When the first wave of 2-in-1s hit the market years ago, I wasn’t convinced with the form factor. The idea of the convertible laptop that lets you fold, convert, or turn them into tablets were seen suspiciously by many. But now when I use a convertible laptop like Dell’s Inspiron 14 (5406), I realise a 2-in-1 does have an upper hand over a traditional machine with features such as a touchscreen display and active pen support. These convertibles might cost slightly more compared to a regular laptop, but you do get a hybrid form factor that is great for both media consumption and work. I have been using the Dell Inspiron 14 (5406) for a few days, and here’s what I think about the 2-in-1 that’s both functional and attractive.
Dell Inspiron 14 (5406) 2-in-1 price in India: Rs 72,000
Dell Inspiron 14 (5406) 2-in-1 review: What’s new?
The new Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is a sleek, all-metal notebook with a compact design. I won’t say the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is any closer to the Dell XPS 13 in terms of aesthetics and style, but a lot of people will find the convertible notebook appealing. My review unit boasts a Titanium Gray finish and reflective Dell logo that is embedded into the center of the lid. The laptop measures 17.94 mm thick and weighs 1.56kg which does not make it super lightweight but it easily slides into my backpack with ease.
Like a modern-day notebook, you will find plenty of ports. There’s a USB-C port that can be used for charging, two traditional USB-A ports, an HDMI port, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack.
But remember the Inspiron 14 (5406) is a 360-degree convertible. It rotates a full 360 degrees so I have a choice to use the notebook as a tablet or position the screen like a tent and watch movies for hours without any interruption. What really impressed me is just how robust the build quality is. Opening and closing the notebook is just what I would expect it to be. Dell has done a great job with the hinges.
Dell Inspiron 14 (5406) 2-in-1 review: What’s good?
Opening it up, you will find a 14-inch Full HD display with impressively thin bezels on either vertical side, with the bottom bezel slightly larger. I found the display really nice, although a bit reflective, the touchscreen looks fantastic — bright and colourful. Everything looks fantastic on the Inspiron 14 2-in-1, movies, games, and photographs.
The speakers are great, too. They are full, balanced, and get pretty loud. You can clearly hear fine details like guitar strumming when you listen to John Mayer’s “Who Says”. The built-in speakers are fantastic for listening to different music genres, be it classical, rock to Bollywood.
Inside the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is Intel’s 11th Core i5-1135G7 processor. Combine that with the Nvidia GeForce MX330, 512GB of PCIe SSD and 8GB RAM, and you have a laptop that is more than capable of. I felt the machine was fast enough and it handled my daily basic computing tasks, which includes a dozen Chrome tabs, and a few other apps like Apple Music and WhatsApp Desktop. Basically, it means, the laptop gets the job done, whether you are a college student or an executive working from home. I wasn’t able to run games on it, but I can tell you that this machine isn’t designed to be a pro gaming laptop.
Over the years, Dell has massively improved the keyboard on its laptops. You get a full-sized, backlit keyboard here. The keys are well-spaced and the keyboard itself is comfortable to type on for extended periods of time. You will also notice that the power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner which I think is a handy feature, letting you log in to the laptop without having to put in your password every time. Underneath the keyboard sits a mid-sized touchpad. It might not be the biggest touchpad I have seen on a laptop, but is definitely responsive.
The reason why convertible laptops shine is that you can do a lot more on these machines. How about using the notebook as a digital canvas? That’s right. In the past few days, I used the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 to jot down the notes, and maintain a list of my daily tasks, something I can’t imagine doing on a traditional laptop. Dell includes a daily decent active pen that does the job well, though there is no way I can magnetically attach it to the laptop.
Dell Inspiron 14 (5406) 2-in-1 specs
*14-inch FHD (1920×1080) WVA LED-backlit Touch display
*Intel 11th gen Core i5-1135G7
*512GB PCLe NVMe SSD, 8GB RAM
*Nvidia GeForce MX330 with 2GB GDDR5 graphics memory
*4-cell 53 Whr battery
*Windows 10 Home
Dell Inspiron 14 (5406) 2-in-1 review: What’s not good?
In terms of battery life, I was not impressed. I got close to five hours of battery life on normal settings. That’s not good, and based on my testing, I have seen the same pattern across other Tiger Lake notebooks. Battery life has been severely impacted on laptops running Intel’s latest 11th processors.
Once again, though, the webcam is only 720p. It’s okay, but I expect it to be better, considering coronavirus continues to keep us indoors, the best way to stay in touch with close friends and colleagues is through video calls.
Dell Inspiron 14 (5406) 2-in-1 review: Should I buy it?
If you want a premium looking convertible laptop for everyday use, then the Dell Inspiron 14 (5406) 2-in-1 does the job well. This notebook is certainly good for basic tasks like sending emails, browsing the internet, and watching films. Yes, you can use the laptop for serious tasks like editing photos or light videos. I just feel Dell could have done a better job with the battery life. But I can’t entirely blame Dell. I think part of the blame is on Intel too. That said, there is nothing wrong with the Dell Inspiron 14 (5406) 2-in-1. It’s very much a polished notebook that won’t make you embarrassed when you take it to a cafe.