The Inspiron 17 2-in-1 is a noteworthy machine in different quite impressive ways. The first is its sheer size: it has a huge 17in touchscreen, which folds around to turn the whole system into an unwieldy tablet of almost A3 dimensions.
It’s also one of only two systems this month to come with a Core i7 processor and it’s backed up by 16GB of RAM. Even better, you also get a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU to handle 3D duties.
Price and specifications
All of this comes at a price, though. At £849, the Inspiron 17 2-in-1 stretches slightly out of our £800 price range – yet its performance is no better than many Core i5 rivals. Part of that is presumably due to a noisy and ineffective fan, and it also doesn’t help that Dell has equipped the Inspiron 17 2-in-1 with an old-school mechanical hard disk. The 1TB capacity is nice to have, but Windows feels sluggish and hesitant compared to other systems; I measured sequential read and write speeds of just 144MB/sec and 125MB/ sec. The NVMe SSD in the Asus VivoBook S432F is ten times faster.
The screen is a mixed bag, too. At 330cd/m2 I’ve no complaints about brightness, and its 891:1 contrast ratio, coupled with a glossy finish, lends a solidity to movies and games. The GPU keeps things running smoothly, with the Car Chase and Manhattan benchmarks running at nearly twice the frame rates of competing systems.
Colour performance is so-so, though, with only 81% sRGB coverage and an average Delta E of 3.63. And stretching that Full HD resolution across a 17in panel gives you a lowish pixel density of 133ppi, which means small text starts to look choppy.
It probably goes without saying that the Inspiron 17 2-in-1 is hardly the world's most portable laptop. The battery gave a reasonable 7hrs 9mins of video playback, but the unit weighs 2.76kg and is simply too large to carry around comfortably. On the plus side, the oversized chassis allows room for a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad, plus a spacious touchpad. And with two USB 3 ports, plus USB-C, an SD card reader and an HDMI socket, most connectivity needs are covered.
If you want a big-screen computer for a mostly desktop-bound role there are things to like about the Inspiron 17 2-in-1. But for a slick Windows experience, you should buy the SSD-equipped model – which pushes the price up even further to £849.