Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) review: Great performance and battery life, even without Snapdragon

The Dell Inspiron 14 Plus is an impressive, albeit boring, mid-range Windows laptop.

Image of the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440).
(Image: © Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Windows Central Verdict

Dell's mid-range 14-inch laptop now comes with Intel Core Ultra inside, resulting in an excellent blend between performance and endurance. The design is boring and the display should be brighter, but the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) is overall a very well-rounded Windows laptop for the price — and it could be even better when the Snapdragon X series variant releases.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent overall performance for the price

  • +

    Consistent and long-lasting battery

  • +

    Surprisingly comfortable keyboard

  • +

    Varied selection of ports, including HDMI

Cons

  • -

    Display could be brighter and more vibrant

  • -

    Some thermal throttling under load

  • -

    Touchpad is weirdly inconsistent

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Dell makes a laptop for every price range, every use case, and every possible customer. The Inspiron line occupies the middle of Dell's Windows laptop family, and the Inspiron 14 Plus may be the most approachable, mainstream device of the bunch. It's compact, balanced, capable, and reasonably priced, but did Dell make the right compromises in the right places? I've spent a few weeks with the laptop to find out.

At the end of my time with it, the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) genuinely impressed me with its dependable performance and stellar endurance thanks to Intel Core Ultra, and pleasantly surprised me with the comfort of its keyboard and its port selection. It's thicker and heavier than other 14-inch devices and it can run hot, but this laptop is easy to recommend. It's already one of the best Dell laptops you can buy, and that's before it gets ARM-based Snapdragon X series SoC options.

Disclaimer

This review was made possible with a review sample provided by Dell. The company did not see the contents of the review before publishing.

Inspiron 14 Plus review: Pricing and specifications

The Inspiron 14 Plus is an unassuming mid-range Windows laptop. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Pricing highlights

  • The Dell Inspiron 14 Plus starts at just $999.99 with an Intel Core Ultra 7, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 1440p display.
  • Even maxed out with a Core Ultra 9, 32GB of RAM, an 1800p display, and Windows 11 Pro, the Inspiron 14 Plus is only $1,399.99.
  • Considering its performance and battery life, plus the overall experience, the Inspiron 14 Plus is a generally excellent value.
  • Value rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Reviewed configuration

• Price: From $999.99 at Dell
• Display: 
14-inch WVA, 16:10 aspect ratio, 2.2K (2,240 x 1,400) resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, 300 nits max brightness, anti-glare, non-touch, ComfortView Plus support
• CPU:
Intel Core Ultra 7 155H (16 cores, 22 threads, up to 4.8GHz
• GPU: 
Intel Arc
• RAM:
16GB LPDDR5X @ 6,400MT/s
• Storage: 
1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD
• Battery: 
64Whr, 100W USB Type-C charger
• Connectivity: 1x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4, 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x 3.5mm audio jack, 1x microSD, Wi-Fi 6E AX211, Bluetooth
• Dimensions:
314 x 226.56 x 15.99-18.99mm (12.36 x 8.92 x 0.63-0.75in)
• Weight: 
1.6kg (3.53lbs)

The Dell Inspiron line isn't known for being terribly expensive, and the Inspiron 14 Plus firmly sits in the "mid-range" of Windows laptop pricing. It's a capable, well-rounded laptop with few major compromises that starts at $999.99 at Dell, which nets you an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU with Intel Arc graphics, 16GB of fast RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, and a surprisingly sharp 1440p display. This is the configuration I reviewed, and it's honestly the one I'd recommend to most people considering this laptop.

However, even if you decide to max out the Inspiron 14 Plus in Dell's configurator, you're still only looking at $1,399.99 at Dell. That upgrades you to a beefier Intel Core Ultra 9 185H processor with 32GB of RAM, a higher resolution 2.8K display, and Windows 11 Pro. It's a reasonable upcharge considering the upgrades, but most people won't notice the differences and are better off saving their cash. If I was to recommend a midway configuration, it's the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) with a Core Ultra 7, 32GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage, and that 2.8K display for $1,199.99 at Dell.

It's worth mentioning that the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus is about to get a Windows on ARM variant, which will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Plus, and will be supported by 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, and a QHD+ touch display. This configuration will be $1,099.99 at Dell, and should offer comparable performance and even better battery life than the Intel Core Ultra version, although the configuration I reviewed may still be the better overall value for most people.

In the box, you get the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) and a 100W USB Type-C fast charger. The laptop also comes with a year of Dell's Premium Support for any issues you may have.

Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) | Core Ultra 7 | 16GB RAM | 1TB SSD — $999.99 at Dell

Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) | Core Ultra 7 | 16GB RAM | 1TB SSD — $999.99 at Dell

This laptop may be one of the best mid-range value propositions for anyone in the market for a 14-inch Windows laptop. It's consistently fast, lasts for hours on end, and is well-rounded in almost every category. It's a great laptop through and through, and that's before it gets Snapdragon X inside.

Inspiron 14 Plus review: Design and build quality

The laptop's design reflects its price tag, with a heavy and curvy chassis. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Design highlights

  • The Dell Inspiron 14 Plus is an aluminum laptop with a lot of curved edges and obvious vents.
  • The laptop feels rock solid, but the design is boring, and it's heavier than I'd like.
  • Port selection is varied, at least, even if there's only one USB Type-C port and the HDMI port is limited to 1080p output.
  • Design rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) isn't going to win any design rewards, which is what'd you expect at this price point. However, this is still an aluminum laptop with very solid construction. There are no rough edges or seams, and the only noticeable flex is in the center of the keyboard deck. The Inspiron 14 Plus instills confidence with its dense design, but it is heavy (3.53lbs) considering its diminutive 14-inch footprint.

You don't get a lot of ports, but you do get a variety. On the left side, you get a DC power port (a holdover from the last generation, as this laptop uses Type-C charging), an HDMI 1.4 port that's unfortunately limited to 1080p output (sorry, no 4K here), a USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, and a USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port that also supports 100W Power Delivery. On the right side, you get a second USB Type-A port, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

It would've been nice to get HDMI 2.0 and a second Thunderbolt 4 port, but I'm glad Dell still included legacy ports instead of going all Type-C like many other manufacturers. The right side is also interrupted by a large exhaust vent, which isn't the cleanest look but gets the job done.

Inspiron 14 Plus review: Display quality

This is a sharp display, but in all other areas it's fairly average. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Display highlights

  • The Inspiron 14 Plus uses a WVA-style IPS display, which basically means it has a vertical pixel orientation instead of horizontal.
  • It is a QHD+ display instead of the FHD+ commonly found at this price, which means the display is suitably sharp.
  • However, display quality is overall just okay, with middling color accuracy, saturation, and brightness.
  • Display rating: ⭐⭐⭐½

As the name suggests, the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) is packing a compact 14-inch display. The OLED panels we've seen in so many premium laptops is nowhere to be found here; instead, Dell used its WVA tech (read: another IPS display) to save costs. One area where the company did not cut corners, though, is the resolution. This is a QHD+, 1440p screen with great pixel density. Contrast levels are also quite good for an IPS display, and backlight bleed appears to be mostly minimal, with some streaks along the bottom edge.

It's the brightest or most color accurate display, but it's functional. (Image credit: Windows Central)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
SettingBrightnessBlackContrastWhite point
0%23.80.011,790:16,200 (0.318, 0.329)
25%87.30.061,590:16,200 (0.318, 0.329)
50%173.70.101,800:16,300 (0.317, 0.329)
75%251.30.151,660:16,300 (0.316, 0.328)
100%337.10.211,640:16,400 (0.315, 0.328)

Unfortunately, that's where the unanimous positives end. This is a rather washed out display, losing out in vibrancy. And, while it does technically support HDR video stream, the Inspiron 14 Plus' display barely breaks 300 nits of max brightness. Finally, color accuracy is on the weak side. It's not a bad screen and is fine for most of what people do on a laptop, but it definitely isn't going to amaze anyone with its quality.

Inspiron 14 Plus review: Performance and thermals

One of these rear-facing vents is entirely fake. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Performance highlights

  • Now powered by Intel Core Ultra, the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus has frankly phenomenal performance.
  • It scores well in benchmarks, sure, but in real-world usage this laptop is smooth, responsive, and consistent.
  • However, graphical power is a little lacking and this laptop can get hot and throttle under load.
  • Performance rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

If you simply need a compact, highly capable laptop with great performance, the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) could save you a ton of money. That's because this laptop now packs Intel Core Ultra inside, resulting in fantastic overall performance that rivals (and often bests) laptops two to three times the price. Yes, that includes the Dell XPS line, even those with discrete NVIDIA GPUs.

The Inspiron 14 Plus I reviewed comes with a Core Ultra 7 155H, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. It boots up fast, logs you in fast, wakes from sleep fast and... Well, you get the point. It's responsive, apps open smoothly and stay lag-free, and even a wide assortment of browser tabs isn't enough to bring this laptop down. It runs amazing, full stop.

Benchmarks reflect that, too. The Inspiron 14 Plus performed well in every test, often competing with gaming laptops and considerably more expensive Ultrabooks. Even among laptops powered by the same Core Ultra 7, the Inspiron 14 Plus performed admirably. This laptop only has two weaknesses: thermal performance and graphical prowess.

The Inspiron 14 Plus can get rather hot under load, and can experience some thermal throttling. The fans get loud but mostly do a good job keeping things running smoothly, even if one of the rear vents is fake (I'm not joking). However, the Intel Arc graphics accompanying the Core Ultra CPU — while still miles better than the old Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics — perform a little worse than basically any other Intel Core Ultra powered laptop I've tested.

Inspiron 14 Plus review: Battery experience

There may be a DC port here, but you actually charge the Inspiron 14 Plus through its Type-C port. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Battery highlights

  • Another area where the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) impresses is with battery endurance.
  • I could regularly get 7-8 hours of real usage out of this laptop, without having to manage features or stretch the battery at all.
  • 100W USB Type-C charging also makes topping off the laptop a breeze, even if it does take up the one and only Type-C port.
  • Battery rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

What's the point of having a powerful laptop if it can't last away from the outlet? This isn't a gaming laptop, after all. The Inspiron 14 Plus doesn't have to worry about that, though, since this laptop has a tendency to just keep going. The 64Whr battery inside isn't extravagantly massive, but the combination of Intel Core Ultra and a more basic display seemingly translates to long-lasting endurance. Even when the laptop does die, 100W USB Type-C charging takes care of things quickly.

The Inspiron 14 Plus impressed in this battery benchmark, but its real world use shows great endurance, too. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Yes, the Inspiron 14 Plus scored well in PCMark 10's battery rundown test, which simulates waves of general usage, but I was more impressed by the laptop's real-world endurance. Generating a Windows Battery Report returned an estimated battery life of 8 hours and 36 minutes per full charge, and that tracks with my expectations. Without turning down options or trying to squeeze as much life out of the battery as possible, the Inspiron 14 Plus is consistently an all-day machine for me.

Inspiron 14 Plus review: Keyboard and touchpad

This is a fantastic keyboard and a decidedly average touchpad. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Keyboard highlights

  • The Inspiron 14 Plus' backlit keyboard is surprisingly comfortable and responsive, with a great layout.
  • However, one of the function keys doesn't have a shortcut, and only the Core Ultra 9 variant of this laptop has a dedicated Copilot key.
  • The touchpad uses Microsoft Precision drivers, but it's not impressively large and has strangely inconsistent performance.

The Dell Inspiron 14 Plus has a fairly standard Dell keyboard, but it has a comfortable layout and a responsive action for every key. It takes no time at all to become accustomed to this keyboard, although there are some oddities. For one, the "F9" key simply doesn't have a secondary function, for some reason. Really, Dell, couldn't add a "Next track" media shortcut, or Airplane Mode toggle, or performance profile switch, or anything else?

On top of that, the new Copilot key seen on many new Windows laptops only appears on the Intel Core Ultra 9 variant of the laptop, for some reason. As for the touchpad, it has a smooth surface and a nice sharp click, and does use Microsoft Precision drivers for gesture support, but performance is inconsistent. I encountered many jumps, stutters, and small instances of latency during my time with the Inspiron 14 Plus — all minor, but still issues not found in most Windows laptops I've used.

Inspiron 14 Plus review: Everything else

It's great that there's a fingerprint sensor here, but I wish it was more reliable. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Other highlights

  • A middling webcam, decent microphones, and loud but average speakers round out the Inspiron 14 Plus experience.
  • Wireless connectivity performance does feel solid with Wi-Fi 6E and built-in Bluetooth.
  • There's no Windows Hello facial recognition, but a fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button is decently reliable.
  • Other features rating: ⭐⭐⭐½

As always, let's finish this review off by rounding up all the straggler features. Biometric authentication, for example, is here in the form of a Windows Hello fingerprint sensor. There's no facial recognition option, but the fingerprint sensor is fast... When it works. For me, it failed about 30% of the time, which is unfortunate. Wireless connectivity is more consistent, at least, with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth both working well and with no issues.

Both the webcam and dual-array microphones are average at best, with the webcam struggling to retain detail, color information, and brightness. It's useable, though, as it's at least 1080p. The dual speakers are marginally more impressive, getting louder than your average laptop. They don't sound amazing, with tinny highs and a general lack of clarity, but it's enough for video conferences and casual media consumption.

Inspiron 14 Plus review: Competition

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is still my favorite 14-inch laptop, but it also costs a lot more than the Inspiron 14 Plus. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

If you're here, it's likely because you're looking for a budget conscientious laptop to handle all your computing needs. The Inspiron 14 Plus is a tough value to beat thanks to its stellar performance, but that doesn't mean there isn't competition in the space. The Lenovo Yoga 7 (Gen 9), for example, has an even lower starting price and offers comparable performance and endurance thanks to AMD Ryzen CPUs. Its display and camera are well below average, however.

My personal recommendation, however, is the ASUS Zenbook 14 (UM3406). This is an awesome value laptop with great performance, battery life, and a gorgeous OLED touch display. The Inspiron 14 Plus is a little more reassuring with its build quality and a little more consistent with its performance, but overall I'd take the Zenbook 14 if I had to choose between the two. 

Inspiron 14 Plus review: Score card

Swipe to scroll horizontally
AttributeRating & notes
Value5/5 — It's not the flashiest or most feature packed laptop, but its rock solid performance, great endurance, and well-rounded hardware make it a great value.
Design4/5 — The Inspiron 14 Plus is boring and heavy, but it's durable and features a good number of ports.
Display3.5/5 — A high resolution and good contrast levels can't save this display from its poor saturation and max brightness.
Performance4.5/5 — Intel Core Ultra means this laptop can outperform even significantly more expensive laptops, and it always feels fast and responsive.
Battery4.5/5 — Rain or shine, the Inspiron 14 Plus just doesn't quit. This is a laptop to go the distance.
Other features3.5/5 — There are no major misses here, but the touchpad, webcam, and speakers are all just average.
Overall4/5 — For those looking for a well-rounded mid-range laptop with great performance, this is a very solid pick.

Inspiron 14 Plus review: Final thoughts

For those on a budget, the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) is a boring, safe option. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

You should buy this if ...

You want a value-driven laptop with great performance and endurance

The Inspiron 14 Plus' two greatest strengths are the ones often compromised by a low price tag. With Intel Core Ultra inside, this laptop can handle practically everything you throw at it, including light graphically intensive tasks like gaming. On top of that, it'll last all day.

You don't want to wait for Snapdragon X series laptops

The Dell Inspiron 14 Plus is one of many laptops getting the Snapdragon X treatment, meaning there could be a variant of this device coming soon with comparable performance, better battery life, and more AI capabilities. If you don't want to wait or would rather stick with Intel, though, this laptop is available now.

You should not buy this if ...

You care a lot about display quality

One of the Inspiron 14 Plus' biggest weaknesses is its display. It's not a bad screen, per se, but it's definitely not going to win any awards. There are laptops in the same price range with better displays that are more vibrant, more color accurate, or more responsive.


When it comes time to buy a new Windows laptop, it's important to decide what your priorities are. Often, when you're working on a tight budget, you have to compromise on core pillars like performance. Even when you're choosing from the best Dell laptops, that's often the case. Fortunately, that's simply not true with the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440).

While this laptop certainly shows its mid-range colors in areas like the display or overall design, it doesn't lose anything in performance or battery life. This is a fast, powerful, and long-lasting Windows laptop that doesn't fail to meet expectations anywhere... Even if some parts are just average compared to the competition. The Dell Inspiron 14 Plus isn't exciting, but it's a fantastic option in a sea of mediocre Windows laptops.

When it gets Snapdragon X series SoCs inside of it, the Inspiron 14 Plus may become even better. As it stands, this is already one of the best Windows laptops for those on a budget. You can get the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus (7440) from $999.99 at Dell, but watch out for sales. I've already seen the configuration I reviewed go for as low as $849.99.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.