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Dell Inspiron 17 7000 Series review – hands-on with Dell’s first 17in 2-in-1 laptop

A monster laptop with a flexible 360-degree hinge

It wouldn’t be Computex if Dell didn’t update its consumer range of laptops, and this year was no different. The American firm launched a range of 2-in-1 laptop/tablet Inspiron devices at the conference on Wednesday, using a 360-degree hinge as seen on the previous Inspiron line-up. However, this year Dell shook things up and included a whopping 17in model in the range, the Inspiron 1700 7000 series, alongside the more usual 13-inch and 15-inch series. We were on the show floor after the unveiling at the Microsoft keynote to see how it fares in the real world.

Dell’s latest Inspiron device retains the firm’s iconic matt grey, all metal minimal look, which I like a lot. However, being a 17in 2-in-1 it immediately strikes us as a little clunky for this type of form factor. It can feel a little awkward wrestling it over and into stand mode or tablet mode. I tested the smaller laptops in Dell’s lineup, too, and they turned from laptop to stand mode, and over to tablet modes with ease. The good thing is that the screen rotates automatically when the different modes are established thanks to the built-in accelerometer, but this can be switched off if you’d prefer.

Measuring just over 20mm at its thickest point it’s not the slimmest 17in laptop on the market. But it’s still rather compact considering its flexibility and relatively high-end specifications.

The Inspiron 17 7000’s full-sized, spill-resistant keyboard has decent travel, allowing you to type rapidly with ease. The keyboard is well-spaced but it doesn’t have a numerical keypad – something you’d usually expect from a 17in device – but who really uses those now anyway?

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 keyboard

The 17-inch display uses an IPS screen witha Full HD, 1,920×1,080 resolution – what you’d expect of a device of this calibre and in this price range – and I didn’t have any real niggles about it. Brightness levels are good and we can see working on it outside without a problem, although I did notice that the screen is super reflective, and I found it difficult seeing what exactly was on the screen under the bright lights of the Computex show floor.

Overall, the Inspiron 17 7000 Series feels strong, looks expensive and feels like it would be a pleasure to use for long periods, preferably on a desk though due to its huge size. Its stand mode should also make a rather smart kitchen TV replacement, with its big display being a boon for catching up on iPlayer while you cook.

As you’d expect from a quick hands-on on the show floor, I didn’t get a full taste of the performance of the latest Inspiron 17, but in our short time with it, it handled menial tasks effortlessly, and loading apps was super-fast. There was no lag when swiping between pages, and programs popped up almost as soon as I selected them. The 2-in-1 is powered by a choice of sixth-gen Intel Core Skylake CPUs with up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM.

Dell Inspiron 17 7000 form factor

The Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 also features an infrared camera with Windows Hello integration and a USB 3.0 port with a Type-C connector that can be used for data transfer or recharging the system.

With a starting price of $899 (£622 exc VAT), the Inspiron 17 7000 Series is pretty well priced for a system of this size and build quality. It’s available in the US from next month but UK availability is yet to be announced. When it does hit stores, it will be available in several (ludicrously-named) finishes: Beijing Red, Standard Black, Theoretical Grey, Alpine White, and Sky Blue. Check back soon for a full review or check out our top laptops of 2016 today.