Dell's "Black Edition" Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 is a rather attractive convertible that gives fans of the XPS 13 2-in-1 a more affordable alternative. Despite its more agreeable price, the 7390 holds onto plenty of premium features, including 4K touch display with precise color and active pen support. I used it for about a week to see what it's all about and whether or not it's worth being your next device.
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1
Bottom line: A colorful 4K touch display, sleek aluminum chassis, and excellent keyboard and touchpad round out this XPS alternative's features.
- 4K touch display with precise sRGB color
- Innovative pen storage in the hinge
- Premium aluminum design with black finish
- Comfortable backlit keyboard and Precision touchpad
- Decent port selection
- Limited configuration options
- Speakers buzz
- Battery life could be better
- Hinge joints are a bit flimsy
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 at a glance
Dell supplied Windows Central with a review unit of the refreshed Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 Black Edition. It's a 13.3-inch convertible Ultrabook complete with 4K touch display and pen support, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor (CPU), 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive (SSD) with 32GB of Intel Optane memory. This exact model costs about $1,372.
There's one other option available with 256GB SSD and no Intel Optane memory, available for $100 less at about $1,274. If you're looking for a model with lesser performance, you're out of luck. There's only the Core i7 "Whiskey Lake" CPU option and 16GB of soldered RAM, though you can upgrade the M.2 SSD after purchase if you need more than 512GB of storage.
Here is a detailed breakdown of the exact hardware found in our review unit.
Intel Core i7-8565U
Up to 4.6GHz
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Storage||512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
Intel Optane H10 32GB
3840x2160 (4K UHD)
Touch, glossy, WVA
Dolby Vision HDR
microSD card reader
4.5mm barrel charging
Waves MaxxAudio Pro
|Wireless||Intel Wireless-AC 9560
802.11ac (2 x 2)
|Dimensions||12.08 x 8.5 x 0.54 - 0.63 inches
(306.76mm x 215.92mm x 13.66mm - 15.90mm)
|Weight||3.08 pounds (1.397kg)|
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 design and features
The Inspiron 13 7390 is built from a solid piece of stamped aluminum, finished with a black matte paint that inspires the "Black Edition" branding. It does pick up fingerprints and smudges, but it's easy to wipe down. You don't get the same quality CNC machining as you find with the XPS lineup. But stamped aluminum isn't far behind when it comes to durability and precision. The Inspiron 7390 weighs more than the XPS 13 2-in-1 and is considerably thicker, but it's nonetheless a device that you'll easily be able to tuck under an arm or into a bag.
The hinge is one of the most critical parts of a convertible laptop. And Dell has made an innovative change that I don't doubt many other manufacturers will reproduce. All models ship with an active pen for Windows Ink. And instead of having it magnetically attach to the side of the laptop (or not at all), it has a dedicated cutout on the inside of the hinge. It attaches magnetically to keep it in place, and it can be pulled out at any time in tablet, stand, or tent mode.
Now that it's been done it's hard to imagine why it wasn't done earlier. But it might have to do with the integrity of the hinge. Joints feel a bit flimsy, and there's a bit of a dead zone just past a 90-degree angle where the lid can sort of float. The action is altogether smooth, and you won't have any issues converting to different modes, but the hinge could no doubt be better. It's the first rendition, so it's understandable it's not perfect.
The combination of 4K touch display, active pen, a comfortable keyboard, and strong performance make this a versatile convertible that costs less than an XPS.
The Inspiron 13 holds onto a more varied port selection than the XPS 13 2-in-1, offering HDMI and USB-C on the left side, as well as USB-A, 3.5mm audio, and microSD card reader on the right side. You can charge through the USB-C port, and the laptop ships with a barrel charging adapter. You can still connect to a USB-C docking station and easily handle video out, though lack of Thunderbolt 3 on a laptop this modern at this price might be troublesome.
The laptop's power button is thankfully not placed on the edge of the device where it can easily be hit in tablet mode. It's instead located in the top-right corner of the keyboard, and it's weighted differently to require a much harder press to activate. Even if you accidentally mash it while typing or rotating the display around, it shouldn't put your laptop to sleep. For some added security, a fingerprint reader is built-in for Windows Hello. It's quick and accurate with no issues. There's no IR camera above the display, but the standard 720p camera will do for video conferences and stills.
Audio is often not great on small Ultrabooks, though convertibles — which make it easier to consume media — should have serviceable speakers. Unfortunately, the Inspiron 7390's audio is a miss. Speakers buzz even at low volume, and audio is thin. If you want to watch movies, TV, or listen to music, you'll do best with a quality set of headphones.
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 display and inking
Instead of the usual FHD and 4K display options offered by Dell, the Inspiron is only available with a 13.3-inch 4K WVA touch display. It's bordered with thin bezel along the sides and top, with a thicker chin along the bottom. In tablet mode, there's enough to hold onto without accidental presses on the display, yet used as a notebook it gives off a premium air. A 16:10 aspect ratio would be more than welcome for the extra screen real estate, especially in tablet mode. For now 16:9 remains the standard.
Brightness hits above 300 nits, but due to the glossy finish, the display is susceptible to glare in a well-lit room. It's not a deal-breaker, but you might find yourself maneuvering the laptop to find a glare-free view on extra sunny days. Testing color accuracy, I got back 100% sRGB and 77% AdobeRGB, both excellent results.
The 4K resolution is brilliant, but at 13 inches it would be nice to see an optional FHD model. Not only would it be less expensive and better for battery life, but it also wouldn't make a huge difference for most people who are going to use the laptop for productivity and occasional media consumption.
Pulling the N-Trig pen out of the unique storage delivers an average inking experience, with 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity and no tilt support. It works great for jotting down notes or sketching out ideas, but don't expect anything miraculous when used with advanced design or art apps. The pen includes two customizable buttons for shortcuts.
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard is black to match the rest of the laptop, with a three-stage white backlight for working in the dark. Keys are flat but smooth, and they all have equal and adequate travel. Typing for long periods is comfortable, and anyone who needs a device for pure productivity should be satisfied.
The Precision touchpad is sized appropriately for the rest of the laptop, and it's ringed in a silver bevel to better advertise its position. It matches the color of the keys, and there's a small line to denote left and right clicks. It's smooth, there's room for Windows 10 gestures, and I had no issues during use.
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 performance and battery
With 8th Gen Intel "Whiskey Lake" Core i7-8565U CPU and 16GB of RAM, the Inspiron 7390 delivers performance to easily cut through general productivity tasks. There are only two configuration options, and you're limited to choosing between 256GB and 512GB SSD.
It would be nice to see 10th Gen Intel hardware here, especially for better-integrated graphics and Wi-Fi 6 support, though performance-wise the Whiskey Lake CPU isn't far behind. You'll have to check out Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1 if you're set on a 10th Gen Intel CPU, though for a Core i7 you're looking at a considerably higher price.
The 52Wh battery would be much better suited to an FHD display, touch or not, since the 4K display here sucks up a considerable amount of power. I got between six and seven hours of life from a charge when going about general work — word processing, web browsing, video streaming — with a balanced power plan and brightness at about halfway. That's not bad, but it's not enough to leave the AC adapter behind.
I ran some synthetic benchmarks to see how well the Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 holds up against other laptops we've recently reviewed.
Geekbench 5.0 Benchmarks (Higher is better)
|Device||CPU||Single core||Multi core|
|Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1||i7-8565U||1,111||2,965|
|Dell Precision 3541||i7-9750H||1,117||4,720|
Geekbench 4 scores sit somewhere around the 5,000 single-core and 16,000 multi-core mark.
|Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1||3,764|
|Dell Precision 3541||3,906|
|HP Pavilion x360 14||3,558|
|Lenovo ThinkBook 13s||3,468|
|Chuwi LapBook Plus||961|
Geekbench 5.0 OpenCL (higher is better)
|Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1||5,632|
|Dell Precision 3541||NVIDIA Quadro P620||12,469|
Integrated Intel graphics aren't going to fulfill any gaming aspirations. Check out our roundup of great gaming laptops if you need something with a dedicated graphics card (GPU).
CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)
|Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1||1,440.3 MB/s||359.2 MB/s|
|Dell Precision 3541||3,468.8 MB/s||2,220.4 MB/s|
|HP Pavilion x360 14||537.8 MB/s||195.4 MB/s|
|Lenovo ThinkBook 13s||1,604.1 MB/s||851.4 MB/s|
|Chuwi AeroBook||530.1 MB/s||476.2 MB/s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T490s||3,060.7 MB/s||1,542.3 MB/s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T490||3,254.8 MB/s||2,954.9 MB/s|
|Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1||3,110 MB/s||2,825 MB/s|
The PCIe SSD certainly isn't as speedy as more premium laptops include, though you can do an upgrade yourself after the purchase with a high-performance SSD.
Should you buy Dell's Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1?
If you're in search of a compact convertible laptop with balanced performance, colorful 4K display, and casual inking function, the Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 is easy to recommend. The stamped aluminum chassis isn't quite as premium as the CNC machined chassis you'll get with the XPS lineup, but it's a close second. It's sleek, the black matte finish looks great, and the hinge, while a bit flimsy, doubles as magnetic storage for the active pen. It's a smart design, and I don't doubt we'll start seeing it on more laptops… as long as this one doesn't fall apart after a few months.
I would like to see an FHD display option for better battery life — six to seven hours isn't enough to get through a workday — and a lower price, but configurations are limited. Speakers are also disappointing, but that's all you'll have to put up within the face of an otherwise first-rate laptop.
The Inspiron 13 7390 can act as a suitable media machine thanks to the 4K display — with a good set of headphones — yet it can also act as an excellent productivity machine thanks to comfortable keyboard, sizeable Precision touchpad, and 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and upgradeable M.2 SSD. If the 7390 isn't quite what you're looking for, be sure to check out our roundup of the best overall Ultrabooks out there right now.
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