This 16-inch Dell 2-in-1 is my favorite back to school laptop for under $1,000

Image of the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (7635).
(Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

I've only been using the latest Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 for a short time, but I can already tell it's a great, value-driven laptop that's perfectly suited for life at school. A large screen, great battery life, reliable performance, no major flaws, and a tantalizingly low price make this my go-to recommendations for students heading back to school (or anyone who needs a solid, large-screen laptop on a budget).

You can get the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 with a great AMD CPU, 16GB of RAM for smooth multitasking, 512GB of SSD storage to store lots of files and documents, and Windows 11 for just $900 at full retail price. That's already a great deal for what you're getting, but at the time of writing Dell is running a great promotion to take another $250 off that price, making it just $649.99 at Dell. Need more power? You can max out the Inspiron 16 2-in-1 with a more powerful AMD processor and twice as much storage for just $899.99 at Dell right now.

Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (7635): was $899.99 now $649.99 at Dell

Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (7635): <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank">was $899.99 now $649.99 at Dell

Even after just a few hours of usage, it's easy to recommend this laptop at full price. It's even better when on sale, though, and it's currently enjoying a pretty sizeable discount at Dell with an AMD Ryzen 5 7530U, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage.

Also see: <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (7635) w/ Ryzen 7 7730U, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD at Dell | <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""" data-link-merchant=""">Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (7630) w/ Intel Core at Dell

Great first impressions out of the box

The Inspiron 16 2-in-1 isn't as premium as Dell's XPS devices, but it still rocks an all-metal body that feels built to last. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Dell's latest Inspiron 16 2-in-1 is not a small device. It packs a roomy, 16:10 16-inch display with plenty of room for media consumption, web browsing, Microsoft Office, and multitasking. It's not the most impressive display with an FHD+ resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, and 300 nits rated max brightness, but it looks great in use with solid color reproduction, good contrast, and minimal light bleed. Dell pairs that display with four, Dolby Atmos-tuned speakers that get plenty loud and sound good enough for video conferences, watching movies, and even listening to music.

Elsewhere, you're getting an all-aluminum chassis with a massive, glass touchpad with Microsoft Precision drivers that's genuinely wonderful, and Dell's typically comfortable, backlit keyboard. There's no number pad here, sadly, but you're getting those quad speakers instead. Elsewhere, you're getting a very solid FHD webcam, a fingerprint sensor built into the power button for biometric logins, and a healthy number of ports with two USB Type-C (which both support 65W fast charging), two USB Type-A, HDMI 1.4, and 3.5mm audio ports.

First impressions are extremely positive, with the Inspiron 16 2-in-1 hitting all of the basics and impressing with both performance and battery life.

It's built well and every single part of the laptop's hardware and feature set is either expectantly average or surprisingly good for the price. So where are you compromising? Well, it's not with performance or battery life. This version of the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 employs the latest 7th Gen AMD CPUs and integrated graphics, and a minimum of 512GB of SSD storage. Yes, you can get a technically cheaper model with just 8GB of RAM, but it's actually more affordable to opt for a comfier 16GB of RAM with current promotions. All of this is powered by the latest Windows 11, a great operating system that is continuing to improve with regular updates.

So how does it all work in practice? I haven't had the chance to put my Inspiron 16 2-in-1 through its paces, yet, but AMD's latest mobile CPUs are very strong performers with solid efficiency, and I haven't encountered a single stutter or slowdown even when installing lots of updates and opening multiple apps. Dell has also seemingly nailed thermals, with quiet fans ensuring you don't encounter any thermal throttling over time. Finally, a 64Whr battery provides fantastic longevity (backed by quick 65W charging). After over an hour of setup, updates, and downloads, I had only lost 9% of battery. The Inspiron 16 2-in-1 has more than enough endurance to make it through a full school day of constant work and then some.

Dell's Inspiron 16 2-in-1 compares very favorably with Lenovo's competing Yoga 7i 16 (Gen 8). (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

The Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (7635) does show its price with its overall fit and finish; its design isn't terribly exciting compared to the best Windows laptops, and there is some flexing across the metal chassis and keyboard deck. Its core user experience is great, and more than meets the needs of the majority of users. If you need a large-screen laptop on a budget, I strongly suggest starting here. The 360-degrees hinge and touchscreen also mean a ton of versatility for consuming media, presenting, and even using it as a (very large) tablet when you're in a pinch. Unfortunately, there's no stylus support here.

Overall, the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 compares extremely favorably to the similar Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 (Gen 8), which enjoys similar dimensions and weight, the same convertible form factor, similarly solid battery life, and reliable performance. It also has stylus support (an optional additional purchase) and a more comfortable keyboard, in my opinion. However, the Inspiron 16 2-in-1 is more balanced overall with a better display, webcam and mics, speakers, performance (in my initial impressions), and overall value.

I'll have a full Windows Central review for the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 (7635) in the near future, but for now I'm already comfortable saying this is one of the best Dell laptops for the Back to School 2023 value hunters. For just $650 with sales, the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1 is a basically guaranteed winner.

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.