The Inspiron line offers a lot of bang for your notebook buck.
The sub-$1000 notebook market is one that we rarely cover here at PC Perspective. It's not due to a lack of interest from us, but rather from notebook manufacturers.
Generally, companies are only interested in sending out their latest flagship products, which leaves us without much of an opinion on the notebooks that most people actually walk into a brick and mortar retailer to purchase.
Today, we're looking at one of these more mainstream notebooks which can be found with a quad-core 8th generation Intel processor for under $900—the Dell Inspiron 13 7373 2-in-1.
|Dell Inspiron 13 7373 2-in-1|
|MSRP||$879 (Configuration as reviewed)||$1049||$1149||$1299|
|Screen||13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS touch display|
|CPU||Core i5-8250U||Core i7-8550U|
|GPU||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Storage||256GB SATA||512GB SATA|
|Network||Intel 7265 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.2, Dual Band 2.4 & 5 GHz, 2x2|
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
|Audio||(2) tuned speakers; audio processing by Waves MaxxAudio® Pro|
|Weight||3.2 lbs ( 1.45 kg)|
|Dimensions||12.91-in x 8.5-in x 0.61-in
(309.6mm x 215.7mm x 15.51mm)
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
It's worth noting that while writing this review, these notebooks have been consistently available for under MSRP. The base configuration we are reviewing of the Dell Inspiron 13 7373 is remarkably well equipped and at the time of writing was available for $749. Considering that the $999 entry level model of the 2018 XPS 13 still comes with a paltry 4GB of system memory and 128GB SSD, this is a great value. For most consumers, including myself, I look at the 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD option as the sweet spot price comparison point between notebooks.
Upgradability is at the level we expect from most modern thin-and-light notebooks. By removing the bottom of the notebook you can gain access to change the storage device installed in the M.2 slot, but virtually nothing else—meaning that it's important to configure the notebook with the amount of RAM you'll need at your time of purchase.
From a design aspect, the Inspiron 13 7373 isn't quite as remarkable as it's flashy sibling the Dell XPS 13. You won't find an ultra-thin bezel equipped InfinityEdge display, a variety of color choices, or a carbon fiber palm wrist. However, what you will find is a solidly built notebook that is unoffensive in every way.
Unlike Inspirons of that past that you may be familiar with that had suspect build quality, the Inspiron 13 7373 is made mostly of metal and retains a premium feel. Even the hinges, which can be a major weak area on less expensive notebooks, are quite sturdy on the Inspiron.
The 1920x1080 IPS display provides a great balance between high resolution for the size without having to rely on Windows display scaling too much. Personally, I find a 1080p resolution at this size to be usable without any scaling, but yourmileagee may vary. You also gain a significant battery life performance from not putting in a higher resolution display that requires display scaling to be usable.
The larger bezel sizes around the display allow the webcam to be in a traditional position in the top center of the display rather than some of the more odd locations Dell has utilized for modern XPS notebooks. Additionally, the webcam also supports visual Windows Hello authentication, a feature I have grown to love on Windows notebooks and don't want to go without.
Despite the more barebones aesthetic of the Inspiron 13 7373, both the keyboard and trackpad are excellent for a lower end notebook. The keyboard is reminiscent of the great chiclet keyboard on the XPS 13 but actually seems to have a bit more key travel making it a more enjoyable experience.
Similarly, the trackpad of the Inspiron isn't covered in glass like other premium notebook offerings, but I tend to prefer the matte texture it has over most glass trackpads—althought time will tell if this texture polishes smooth with extended use.
As far as inputs are concerned, the Inspiron 13 7373 isn't the most extensive we've ever seen but the connections available provide a lot of utility.
In addition to one Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 1 port (capable of display output), you'll find a full-size HDMI connector and two USB 3.0 Type-A connectors. Additionally, there is an SD card slot, something that's a bit of a rarity these days but great for people who take lots of photos.
Personally, I've become a fan of charging through USB-C and I'm disappointed to see Dell using a proprietary barrel connector for the power input on this notebook. I feel that being able to use commodity chargers via Type-C Power Delivery instead of having to rely on notebook specific chargers is a great move forward for the industry, and the lack of Type-C charging makes the Inspiron 13 7373 already feel a bit dated.