Dell is making it clear that when it comes to its laptops, it doesn’t want "inexpensive" to equal "cheap." Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Dell's latest Inspiron models are intended to spice up the public perception of the company’s value line of laptops by introducing premium options.
The Inspiron 15 5000 (shown above) and 7000 series will run on Intel's new 5000 series CPUs (formerly known as Broadwell) and will also include upgraded graphics options. The new machines will be able to eke out up to 8 hours of battery life, depending on your configuration, according to Dell.
The higher-end Inspiron 15 7000 starts at $1,100. It includes a 2.7GHz Core i5-5200U processor on a 15-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display, Intel Integrated graphics, and up to 1 TB of hard drive space, or 500 GB of hard drive space coupled with an 8 GB hybrid hard drive. The storage offerings on the new machines are hard disk, not solid state. The 7000 can be configured to run up to a 3 GHz Core i7-5500U CPU, a discrete AMD Radeon GPU, a 4K display and a 512 GB SSD.
Meanwhile, the Inspiron 15 5000 series is quite a bit cheaper, starting at $750. Not surprisingly, it offers a little less of everything that the 7000 offers. However, it can be upgraded with up to a Core i7-5500U CPU and a discrete Nvidia GeForce GPU, up to a 17-inch 1080p resolution display, a touch screen, and a 1 TB hard drive.
What to make of all the upgrades? We reached out Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research, who told us that the improved features, while nice, should be par for the course.
"People always want better and faster," said Dawson. "But when you're upgrading a PC these days, anything you choose is going to be vastly better than whatever you bought several years ago."
Although it doesn’t offer the same level of resolution enhancement as offered by the 7000 series, the 5000 series Inspiron will offer an optional Intel RealSense 3D camera that promises gesture control. Intel's depth-scanning camera technology promises to let users interact with objects on their screens by using hand gestures. The technology can even allow users to scan physical objects into 3D files for use in 3D printing and other applications.
Best Buy Exclusive
In addition to the two new Inspirons, Dell will also be offering a third option. Starting in March, Best Buy will be exclusively selling an edition of Dell’s Inspiron 13 7000 series 2-in-1 laptops. Those machines will include a new curved look with metal accents, while still offering a 360-degree hinged design similar to those in Lenovo’s Yoga series.
"The trend we'll see a lot this year is experimentation with new form factors and other innovations to meet specific needs and drive some differentiation," said Dawson. "I think there's some of that with this new Dell too, with the edge-to-edge display, and so forth."