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Dell Inspiron 13 5000 review: A speedy 2-in-1 ultrabook boosted by Intel’s 8th-gen CPU

Dell’s Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 may be a modest cousin to the company’s flagship XPS 13, but for a much more affordable price it delivers quad-core performance in a slender shell—a impossible trick merely a year ago. Despite our review unit’s so-so battery life and dim 13-inch display, the Inspiron 5000’s brisk performance, reasonable price and tablet-morphing abilities make it a compelling—and powerful—mid-range ultrabook.

Price and specifications

As usual for Dell, the Inspiron 13 5000 model we tested (officially the Inspiron 13 5379) comes in many flavors. We reviewed the $730 version, with a quad-core Intel Core i5-8250U processor, a 256GB solid-state drive, and 8GB of DDR4 RAM. A version that differs only in its 1TB hard drive (a performance downgrade) was selling for $620 on Amazon at presstime.

You can spend as little as $529 on a step-down model with a dual-core Pentium 4415U processor, 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. Going the other way, you could pony up $999 for the top-of-the-line Core i7-8550U version with 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and a Windows Ink-compatible display.

Weighing in at about 3.5 pounds, the 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.8-inch Inspiron 13 5000 feels a tad heavy for a laptop with a 13-inch display. That said, the Inspiron 13 5000 gives you a bonus in exchange for the extra weight: a touch display with a 360-degree hinge. Among the possibilities: you can swivel the display all the way around to turn the Inspiron 13 into a (heavy) tablet, tilt the screen back with the keyboard face-down, or even “tent” the laptop in an upside-down V shape.

dell inspiron 13 5000 tent mode Melissa Riofrio/IDG

The Dell Inspiron 13 5000 sports a 360-degree hinge for use at many angles. 

(Note: There are also 15- and 17-inch versions of the Inspiron 5000, but they lack the 13-inch’s 360-degree swiveling display.)

Nifty stuff, but the real magic sits under the Inspiron 13 5000’s hood. Thanks to its 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor (Kaby Lake Refresh), the Inspiron 13 5000 is among the first ultraportables to boast true quad-core performance. As you’ll see in a moment—spoiler alert!—the benchmark results don’t disappoint.

The Inspiron 13 5000 also comes with an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 Core. Despite Intel’s new “UHD” label, it delivers essentially the same ho-hum performance as the prior generation’s Intel HD 620, better suited for everyday productivity tasks than for gaming.

Display

The Inspiron 13 5000’s 13-inch IPS display works adequately, but its drawbacks represent one of the bigger sacrifices made to hit an affordable price point. The 1920×1080 resolution is reasonably sharp, and the viewing angles are decent (the screen starts to fade beginning at about 30 degrees or so from center). 

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