Reviewing The Dell Inspiron 14 7437 - An Affordable Ultrabook
If you are looking for a good-looking laptop, with a good hardware configuration, that's able to deal both with desktop programs and touch apps, while not costing more than $1000, you will surely encounter the Dell Inspiron 14 7437. While it's not exactly a new ultrabook, it is a good device and it runs Windows 8.1 smoothly, at a reasonable price. That's why we decided to test it and review it for you when we had the chance. Read this article to learn more about this ultrabook, its strengths and weaknesses and whether it is worth buying.
Unboxing The Dell Inspiron 14 7437
Dell Inspiron 14 7437 comes in your standard carton box, without any special graphics or information displayed on it. If you look at it, you won't even know what laptop you have bought. You know only that is a Dell with an Intel processor inside. That's it!
Inside the box you will find the laptop itself, the charger, the warranty, a quick start guide and other leaflets with information. The is no disc included, with drivers or system recovery tools.
Dell Inspiron 14 7437 is available in several hardware configurations. For starters, it comes with an Intel Core i5 4200U processor running at 1,6GHz or with an Intel Core i7-4510 CPU running at 2GHz. The device that we have received for testing had the Core i7 processor. The video chip is an Intel HD4400 which is great for office work and a bit of casual gaming but not for more than that. This laptop can have up to 8GB of RAM DDR3, running at 1600MHz. The Core i5 model generally comes with 6GB of RAM. Our test model had 8GB of RAM.
The hard disk can be either an classic 500 GB laptop hard disk made by Seagate and running at 5400 RPM or a fast 256 GB SSD drive. Our test model had the 500 GB hard disk.
The screen is another area where the specifications can vary. Yes, the screen is always 14" in size and it is a LED backlit touch screen but its resolution can vary between 1366 x 768 pixels and 1920 x 1080 pixels. The version we have tested had a Full-HD touch screen. As far as we understood from the official specifications, the version with a non-HD screen doesn't have touch either. On the top side of the screen Dell Inspiron 14 features a 1 MP integrated webcam.
In terms of connectivity, you have a Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7260 network adapter that is capable of connecting to 802.11n wireless networks but not to 802.11ac networks. There are two USB 3.0 ports (one on each side of the laptop) an HDMI port, an SD memory card reader. It also has a Bluetooth 4.0 chip that can come in handy in connecting all kinds of devices.
In terms of battery, it sports a lithium-ion 58 Wh battery with 4 cells.
This laptop may come with Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro installed. Some versions are also sold with Ubuntu Linux. The model we have tested had Windows 8.1 on it.
Since this laptop is aimed mostly at business users, Dell Inspiron 14 7437 has a security lock available. Its size is 13,6" (345 mm) x 9,4" (240 mm) x 0,6" (15,3 mm) (Width x Length x Height) and it weighs 4,4 lb (1,99 kg) if it has a Full-HD screen or 3,88 lb (1,76 kg) if it doesn't.
The full set of hardware specifications can be read here: Inspiron 14 7000 Series Laptop with Touch.
Using The Dell Inspiron 14 (model 7437)
First of all, we love the design, the size and the weight of the Dell Inspiron 14. It looks great, it feels good to hold in your hands and it is very easy to carry around. Others will definitely admire it as it has the looks of a premium laptop.
The touch screen works great and it is definitely useful when interacting with Windows 8.1 and its modern apps from the Windows Store. The quality of the display is good, with good color reproduction and viewing angles. You will love watching movies on the version of the laptop that has a Full-HD display. The movie watching experience is complemented by a pair of decent speakers which are reasonably loud for a laptop. When compared with other laptops, both the sound chip and the speakers can provide a better than average audio experience.
The keyboard is a pleasure to use. We very much enjoyed the typing experience on Dell Inspiron 14, as the keys are well spaced and easy to type on. However, there is one aspect that we didn't like: the function keys' are inverted. They double as multimedia keys but not in the traditional way. Basically if you want to press F1 to access an application's Help, for instance, you need to actually press Fn+F1. This is similar to what Microsoft does with their Surface devices. Another less positive aspect is the backlighting of the keyboard: it is rather uneven and not visible enough to help in dark environments. The touchpad is good, responsive and easy to use when you don't have a mouse available.
The webcam is of low quality and it's useful only for quick video chats with your friends and co-workers. Also, don't use it for selfies as you will be very disappointed with the results.
The biggest drawback of Dell Inspiron 14 7437 is the mechanical hard drive. It's just slow compared to the rest of the laptop. The startup times are slower because of it and, at times, you will notice some lag, especially when you launch more demanding desktop programs. Bundling a Core i7 with a standard 5400 rpm hard drive doesn't make much sense and Dell is wasting perfectly great hardware and build quality by mixing it with a slow hard disk. If you want a smooth computing experience we highly recommend that you purchase the version with an SSD. But in that case, you might want to also purchase an SD card if 256 GB of storage space is too little for your needs.
The battery life the Dell Inspiron 14, model 7437 is generally good. In our tests we managed to squeeze between 5 and 5 hours and 30 minutes. If you are using the Core i5 model and not the Core i7 like we did, you should get even better autonomy out of it.
Apps That Are Bundled With Dell Inspiron 14 (model 7437)
Unfortunately Dell chose to bundle lots of software on this model alongside drivers and tools that are required to run the laptop at peak performance. First there are lots of tools from Dell and Intel on it. Things like:
- Dell Backup and Recovery - allows you to make manual backups of the entire system or of a portion of your data. If you want automated backups, you have to pay extra.
- Dell Update - a tool that checks for driver and firmware updates for your laptop.
- My Dell - a control panel of sorts that share information about your laptop and provides links to other tools or useful resources on the Dell website.
- Intel Smart Connect Technology - a weird tool that is designed to update programs by periodically waking up your PC from sleep or standby, for a brief period of time. It also allows you to remote wake your system from other devices.
- Intel Control Center - another weird tool that displays some system information and tells you that no registered applications are available. We couldn't figure out what it does.
- Intel Update Manager - this program checks for updates for the Intel hardware that's found inside your laptop.
- Intel Rapid Storage Technology - allows you to monitor and control the performance of the hard disk that's found inside your laptop.
On top of these programs, you will also find an Office 365 trial which will be useful to many users, a copy of McAfee Internet Security (it's slow and weak security solution that we recommend uninstalling), the Amazon 1Button App which helps you buy stuff from Amazon and several modern apps: eBay, McAfee Central for Dell, OneNote, Amazon and Kindle.
All these desktop programs and apps tend to make the Dell Inspiron 14 slower than it should be and we highly recommend removing those that you don't plan to use.
Performance In Benchmarks
To give you a better idea of the performance offered by Dell Inspiron 14 7437, we ran several benchmarks and compared it with a few similar devices that we have tested in the past: ASUS Transformer Book Flip TP300LA and Surface Pro 2.
First, we used Bootracer to measure how fast Windows 8.1 starts on this device. As you can see in the chart below, Dell Inspiron 14 is rather slow and it takes on average 70 seconds to start. The mechanical hard drive definitely doesn't help and neither does the bundled software that comes with this model.
Then, we used the 3DMarkRT app to see how well this device performs when running casual games aimed at tablet users. We have used the Ice Storm Unlimited test. Here is a chart with the average score obtained by each device. Dell Inspiron 14 fared well and it was only 4% slower than ASUS Transformer Book Flip TP300LA.
Below you can see a chart with the frames per second obtained by each device in the three tests run by the 3DMarkRT app, so that you can get a better idea of how well the Dell Inspiron 14 fares when running casual touch-based games from the Windows Store.
Next, we measured how well Dell Inspiron 14 fares when running more demanding games, with the help of the 3DMark Vantage benchmark. As you can see in the screenshot below, this ultrabook is not a good choice for more serious gaming. It delivered a low number of frames per second in most tests ran by this benchmark.
We continued our measurements by running the PCMark 8 benchmark which runs a series of tests how well a computer fares in common computing scenarios like web browsing, writing documents, video chat, casual gaming and advanced photo editing. Dell Inspiron 14 7437 received a score of 2377 points which doesn't tell you much except that this ultrabook offers generally good levels of performance. A more detailed breakdown on how fast it was in each test can be found in the screenshot below.
We ran the Peacekeeper battery test to evaluate how much the battery lasts while browsing the web. Dell Inspiron 14 437 fared very well, lasting 5 hours and 1 minute.
This good result was confirmed also with the PowerMark benchmark. It said that this laptop can last up to 5 hours and 24 minutes when doing a mix of web browsing, word processing, watching videos and light gaming sessions.
We also measured how long it takes for the battery to charge after being discharged almost completely. On average, Dell Inspiron 14 7437 took about 2.5 to 3 hours to charge itself to 100%.
Where To Buy
Dell Inspiron 14 7437 is a well built ultrabook, that looks great and it is easy to carry around. It is great for office environments and casual home users who don't play demanding games or use very demanding desktop programs during their daily routine. Also, its autonomy is good and it should get you through a work day. If you take a lunch break at least. :)
Overall, it is a well priced device for what it has to offer and it comes in multiple configuration options. However, we do recommend that you pay attention to the exact version that you are purchasing and its specific hardware specs. Some versions include a slower hard drive instead of a fast SSD drive while others have a lower-resolution screen without touch, instead of a Full-HD screen with touch. We highly recommend that you buy the Core i7 version, with a Full-HD touch screen and an SSD drive. It is the only version that offers performance levels that match the general build quality of this ultrabook and a flawless computing experience. Other versions have shortcomings that make this device feel lesser than what it looks like.