Imagine you are a laptop maker looking to build a new high-end convertible notebook. There are crucially two factors you need to balance for a compelling product — power and portability. Considering the two-in-one form factor, it is obvious the laptop needs to be as lightweight as possible. Second, there’s the price which essentially means you can not skimp on performance either. On top of that, you need to make sure it doesn’t heat up when users are holding it in the tablet mode for watching videos, play games, what have you. It’s difficult, yes.
A myriad of companies has tried and mostly failed to try to strike an equilibrium in that equation. Dell is one of them, and their new Inspiron 7373 is yet another shot at this. The company introduced the notebook in India a few weeks back for a starting price of Rs 74,490. I have been employing the machine as my primary workstation for over a week, and in a lot of aspects, the laptop does impress. But is it worth that cost which goes all the way up to Rs 94,490 for the core i7 variant?
If Only Looks Could Kill … the Competition
The Inspiron 7373 features a convertible design which lets you flip around the screen in any position you’d like, yes, like the one we first saw on a Lenovo Yoga years back and then on many other convertibles. The body flaunts the company’s standard aluminum design language which is not a bad thing at all. The notebook has a classy, rich look and has its own aesthetic which stands out in any group. Unlike the XPS series, however, there’s no carbon fiber beside the trackpad. It’s also surprisingly lightweight at just 1.45kg, a trait that will come in handy in the tablet-only mode.
In spite of that, the Dell Inspiron 7373 sports a healthy port selection for the future and present. This includes 2x USB-A 3.1, one USB Type-C, one standard HDMI port and an SD card reader as well. The webcam, which thankfully is not located at the bottom bezel, is decent enough for video calls and is compatible with Windows Hello too so that you can log in with just your face. There’s also a whizzy charging indicator which is a nice touch.
The 13.3-inch touchscreen, while not entirely bezel-less as the XPS lineup, comes with narrow borders which complement the premium design further. Speaking of the display, it is perhaps one of the few disappointing aspects of the Inspiron 7373. The 1080p panel, while is sharp and vibrant, lacks ample brightness to be clearly visible outdoors.
In addition to that, it’s highly reflective, so I had to adjust it based on the light source behind me constantly. Yes, if you’re the kind of person who largely functions through an external monitor, this is not that big of an issue. I’m, though, glad to report that the screen doesn’t wobble when you tap on it in the laptop position. It even supports pen input. However, a stylus is not included in the box.
The precision touchpad is another minor letdown of the Inspiron 7373. While the good news is that it is compatible with all the Windows 10 gestures, its texture is quite bad. It is extremely rough for starters which becomes a critical hindrance when you are, for instance, dragging something with the pointer. It also feels shallow and makes an ugly old-school clicking noise.
The keyboard, on the other hand, is a joy to use. The keys offer enough travel (1.1 mm) for anyone to type effortlessly. They are sufficiently spaced across the board and produce that satisfactory noise we all like (Okay, fine, I like). It is backlit as well, although you only have three intensity levels to choose, one of which turns it off completely.
The speaker is located under the keyboard itself, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best ones I’ve heard. Dell has included Waves MaxxAudio Pro for processing audio and even bundles an application if you’d like to tune the more granular aspects of the output. It’s loud, clear and even manages to produce a little bass.
Out of the box, the Inspiron 7373 runs on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and comes installed with minimal bloatware. There are a few Dell apps for warranty, service, MaxxAudio; you get the idea. The performance has remained outstanding for me even under heavy load. Although I should clarify that I was using the 8th-gen core i7 variant which packs a whopping 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD. Still, I assume, even on the i5 model, you shouldn’t encounter lags or hiccups in both day-to-day scenarios or while trying to juggle between tens of Chrome tabs.
The integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU is definitely not meant for gaming. Even while trying to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the laptop was able to churn out a frame rate of only 25fps. Hence, you can imagine how will it handle more advanced titles.
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For a powerhouse like this, battery life has been mostly average for me. It generally lasted four hours on casual use. For me, that includes multi-tasking between a couple of chrome tabs, WhatsApp Web, Simplenote, and the TickTick desktop apps. However, if your casual use includes activities like video streaming for a couple of hours, you will get around 2.5 hours. Yeah, it’s bad. Therefore, I would suggest opting for the i5 model if you prefer endurance over power.
My biggest concern with the Inspiron 7373 is its inability to handle the heat. The laptop becomes almost unusable on the lap as the bottom-top portion tends to get inconveniently warm. The issue is not that apparent in the tablet mode, fortunately. That is largely because the keyboard blocks the rear from reaching the body in that position. Furthermore, the fan is extremely loud and can be annoying in public spaces.
So should you buy the Dell Inspiron 7373? There is no easy answer there, unfortunately. At a starting price of Rs 74,490, it offers a ton of compelling bells and whistles like Windows Hello, a vibrant display, great build quality, premium design, impressive speakers, a good keyboard and one of the very few convertible laptops which come with 8th gen Intel Core i5/i7 processors. But the short battery life, rough trackpad, and the heating issue make it tough for us to wholeheartedly recommend this to everyone. The i5 model, though, should make battery life and heating aspects slightly better. If you live with the drawbacks I mentioned, the Dell Inspiron 7373 is an option worth considering. If you prefer better battery life, however, we would suggest the Lenovo Yoga 720 but do note that we still don’t have the 8th Gen processors in India and they cost considerably more than Dell Inspiron 7373.