We've covered in depth Dell's lower end convertibles which have more in common with a high end tablet than they do with a mid range laptop. However, now it's time to look at more high end models such as the Dell Inspiron i3169-0013GRY.
This new convertible doesn't qualify as a high end convertible neither is specs nor in price, however it does sit comfortably in the segment of mid range laptops that also happen to be convertibles. To this point we've got a Core M3 processor, 4GB of RAM, ample storage as well as the ever present flip screen with touch capabilities. Without further delay, let's get on with our review of the Dell Inspiron i3169-0013GRY.
Pros: Core M3 CPU, 500GB of storage, 4GB of RAM (maximum 8GB), 3 USB ports + HDMI port, lightweight design.
Cons: 2 cell battery offers between 4-5 hours
Dell Inspiron i3169-0013GRY Review of a stylish convertible
An attractive design with a juvenile look
At first glance you can quickly tell that the Dell Inspiron i3169-0013GRY isn't your "premium convertible" in the sense that it doesn't have a sleek aluminium finish but rather a plastic body with a nice design that doesn't aim to look "professional" but rather joyful and "young". With curved edges, this 11 inch convertible sets itself apart in a market packed with laptops of straight lines and polished finishes.
The display at hand is an 11.6 inch LED-Backlit display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and an HD resolution. While it's true that at this price range you'll find quite a few Full HD laptops that's not really the case in terms of convertibles who typically favour an HD resolution when they have to make the call between screen resolution and internal components.
As with most laptops this size, weight is a non-issue, weighing just slightly over 3 pounds. Also typical of this screen size is a more compact keyboard that neglects to include a numeric pad which we appreciate when it comes to the overall ergonomics since otherwise it would be quite an uncomfortable typing experience.
A solid performance
What sets this convertible apart isn't the screen but its internal components. Specifically, we appreciate that Dell went all out and placed an Intel Core M3 6Y30 dual core processor. This is one of the latest Core M processors to hit the market and while its base frequency sits at 0.9GHz it can reach a maximum speed of 2.2GHz when we're being more demanding.
This is a very good processor and if you're not used to dealing with Core M processors you could say that in terms of performance it's about as good as a 4th generation Intel Core i5. Chances are, you've encountered one of those and had a solid experience as far as processing performance.
System memory in the case of the Dell Inspiron i3169-0013GRY is 4GB of DDR3L SDRAM but you'll be pleased to know that this particular laptop supports up to a maximum 8GB of RAM, meaning there's no limit to your multitasking ambitions.
Either way, 4GB is pretty good when combined with the M3 processor so we would always advise you check out performance before doing an upgrade, you might not see the need for additional RAM once you start using the laptop.
Overall you can expect a good experience on all fronts: video chatting, editing docs, creating presentations, light video and image editing, streaming video and so forth should work just fine with this set of key specs.
What about graphical performance? Is this a gaming laptop?
We have yet to see a convertible that can truly double as a gaming laptop and the i3169-0013GRY is no exception to this. With an integrated Intel HD 515 Graphics chip you can play some 2D games or low demanding games such as SIMS 4 and World of Warships but hoping this laptop will smoothly play the latest blockbuster games is just setting yourself up for failure.
Battery life and available storage
One advantage that the Core M processor brings to the table is power efficiency. In this regard we can appreciate that battery life for this model is along the lines of 5 hours according to most customer reviews on models such as this one with another color.
With a 2 cell battery and the hardware it's packing our own predictions don't really differ from that and we'd say a solid 4-5 hours of moderate usage are to be expected but not much more than that.
As for storage, there's a 500GB HDD spinning at 5400 rpm. Surely an SSD unit would've pleased many users but considering the fact that an SSD would have limited storage to 128GB at best I'm still gonna opt for the 500GB drive, especially when speed is a non issue thanks to the CPU and available RAM.
What may I plug in?
A review of the Dell Inspiron i3169-0013GRY would hardly be complete if we didn't take a look at connectivity. In this area we've got 3 USB ports, an HDMI port, microSD card reader as well as an audio combo jack.
It goes without saying that this convertible packs Bluetooth and WiFi b/g/n support as well as a webcam. It's also understood that being an 11 inch laptop comes with certain limitations such as the lack of a DVD drive or the lack of an RJ45 port for a wired internet connection.
Conclusion: To buy or not to buy? That is the question!
As we wrap up the Dell i3169-0013GRY review we've gotta say we're more inclined towards buying than not buying it. The Core m3 processor delivers a solid performance similar to that of a slightly older Core i5, expandable RAM is a big plus that's not afforded on many convertibles and while the screen isn't Full HD it's not something that really bothers us in an 11 inch form factor.
All in all, this is an extremely portable convertible which does a good job at delivering a good experience both as a laptop and as a juiced up tablet with high end components. If you're in the market to buy both things but don't have the budget to do so then this model is the best compromise of both worlds delivering a good performance at a low price tag.