The PC industry has reported another quarterly decline in shipments, the eighth consecutive quarterly decline. But that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from innovating. The threshold of innovative design is still catapulted by Microsoft (looking at the Surface Book) but the broader PC industry is catching up in the race with thinner design, near bezel-less display and yes, convertible form factor. Dell, Lenovo, HP — all are making convertibles either with detachable keyboards or with a flippable screen. PC OEMs are pushing notebook design towards a convertible form factor, which is a great option.
Dell Inspiron 11
Dell Inspiron 11 is the latest from the company that pushes the convertible form factor to an even more affordable price range. The USP of Dell Inspiron 11 is its affordable price, colourful variants and 360-degree hinge. It is that ideal back-to-school notebook that now gains the ability to flip 360-degrees? But do you really need one? Read our review to find out.
Specs: 11.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) Display | Windows 10 Home | Intel Pentium N3710 processor | 4GB RAM | 500GB storage | Intel HD Graphics | 2 Cell Li-Ion battery | USB 3.0 x1 | USB 2.0 x2 | HDMI port | microSD card reader | 1.3kg
Price: Rs 34,990
What is good?
If there is one thing to really like about this notebook, then it is the form factor. I have used notebooks with a 360-degree hinge costing nearly Rs 1,00,000 before, but this is the first time I have found it effective. Since Dell Inspiron 11 features a smaller 11-inch display, it works well in all kind of modes – tent, tablet, stand and standard laptop. If you watch a lot of videos then you’ll find the tablet mode really convincing on this one.
With Dell Inspiron 11, Windows 10 nicely helps the form factor. The tablet mode with Windows 10 which converts the icons into larger live tiles and disables the keyboard, helps when you flip the notebook flat on its face. Windows 10 core features like Cortana and touch work seamlessly along with easier workflow between programs. The app support is not big, but it is decent enough for PC users.
Dell Inspiron 11 is a classic Dell machine, so you get the design the Texas firm is known to deliver. With Inspiron 11 series, you get bold colour options – our review unit came in punchy blue colour. There is also a pink option which is ‘very pink’ in my opinion. The Dell Inspiron 11’s design highlight is the 360-degree hinge which is sturdy and can easily last for years. The design also involves a nicely laid out keyboard and a decently large trackpad. Dell has also laid out the ports nicely allowing for ease of access to HDMI and USB ports.
After using Inspiron 11 for more than two weeks, I easily got accustomed to its keyboard and the trackpad. The keyboard has a very nice travel and the keys are punchy too. It is certainly not as mushier as the one found on XPS range, but I am convinced that this keyboard will be good enough for writing a thesis or jotting down notes. Right from the early generation Inspiron series, Dell has managed to build a great trackpad and that continues with Inspiron 11 too. I mostly have multiple programmes open on my Windows machine and with Inspiron 11, I was easily able to do three finger swipe up gesture to expose open windows and then switch between them by gently swiping one finger on the trackpad. The feature will be appreciated by people who have multiple apps or programs open on their machine.
One of the best things about Dell Inspiron 11 is its sub 1.5Kg weight. Trust me, I carry a notebook that weighs 3Kg and with Inspiron 11, I felt as if my backpack is missing the notebook. Dell Inspiron 11 is light, but it doesn’t compromise on performance, which is another bonus here.
What is not good?
There is only one little quirk with this machine – the display. Dell Inspiron 11 has a 11-inch 1366 x 768 display which is adequate in terms of resolution but fails in terms of brightness and viewing angles. The viewing angle becomes a painpoint when you push the notebook to a slightly odd angle in tent mode. The display is definitely not bad, but it is not the most comfortable one.
Should you buy?
With Inspiron 11, Dell has managed to bring the premium convertible design to a sub-35k range and I am convinced it works in the favour of the device. With Dell Inspiron 11, affordability finally meets the convertible design and it will only get cheaper. If you are a student looking for a notebook to take notes or write assignment, Inspiron 11 easily fits the bill. The fact that it weighs just under 1.5Kg, means you can still carry other stuff. If you are a student thinking of a back-to-school notebook, I think this is where your money should be.