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Dell Inspiron 15 7000: A discrete GPU makes it better at play than work

Jon L. Jacobi | April 24, 2014
Dell's Inspiron 15 7000-series Ultrabooks, as represented by the 15.6-inch model 7537 Dell sent for this review, are a mixed bag. This model--let's just call it the Inspiron 7537--looks great, has a nice display, and renders games well. Its ergonomics, on the other hand, aren't all they could be; and given the amount of aluminum used in its construction, its chassis exhibits considerably more flex than I expected.

Should you decide, post-purchase, to swap this Ultrabook's hard drive for an SSD, removing the bottom panel exposes the battery, hard drive, and memory slots. The panel is easy enough to remove, but the slight snap of its plastic tabs can be an unsettling experience.

The Inspiron 7537 is disappointing from an ergonomic standpoint. Its silver keys with medium-gray lettering are a low-contrast color combination that makes it more difficult than it should be to visually orient and place your fingers. The lack of a delineating gap between the alpha keys and the numeric keypad exacerbates the issue. Both the key feel and sound are soft and uninspiring, but to that you can adapt.

The one-piece touchpad is perfectly located, sports tasteful silver trim, and is recessed a millimeter or two for easy tactile recognition. It also sports firm click action, but swipe response was sometimes erratic in my hands-on.  

Our upscale configuration costs $1150, but you can slip into a lesser Inspiron 15 7000 model for as little as $650 (albeit with a Core i5-4200U, 6GB of memory, no discrete GPU, and a 500GB hard drive). Dell offers Inspiron 7000 models in 11.6-, 14-, and 17.3-inch displays, too. All models ship with Windows 8.1 and a one-year warranty. You can up the warranty to four years for $170.

The Inspiron 7537 has a nice display and competent overall performance, and it's a very good gamer. But its irksome chassis flex and weak input ergonomics diminish the overall experience. Given the specs, good looks, and price tag, I was expecting more.


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