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Lifewire / Nick Jaynes
Fingerprint reader works nicely
Premium design, given the price point
Rich color display
Slim and lightweight body
5 to 6 hours of usable battery life
Can’t open with one hand
The Dell Inspiron 7370 laptop was clearly designed to compete with the likes of the first-generation Apple MacBook Air. Despite its age, the Dell is still a very pleasing machine, especially considering its price tag.
When the Dell Inspiron 7370 launched in 2017, it was ahead of the pack in terms of processing power, size, weight, and overall design. Things have changed in the last two years, however. That doesn’t mean the 7370 isn’t still a strong contender. I spent more than 40 hours testing the Dell Inspiron 7370 to see if it holds up in the 2019 laptop market.
When the laptop was released in 2017, it was competing with—among others—the likes of the MacBook Air. The keyboard of the Inspiron 7370 laptop mimics the spacing and layout of the first-generation MacBook Air, and the platinum body is also cribbed from Apple. This wasn’t a bad choice at the time, as the Air was one of the premium choices in the lightweight laptop segment.
Fast forward to today, however, and that design looks dated. The MacBook Air—along with everything else—has moved away from that design and onto darker color schemes and broader keys. That said, the Inspiron 7370's design is a good one. It has a big touch pad, a wide screen with small bezels, and a thin but sturdy body. I enjoyed the look of the 13.3-inch screen, and I applaud Dell for including so many ports.
Unlike newer Dell models, which come in nicely designed and carefully crafted boxes, the Inspiron 7370 comes in a cheap box full of cheap packing materials. It’s a veritable sea of plastic bags and cardboard. Yank the Inspiron 7370 out of all the stuff, plug it in, turn it on, and you quickly forget about the bargain-basement packaging.
It’s built for more casual users, focusing instead on surfing, video streaming, and word processing.
A virtual assistant verbally walks you through the setup process, which is dispatched in a matter of minutes ... assuming you've got speedy Wi-Fi. If you don’t, it's a slower process. Thankfully, the Inspiron 7370 setup process lets you skip most screens and options, like setting up a Microsoft account for example, if you’re not ready. Within five to seven minutes of cracking open the Inspiron 7370 (with two hands, mind you—the Dell hinges are notoriously stiff), I was surfing the web.
Not so long ago, I preferred reflective displays. Then the industry upped its game and produced displays that didn’t reflect heavily but produced vivid and rich images. In the process, my opinion of reflective screens also flipped: I now saw them as low rent and tacky. I expected to feel the same about the Dell Inspiron 7370’s reflective screen.
Certainly, in the wrong light or at odd angles, I saw more of myself reflected in the display than I did the desktop image, which is annoying. Outside of those lighting environments, I really enjoyed the crispness of the 13.3-inch display’s image. The reflective nature allows images to look really sharp, which is nice given the laptop’s meager price tag.
With a reflective screen also comes pronounced fingerprints. If you’re going to be putting this computer in front of a child often, be sure you’re ready to clean it often.
In accordance with Lifewire testing standards, I ran a PCMark test on the Inspiron 7370 laptop. Overall, it scored 4,107. The highest result was for essentials, for which the Dell scored an 8,472. Productivity is where it had a moderate score of 3,317. It fared worst of all at Digital Content Creation, receiving a score of 2,019. The PCMark results highlight the fact that users who ask of it more than web conferencing and browsing may be disappointed by its overall performance.
Running the GFXBench test on the Inspiron 7370 laptop, it returned a score of 5,906 frames per second (fps) on the T-Rex simulation and 1,598 fps on the Car Chase simulation. These aren't great scores compared with laptops built for gaming, but this machine was never intended to compare to those gaming monsters. It’s built for more casual users, focusing instead on surfing, video streaming, and word processing. Given the intent of this machine, these scores are strong.
Built-in speaker sound output is a downfall of this thin laptop. The two speakers produce a tinny sound and they project downward into your desk or lap, which is far from ideal. Making matters worse, they lack virtually all bass and don’t get particularly loud.
That said, the onboard headphone jack output is stellar. It can get almost frighteningly loud in wired headphones. So, skip trying to play audio with the Dell Inspiron 7370 itself and opt when you can for headphones.
On the online internet speed test, connected to my 5GHz Wi-Fi network, the Dell Inspiron 7370 returned 78.21 Mbps download and 25.65 Mbps upload. On my 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, speeds dropped to 67.8 Mbps download but upload remained fairly consistent at 25.05 Mbps upload. Given my area and ISP, this is a very strong result.
The Dell Inspiron 7370’s 720p webcam is a good one. It’s not the most crisp image, but it does well in low light scenarios and image noise remains minimal. I didn’t find it jittery in the slightest nor was there noticeable lag. It’s certainly not cinematic quality or even close to what most modern smartphones offer, but given the laptop’s age and price, it's a good image.
Given the Inspiron 7370’s age, a limited battery life capacity is expected. And it performed as anticipated. In short, battery life of the 38 Watt-hour three-cell battery was fairly low and honestly a bit disappointing. Streaming full HD Netflix, I only got 5 hours and 19 minutes of battery life. You may be able to achieve a full workday without requiring a recharge, if you're diligent with your usage. However, I never made it a full day without needing to plug in.
At this price, if you can look past the dated design, it's a great value.
When it comes to personal preference, I generally prefer Mac to PC, so I'm most accustomed to OS X. This review represented one of my first real forays into Windows 10 Home. I was mostly impressed. It was quick and much more intuitive than previous Windows iterations. Since Windows 10 Home isn’t new, just like this laptop, I won’t belabor the operating system. Suffice it to say, if you’re accustomed to Windows PCs, this is another fine execution.
The Inspiron 7370 is old now. Dell no longer lists its manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP), but you can find it for around $600. At this price, if you can look past the dated design, it's a great value. Other 13-inch laptops with Quad-Core processors routinely retail around the $1,000 mark. At around $600, this one is a tremendous value while it lasts.
The Inspiron 7370 compares well to the XPS 13 2-in-1 (view on Dell), which we also tested.
Like we just discussed, the Inspiron 7370 can be found for around $600. It has a 13.3-inch screen, a Quad-Core 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, and a 3.09-pound weight.
The XPS 13 2-in-1 is priced starting at $1,000. For that, buyers get a 13.4-inch 1920 x 1200 resolution 19:10 aspect ratio touchscreen display. The battery life is at most 16 hours, but far less in my real-world testing. It weighs 2.9 pounds and comes standard with a 1.3GHz Intel Core i3 processor. And let’s not forget, of course, it’s a 2-in-1.
The XPS is just shy of double the price. But it’s a 2-in-1 and has a longer usable battery life. However, if you don’t need the extra battery or a touchscreen display, the Inspiron 7370 is a strong value.
Interested in reading more reviews? Check out our roundup of the best Dell laptops.
Look past the outdated design.
If you want to get your hands on an inexpensive laptop that will compare nicely in look, feel, and productivity power to your friend’s first-generation MacBook Air, look no further than the Dell Inspiron 7370. It won’t wow anyone who sees it parked in front of you at a coffee shop, but it won’t break your bank account either. Plus, with this laptop, you can use the money you’ll save on some great new headphones.