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Dell Inspiron 11 series 3000 review: This Yoga-like 2-in-1 laptop delivers solid value

Jon L. Jacobi | Sept. 25, 2014
Dell's Inspiron 11 3000 series is a hybrid whose obvious competition is the extremely similar Lenovo Yoga 2 11. Both are touchscreen tablet/laptop hybrids whose two halves pivot 360 degrees to achieve multiple configurations. But while they closely resemble each other in many ways, the Inspiron 11 series 3000 outperforms and outlasts the Yoga 2 11, and it does so for a bit less money.

I found the Inspiron 11 series 3000 keyboard to be at least as good as the one on the Yoga 2 11 (which despite being a Lenovo, is no great shakes). There is an inordinate amount of flex in the Inspiron's keyboard deck, however, including the area immediately surrounding the keys. It doesn't affect typing or swiping on the touchpad, but it might give one pause about the overall build quality. Also, the touchpad's responsiveness varied: Clicking was fine, but it didn't react well to my calloused fingertips at all times. The response of the touchscreen display, on the other hand, was smooth as silk.

The Inspiron 11 series 3000 edged out a similarly-configured Yoga 2 11 by a single point in our WorldBench 9 benchmark: 29 to 28. Subjectively, it feels agile enough once the Windows 8.1 operating system is up and running. Audio through the speakers is surprisingly loud and clear, and 1080p video renders smoothly.

Gaming-wise, the Inspiron 11-3147 might do okay with simple HTML types, but it won't handle modern standalone titles. It managed only 11 frames per second in BioShock Infinite at 1024x768 using low image detail. But you don't buy a convertible to game, and you probably don't want the kids wasting time with such pursuits when they should be studying.

They will be able to hit the books for a while sans cable: Dell wrings 5 hours and 13 minutes of run time from the Inspiron 11-3147's battery, 42 minutes longer than what we saw with the Yoga 2 11. That's still an hour short of the run time turned in by the Toshiba Click 2, the aforementioned 2-in-1 powered by same processor.

Even though the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 series is a better deal overall, the Lenovo Yoga 2 11's somewhat sleeker design will likely win its share of buys. I always recommend kicking the tires in person before deciding which you want to own. If you want something faster or with greater screen resolution, shop the Pro variant of the Yoga 2, with its Core processors. 


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