Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (2022) Review: A mainstream laptop with a lot of value

Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (2022) Review: A mainstream laptop with a lot of value

Dell’s new Inspiron 14 2-in-1 has been a delightful mainstream laptop to use over he last few weeks, and I really like the improvements that have been made over the last one. The screen is 16:10, and there are some neat design changes like a three-sided touchpad. There’s a ton of value too. This unit costs just over $1,000, and that’s the higher-end model. Starting at $849.99, you still get a laptop that has a Full HD webcam.

It’s not perfect though. The biggest issue is that frankly, it doesn’t have a great screen, so if you need a super color-accurate work flow, this is not the laptop for you. It also doesn’t have Thunderbolt, so you’ll have to make sure that USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 is enough for you.

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But again, this offers a lot for $1,050. While we’re seeing more and more laptops with 1080p webcams, they’re still somewhat rare at this more mainstream price point, so it’s a real value indicator.

    The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is a mainstream laptop with a premium build, coming in at a low price point and packing an FHD webcam, a 16:10 display, and 12th-gen processors.

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Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (2022) pricing and availability

  • The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 starts at $849.99

The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 only comes in two configurations on Dell.com and Best Buy, which cost $849.99 and $1,049.99. The entry tier comes with a Core i5-1235U, 8GB DDR4, a 512GB SSD, and a 1,920×1,200 display. The other one swaps out the CPU for a Core i7-1255U and swaps out the dual 4GB modules of memory for two 8GB modules.

There should be more configurations coming at some point though. The spec sheet in the reviewer’s guide that Dell sent me promises other options, including Core i3 configurations, up to 32GB memory, and up to a 2TB SSD. It’s possible that Dell is just starting out with some more common configurations, which many companies are doing right now.

Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (2022): Specs

Processor 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1255U (12MB Cache, up to 4.7 GHz, 10 cores)
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Body 0.62” – 0.70” x 12.36” x 8.96” (15.70 – 17.86 x 314 x 227.50mm), 3.61 lbs. (1.63kg) with 54W battery
Display 14.0-inch 16:10 FHD+ (1920 x 1200) Truelife Touch Narrow Border WVA Display
Memory 16GB, 2x8GB, DDR4, 3200MHz
Storage 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
Ports 1 HDMI out 1.4
1 USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
2 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C with PowerDelivery and Video
1 3.5mm Headphone/Microphone combination jack
SD Card Reader
Input Precision Touchpad
Spill resistant, backlit
Multimedia Integrated Widescreen FHD (1080p)
Camera with Camera Shutter and Temporal
Noise Reduction
Stereo Speakers with Waves MaxxAudio Pro tuning
Integrated Dual Array Microphones
Battery 4-Cell Battery, 54 Whr (Integrated)
65W Power Adapter (Type-C)
Color Platinum Silver
Security Fingerprint Reader with Windows Hello (Optional)
Webcam privacy shutter
OS Windows 11 Home
Price $1,050

Design: It has a full-size SD card reader

  • It’s made out of aluminum and comes in Platinum Silver
  • There’s a full-size SD card reader

The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 looks like a Dell laptop. When I say that, I mean that if you had me draw you a picture of what I’d expect a typical Dell laptop to look like, this is what I’d end up with. It’s made out of aluminum and comes in the traditional Platinum Silver color, with the shiny Dell logo stamped in the lid. Given the inexpensive price, it feels really premium.

Top down view of Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1

One thing that’s neat about many Inspiron models is that the hinge is designed so that it lifts up the base. That means that when the lid is open, the base isn’t actually lying flat on your desk. Since it’s lifted up, it allows for better airflow and therefore, better performance.

The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is part of a dying breed of 14-inch laptops with a full-size SD card slot.

It’s a bit heavy at 3.61 pounds, although frankly, when I looked at the spec sheet, I was a little surprised to see that it weighed so much. It really doesn’t feel heavy, and believe me, I tend to be pretty sensitive when it comes to different weights in laptops. This one felt comfortable to carry around. If it does feel a bit heavy, there’s a lighter option available that does come with a smaller battery.

View of ports on Dell laptop

There’s an interesting port selection on this laptop, including two USB Type-C, one USB Type-A, HDMI, a headphone jack, and an SD card reader. I know; an SD card reader. It seems like full-size SD card readers are so rare these days, and when you do find one, it’s usually on a 15- or 16-inch laptop that’s designed for creators that are going to be editing video. If you’re looking for a 14-inch laptop with a full-size SD card reader, you’ll spend a good amount of time looking before you find another one.

View of ports on Dell laptop

Neither of the two USB Type-C ports are Thunderbolt, which is a shame. Interestingly, they’re USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, which I don’t think I’ve actually seen in a product. To go on a bit of a tangent, here’s the strange and insane way that USB generations work. USB 3.0 supported 5Gbps speeds, and that was rebranded to USB 3.1 Gen 1. When USB 3.1 came out, USB 3.1 Gen 2 was the actual new standard with 10Gbps speeds. Then USB 3.2 came along and, you guessed it, everything got rebranded again. USB 3.1 Gen 1 (originally USB 3.0) became USB 3.2 Gen 1, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 became USB 3.2 Gen 2. The new one was USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, which supports 20Gbps speeds.

USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 has been mostly skipped in favor of USB4, which supports 40Gbps speeds. Still, if it’s not going to be Thunderbolt 4 / USB4, it’s nice that it’s USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. The non-Thunderbolt laptops I usually see aren’t even that.

Display: It’s 16:10 now, but it needs work

  • The 14-inch display is now 16:10, but the color gamut isn’t up to par
  • The webcam is 1080p

The screen on the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1, as the name suggests, is 14 inches measured diagonally. The big change over last year’s model is that the aspect ratio is 16:10 now, instead of 16:9. That means that it’s taller and has more surface area, which is fantastic. The resolution is 1,920×1,200.

Close up of Dell Inspiron display

Unfortunately, that’s all that changed. The color gamut tests seem to show almost the exact same results that we saw on the previous model.

Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 Display Test

It supports 64% sRGB, 46% NTSC, 48% Adobe RGB, and 48% P3. Those numbers are low enough that I’d suspect something was wrong with my sensor, but I went through those rounds of confusion when I reviewed last year’s model. I ran a factory reset, tested other displays to see if I’d get different results, and so on.

The thing is, the display doesn’t seem like it should be that bad, at least if you’re not putting it next to something else. In fact, it feels pretty high-quality with a wide viewing angle. That’s what it is though. There are two key issues here. One is that you’ll value color accuracy if you care about photo and video editing, so if that’s your jam, you’ll want to stay away from this laptop.

Another key issue is that if you use a portable monitor, the experience is kind of jarring. I’m using a 15.6-inch portable OLED monitor next to this and it’s so clear that one is better than the other.

Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 Display Test

Brightness maxes out at 283 nits, which isn’t particularly bright and will cause issues with outdoor use. In fact, you should be able to see that from a bunch of the images in this article. Contrast maxed out at 1,290:1, which is fine.

Close up of Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 webcam

One thing that’s really great is the webcam. This laptop comes with a 1080p camera, something that’s still somewhat rare at this price point. It’s really nice to see in the age of working from home and video calls. It’s also got a privacy shutter for when you don’t want it accidentally turning on.

Keyboard: The touchpad design is unique

  • It has standard Chiclet-style keys, and there’s a power button in the fingerprint sensor

The keyboard on this laptop is pretty solid, using the same Chiclet-style keys that you’d find on any Dell laptop. I really like the feel of this one; it requires just the right amount of force to press a key, and it’s not too deep. Naturally, it’s backlit as well.

Top down view of Dell Inspiron keyboard

The three-sided touchpad gives it a unique look.

You’ll see in the top-right, the power button doubles as a fingerprint sensor. Unfortunately, I still have to point out that unlike every other company that puts a fingerprint sensor in the power button, Dell’s don’t scan you when you press the button. This laptop scans you after it boots up, so it’s not quite as seamless as the experience is on other laptops. There’s also no IR camera, so this is your only method for biometric authentication.

Angled view of Dell Inspiron touchpad

The big story here is that touchpad. I’ve never seen another one like it, as it’s a pretty unique design. There’s a slab of glass that spans across the entire palm rest, and as you can see from the image, the touchpad is cut out of it on three sides. It’s pretty neat. It doesn’t seem to affect usage in any way; obviously, you can’t click the top corners, not that you would anyway. It’s pretty cool, and it’s something that looks a little bit different. I like it, and even aside from the three-sides touchpad, I like the glass on the palm rest.

Performance: It has Intel’s 12th-gen U-series processors

  • Intel’s new 12th-gen U-series processors are great for productivity

This is a strange time for Intel-powered laptops. If you bought a 14-inch laptop just a year ago, it came with an Intel 15W processor, also known as the U-series. With 12th-gen, there are new 28W P-series parts that are going in some ultrabooks. I’ve seen other laptops that go so far as to include a 45W H-series CPU with no dedicated graphics.

Front view of Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1

Interestingly, there are trade-offs to all of these. Some of the ones with H-series processors actually don’t benchmark as well as this laptop, which has 15W U-series processors. After all, there’s a lot more power going through a chassis that’s not really designed to handle it. For the ones that get higher wattage CPUs and have better performance, it comes at the cost of battery life. That’s why we’re seeing some laptops, like the new Lenovo Yoga 9i, ship with a 75WHr battery.

Intel's 12th-gen U-series is perfect f productivity.

For productivity, U-series certainly seems like the way to go. It’s the best on battery life, and it doesn’t run into performance issues over time. I will say that for photo and video editing tasks, you should move toward higher-wattage processors. If you ask me, P-series makes sense for photo editing, and H-series paired with dedicated graphics is best for video editing. While I’ve now tested several laptops with H-series processors and integrated graphics, I wouldn’t actually buy any of them.

And yes, I do notice this laptop choke up on certain tasks, like with a Lightroom Classic export. That’s what I mean by a productivity laptop. This thing is great for work in the web browser, Office, Slack, OneNote, and so on.

For benchmarks, I ran PCMark 10, 3DMark: Time Spy, Geekbench, Cinebench, and Crossmark.

Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
Core i7-1255U
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
Ryzen 7 5700U
Lenovo Yoga 9i
Core i7-1260P
PCMark 10 5,305 5,320 5,616
3DMark: Time Spy 1,507 1,256 1,678
Geekbench 5 (single / multi) 1,711 / 6,700 1,151 / 6,091 1,736 / 9,525
Cinebench R23 (single / multi) 1,724 / 6,797 1,233 / 7,768 1,638 / 7,757
Crossmark (overall / productivity / creativity / response time) 1,428 / 1,450 / 1,464 / 1,265

As you can see, the PCMark 10 score is similar to the previous generation’s AMD model, although those Ryzen 5000 processors took a huge performance hit when they weren’t connected to power. You can also see that this year’s model shows some meaningful gains in other areas, such as single-core CPU tests, which are very important for real-world performance. I also threw in the Lenovo Yoga 9i because I wanted to demonstrate the difference between U-series and P-series processors.

Intel’s 12th-gen processors have a new hybrid architecture, and now has a total of 10 cores and 12 threads, whereas previous generations had four cores and eight threads. That’s a big deal, but one thing that’s changed is that only two of the cores are performance cores, or P-cores. The rest are efficiency cores, or E-cores. If you want more than two P-cores, you’ll have to go to the P-series.

As far as battery life goes, it’s pretty great. With the power set to balanced and the screen on medium brightness, the best I got was six hours and 52 minutes, which is really fantastic. On average, it exceeded five hours, which is still really good when compared with the rest of the market. Of course, this is all while using it for productivity. When I started editing photos, battery life dropped to a little under four hours.

Should you buy the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (2022)?

As I mentioned throughout this review, there are pros and cons to this laptop, and those apply to different use cases, so it’s not for everyone.

You should buy the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (2022) if:

  • You’re looking for something that’s great at productivity
  • You need a work from home laptop
  • Battery life matters to you

You should NOT buy the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 if:

  • You need Thunderbolt
  • You’re doing creative work like photo and video editing

Probably the biggest factor to consider is the display. If colors really matter to your workflow, then this is not the laptop for you. If you’re looking for something for work, then the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 is pretty sweet.

About author

Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.

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