Dell goes upscale with $599 Inspiron 14 Chromebook

At the IFA event in Berlin on Wednesday, Dell introduced the Inspiron 14 Chromebook, a 2-in-1 laptop priced at $599 to start and available in the US on October 23. The laptop is among the first to use Intel’s 8th-generation processors, powered by the Core i3-8130U along with 4 GB of memory and 128 GB of eMMC storage. The 14-inch IPS touch display is 1920 x 1280 resolution and the base stores a EMR pen.

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Dell says you can expect around 15 hours of battery life on a charge, although that’s under test conditions. My guess would be at least 10 hours in typical use though based on the 56Whr battery. Had the company chose an Intel Y-series processor, which is uses less power, the actual figure might have met the claimed 15 hours. Dell is using standard 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connectivity.

The Inspiron 14 Chromebook has a pair of USB 3.1 Type-C ports as well as a full-sized USB Type-A option and a full HD webcam. There’s also a headphone jack, stereo speaker, microSD card slot and backlit keyboard in the aluminum chassis. Being a 2-in-1, the display folds completely over the back of the Chromebook for a tablet-like experience, although weighing in at 3.99 pounds, that might be unwieldy.

With these hardware specifications, some may balk at the $599 price tag. I can understand that; I’d say $499 is probably a better target price for this package. However, this is the “early cycle” tax you often see when laptops appear with next-generation Intel processors. The list price for that Core i3, for example is $281, although I’m sure Dell is paying less than that based on bulk purchases and its long relationship with Intel. However, if you could swap out that 8th-gen chip with a prior version, the price would surely be closer to, if not below the $499.

Regardless, Dell is clearly going upscale with its new Inspiron 14, which also has a larger display that many competing products. I like how the display bezels are small by comparison and the fact that this isn’t a plastic laptop. Using aluminum keeps the device relatively light while also adding sturdiness.

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