refresh than a complete makeover. The 2023 model retains the same design, but with the latest processor and graphics chip, as well as a new 120Hz display. What did surprise me: The price for the base Core i7 version (S$1,999) is slightly lower than last year's equivalent model (S$2,099).
- 16-inch (2,560 x 1,600 pixels, 120Hz) screen
- Intel Core i7-13700H with 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 graphics
- Thunderbolt 4, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, HDMI, microSD card reader, audio jack
Gone is the 3K display from last year. Instead, the new Dell Inspiron 16 Plus gets a 2,560 x 1,600-pixel screen that retains the 16:10 aspect ratio that's optimised for productivity. The brightness tops out at a fairly standard 300 nits. There's some colour shift from the sides, but the display is matte and non-reflective. What's different: The new screen has a 120Hz refresh rate, and you can set it to switch between 60Hz and 120Hz dynamically. This smoother 120Hz refresh rate comes into play when running games using the laptop's dedicated Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics. You still get a decent 1080p camera with a physical privacy shutter. There's no facial recognition, but the integrated power button/fingerprint sensor works well enough.
At just over 2kg, the Inspiron 16 Plus is somewhat portable for its size. It's definitely not as light as 16-inch models with integrated graphics, such as the Acer Swift Edge. As Dell didn't change the design, the Inspiron 16 Plus has the same number of ports as before. I would have liked a couple more USB ports, especially for a 16-inch model. But alas, the sides are mostly taken up by the cooling vents, which means that your hand — if using a mouse — will feel warm during more intensive computing workloads. Note that certain parts of the laptop (side vents, above the keyboard, and base of the notebook) will get fairly toasty during gaming (and charging). The palm rest, though, only gets a tad warm, and is comfortable enough.
My review set is the higher-end version (S$2,349) with the new GeForce RTX 4060 graphics. It's an upgrade over last year's RTX 3060 option. Note that the base S$1,999 Inspiron Plus 16 model has the same entry-level Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics as last year's model. If you intend to spend more time gaming on this laptop, I suggest getting the RTX 4060 version. Such a configuration would almost be on a par — the Dell has a marginally slower processor — with budget gaming notebooks like the Aftershock Forge 15X. For instance, the Dell produced an average of 60fps in Watch Dogs: Legion at 1080p and Ultra setting. That's not too far from the Aftershock Forge 15X's 69fps in this game. Of course, you can also tap this graphics chip for creative apps — just switch to Nvidia's Studio Driver.
For general computing, the 2023 model with its newer Intel Core i7 processor is slightly faster than its predecessor. My review unit scored 7,855 in PCMark 10, an increase of around 9% compared with last year's model. The Dell's 86 watt-hour battery lasted around 8 hours in our usual video playback test at maximum screen brightness. That's quite the improvement over the previous version (6hr 19min). The Dell Inspiron 16 Plus is suitable if you want a relatively svelte laptop capable of some gaming and content creation. It's available now, starting from S$1,999 at Dell.
Note: Review unit provided by Dell.
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