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Dell Inspiron 16 Plus review: A MacBook Pro alternative for much less


Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

Josh Goldman/CNET

There are plenty of 15.6-inch laptops, but 16-inch models like the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus are something of a rarity. The most notable being Apple’s MacBook Pro, but there’s also the excellent LG Gram 16 and Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme, as well as a handful of gaming laptops. Those models all have something else in common besides their screen size, though: They’re more expensive than the Inspiron 16 Plus, which starts under $1,000.

The 16-inch display is a great size since the laptop is barely bigger than a 15.6-inch model, but you get more room for work and typically a roomier keyboard and touchpad along with it. That’s the case with the Inspiron 16 Plus. The body is roughly the same size and weight as the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and its aluminum body, slim screen bezels and clean design give it a higher-quality look and feel you might not expect from an Inspiron laptop. And I haven’t even mentioned what you can get inside yet. 

8.5

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

Like

  • Excellent performance, battery life
  • Great design for the money

Don’t Like

  • No display options
  • Flex in lid, keyboard

Because of chip shortages and production delays, prices and availability continue to fluctuate on laptops from Dell and others. The Dell Inspiron 16 Plus starts at about $1,000 at the moment in the US, £815 in the UK and AU$2,999 in Australia. It can be configured with an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 H-series processor, up to a 1TB solid-state drive and up to 32GB of memory, although 16GB is the max amount you can get at the moment. You can also choose from integrated graphics or a 4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, or 60-watt RTX 3060 with 6GB of memory. Fully loaded it’s $1,616 right now, which is much less than the $2,199 Apple wants for the base 16-inch MacBook Pro. 

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

Price as reviewed $1,421
Display size/resolution 16-inch 3,072×1,920 display
CPU 2.3GHGz Intel Core i7-11800H
Memory 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
Graphics 4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Storage 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD
Ports HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 4.0 USB-C, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A (x2), SD card reader, combo audio jack
Networking 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.1
Operating system Windows 10 Home (21H1)
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

A full-size SD card is a rarity you get with the Inspiron 16 Plus. (The porthole vents are a nice touch, too.)


Josh Goldman/CNET

To be clear, I’m not saying this Inspiron has the same build quality as the MacBook or even Dell’s own XPS 15 or 17. While the chassis is metal, the lid doesn’t have the rigidity of a premium laptop and there’s also some flex to the keyboard deck. It’s also running Windows and not MacOS. But if you’re looking for more processing and graphics performance in something that’s not a gaming laptop or as pricey as the other 16-inch options, this Inspiron has that all wrapped up. 

Remarkably, the battery life is also really good considering it has discrete graphics, hitting 10 hours, 11 minutes on our streaming video test. It can also be charged through its Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port; its 130-watt power supply uses a barrel connector. And, while this is meant as a general-purpose laptop or for creators for photo, video and graphics work, it can be used for gaming when configured with the 3050 or 3060 GPUs, too. However, the laptops use Nvidia’s Studio drivers and not game-ready drivers.

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

The 16:10 screen ratio gives you more vertical room to work than a 16:9 display.


Josh Goldman/CNET

The 16-inch display is good for basic content creation. Its brightness hit 291 nits — just below its rated 300 nits — which might have been an issue with a glossy screen, but with this display’s matte finish, reflections are minimized. Also, the display covers 100% sRGB and 81% AdobeRGB color gamuts. Again, it’s a good display. The only disappointment is that Dell doesn’t offer any other options like a touchscreen or one with greater brightness. 

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

The backlit keyboard nearly goes edge to edge. 


Josh Goldman/CNET

Dell didn’t skimp on the keyboard or touchpad, either. Both are spacious and feel good. The keyboard’s backlit keys have 1.3mm of travel and a pleasant pop to them, so they don’t feel mushy. The touchpad is smooth and accurate and I didn’t experience any palm-rejection issues or cursor jumpiness. They’re just all-around good. Also, there’s a fingerprint reader in the power button.

The built-in webcam, mics and speakers are all on par with what you’d typically get at this price — fine but nothing special. Dell did put in a physical privacy shutter for the webcam, so you can block it and only be on camera when you want.

XPS for less?

The line between Dell’s premium XPS laptop line and its mainstream Inspiron models gets blurrier every year. There are still clear differences in materials, build quality and component options, but laptops like the Inspiron 16 Plus really do look and feel like you’re buying a high-end device at a lower price. There’s much to like here, from its aluminum exterior and palm rest to its port assortment to its excellent performance and battery life. It’s a premium laptop at a better price. 

Geekbench 5 (multicore)

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

7601

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5

7328

Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6

7192

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

7133

HP Envy 14

4897

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R23 CPU (multicore)

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5

11977

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

11766

Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6

11543

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

10412

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

PCMark 10 Pro Edition

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

6775

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5

6531

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

6265

Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6

6252

HP Envy 14

5462

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

UL Procyon Video (1,920×1,080)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

5389

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5

5208

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

4124

HP Envy 14

3350

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Far Cry V (High @ 1,920×1,080)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

99

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5

98

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

69

Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6

59

HP Envy 14

46

Note:

Frames per second; longer bars indicate better performance

Streaming video playback battery drain test (minutes)

Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6

756

HP Envy 14

661

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

611

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5

513

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

407

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

System Configurations

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-11800H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050; 512GB SSD
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen 7 5800H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070; 512GB SSD
HP Envy 14 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650Ti graphics; 256GB SSD
Acer Swift X SFX14-41G-R1S6 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.9GHz AMD Ryzen 7 5800U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM; 4GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050Ti; 512GB SSD
Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen 7 5800H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060; 512GB SSD



Source from www.cnet.com

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