It seems as though there are two kinds of convertibles: the ones that have more in common with a tablet and the ones that have more in common with a laptop. It's hard to find a middle ground in this segment even though finding the middle ground is kind of the point to the whole convertible laptop thing. Today we're going to take on a convertible that does its best to meet us with the best of both worlds. Specifically we're going to review the Dell i3168-0027RED.
This affordable convertible packs a nice 11 inch display, eMMC storage and the processor we've come to expect on entry level laptops. Without further ado, let's get down to business!
Pros and cons:
Pros: Celeron N3060 CPU, eMMC storage, lightweight original design, 3 USB ports, decent battery life, extremely competitive price.
Cons: 2GB of RAM limit multitasking capabilities.
Dell i3168-0027RED Review of a convertible with a laptops processor
Bold design and perfect display size
Upon first sight, the most striking thing about the Dell i3168-0027RED is its red colouring, a color that's been largely absent from the laptop and tablet market which makes for a youthful design that sets itself apart. The convertible itself isn't particularly heavy, weighing roughly 3.2 pounds and measuring less than 1 inch.
The display at hand is an 11.6 inch HD LED-backlit display with a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. It's a form factor that we're all too familiar with and though the display doesn't offer up a Full HD resolution it's something we can learn to live with given the price tag on this model.
The keyboard itself is pretty comfortable to type in, something that's not all that common within this for factor. Being a convertible it goes without saying that the display can be completely folded so as to be in tablet mode, it also goes without saying that this is a touchscreen.
Mid range performance
When it comes down to the performance of the Dell i3168-0027RED, we find ourselves with a mixture of features that signal to both a laptop as well as a tablet. The CPU, for example, is an Intel Celeron N3060 dual core processor working at a base speed of 1.6GHz and reaching its maximum efficiency at 2.48GHz thanks to turbo boost.
It should be noted that this particular processor is typical on entry level laptops therefore we were a bit surprised to find it on a convertible since it would seem to be a bit "overpowered" for what's expected on a convertible.
Continuing with the key performance features we've got 2GB of DDR3 RAM and here's where things get interesting. You see, had this convertible features a 4GB module of RAM we would say that we're looking at a laptop that also happens to double as a tablet but the fact that it has 2GB of RAM means that, in terms of multitasking, the Dell i3168-0027RED will perform very much like a tablet.
In this regard, while the CPU is powerful enough to handle tasks such as light video and image editing as well as your standard document creation and video streaming, the RAM available on this model means you shouldn't aim to do all these things at once since you'd quickly run out of memory. However, if you do these tasks separately and aim to use this notebook for some light computing then you should be fine.
Battery life and storage
Battery life on this review of the Dell i3168-0027RED is comprised of a 2 cell battery which, according to the main specs should deliver anywhere between 4-6 hours of usage depending on your usage patterns. What this means is that for video streaming you won't get the same battery life as you'd get with light internet browsing.
On the storage front we're reminded once again that this notebook has been mostly inspired by a tablet and we find ourselves with 32GB of eMMC storage. For those of you who don't know, eMMC storage is better than traditional HDD storage yet not as high performing as SSD storage.
That said, if what you're concerned about is storage capacity we should point out that there's a very easy workaround which consists of buying and inserting a microSD card. This is a quick and cheap way to double or even triple your base storage without having to worry about opening up the laptop.
Anything else worth knowing?
Finally, as our review comes to a close we should point out the connectivity options available. In this sense we've got 3 USB ports, that's 1 more than most 11 inch laptops get, an HDMI output and the previously mentioned microSD card slot. Obviously there's an audio jack as well as an integrated webcam with a mic.
We should also point out the availability of WiFi b/g/n connectivity as well as Bluetooth support in case you wanted to use some bluetooth speakers, for example.
In closing this review of the Dell i3168-0027RED it's quite clear that we're looking at a device that has been conceived to live somewhere in the middle between an entry level laptop and a high end tablet. As a main laptop it might fall short on RAM if you're an intensive multitasker while as a tablet it might fall short on battery life if you're looking for a device that's completely independant.
All in all, it has a mix of specs that we've grown to like, especially once we consider the very low price tag attached to this model.