Dell Inspiron 13 5368 Review – Great for Work, Awesome for Videos

Dell Inspiron 13 5368 Review – Great for Work, Awesome for Videos

You don’t always find a laptop that’s good for both work and the universal need to binge on videos. The Dell Inspiron 13 5368 is one such device. You will marvel at its awesome display – sharp details, good contrast, great viewing angles, punchy colors – and enjoy the sound the stereo speakers make: full, not tinny, and rarely strained. We know so because the first thing we did was fire up YouTube and watch movie trailers. And then we went to work – 20 tabs on resource-hog Chrome, a few heavy spreadsheets, Skype calls, Photoshop, and at no point did the Dell Inspiron 13 5368 lag, stutter, hang, or get too hot on your lap. 

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Above: “Upright Landscape Mode”. The touchscreen of the Dell Inspiron 13 5368 flips all the way back to allow four modes – laptop, tent mode, stand, and tablet. But this is our favorite mode for walking around with the notebook.

Dell Inspiron 5368 Full Specs

  • 13.3-inch FHD (1920×1080) Truelife LED-Backlit Touch Display with Wide Viewing Angles-IR Camera
  • 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6500 U Processor (4MB Cache, up to 3.10GHz)
  • 8GB RAM (Dual Channel DDR4 2133MHz; 4GBx2) | 256GB Solid State Drive | Intel HD 520 Graphics
  • Noble Lock Slot, HDMI, 2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, SD Card Reader
  • Stereo speakers tuned with MaxxAudio by Waves
  • McAfee Security Center 15 month subscription
  • 1Yr ProSupport: 24×7 phone support, NBD Onsite Service
  • 42WHr, 3-Cell Battery (Integrated)
  • Height: 19.5mm – 20.4mm | Width: 324mm | Depth: 224.8mm | Weight: 1.62Kg
  • SRP Php 52,690.00
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The Surely Good

  • Display is awesome – sharp details, punchy colors, good contrast, great side and vertical viewing angles. We keep coming back to how great the display is (and how loud and full the audio from the speakers are) and our friends keep commenting on the display and speaker, too. So that’s saying something.
  • Flipback display is good for reducing glare, for watching videos, and for presentations. Tablet mode on your lap, with the display slightly angled up to face you, is great for watching movies or reading on websites.
  • Touchscreen makes certain tasks easier – swiping up or down a webpage, swiping right or left for the next image, pinching out to zoom for image and text enlargement, and for pausing video. Of course, when it comes to switching between apps during heavy work sessions, your personal work flow takes over – whether you heavily Alt-Tab on the keyboard or swipe three fingers up on the touchpad to reveal running apps – and the touchscreen is not as key. But it’s nice to have.

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  • Dual speakers under the keyboard are very loud and clear, and doesn’t sound strained even at max level. You actually don’t need to go to max level when in a relatively quiet room. This makes the Dell Inspiron 13 great for presentations and for video binging on Netflix.
  • We mentioned the”four modes” the hinges allow (a term borrowed from Lenovo’s Yoga line up of notebooks) and you can see them in the slider below. The modes, by the way, are not limited to four.
  • Dell Inspiron 13 5368 unboxing, Dell Inspiron 13 5368 specs, Dell Inspiron 13 5368 review
    Normal Laptop Mode.
  • Individual keys looked small, but the keyboard is very responsive. Keys are spaced out well and has enough travel. We don’t miss the lack of backlighting.
  • The directional/page up and down keys are, unlike on many laptops, not of the same height. Meaning the up and down keys are not cramped to be of the same height as the left and right ones. Meaning, there’s space above the left and right keys for your fingers to feel out and navigate based on. We love this.

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  • The touchpad is large enough and is super responsive. No jumping around cursors. There’s a certain texture to the touchpad that makes for “sure” gestures – swipes, pinches, taps “feel” that you’ve made them. There’s no glass surface feel, as this is not glass. But the smooth gliding, perfect tracking, precise “bite” when clicking all feel reassuring.

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  • Not the thinnest or lightest 13.3-inch notebook, but is thin and light enough to carry around, from table to table, comfortably. (Thin white notebook above is the ASUS ZenBook UX305CA.)
  • The presence of 3 USB ports (2 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0), in a sea of thin and light notebooks (ASUS ZenBook 3, Acer Aspire Swift 7) that ditch the full-sized USB port, is always welcome.
  • The notebook has a certain business-like sleekness, despite the build, which is plastic but “solid”; no creaking and barely any flexing on the middle of the keyboard – that’s awesome.
  • While the underbelly can get hot over long periods of use, the warm part is near the center and further into the spot between the display hinges, so you can still use the notebook on your lap despite the slight warmth. We like this. People who like to type for long periods on their notebooks while it’s on their lap will like this, too.

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  • The hinges that allow a 360-degree display flipback are very sturdy. The resistance to bending the display is just right and the touchscreen display doesn’t wobble as much as we’d thought when we tapped on it. These sober-looking hinges contrast with the ostentatious ones on expensive Yoga notebooks, like this one.
  • The 256GB SSD is just the right storage space – you won’t worry about Windows or app updates filling up your C drive.
  • The cocktail of Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD results in very fluid multitasking – launching and switching between running apps. 20 tabs on Chrome (which is a resource hog) and two Word documents and four Excel sheets and several file browser windows – not a problem. You might as well watch a full HD movie while all those are open. We haven’t experienced any annoying lags or stutters or hangs.

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  • Unlike some notebooks, the power button is not where the Delete button should be. The power button is on the right side corner, near where your right palm would rest.
  • A physical volume rocker, near the power button, really helps in pumping up or quieting down the volume of your what you’re watching or listening to. It may be easier to use said physical buttons than hunting for the F2 (volume down) and F3 (volume up) keys. Also, when watching horror videos in the dark, it’s easier to reach for the side physical volume keys, than madly scrambling to touch the display or the touchpad to kill the volume, only because one of the characters is screaming too loudly.
  • You get a McAfee Security Center 15 month subscription. But as with any bundled-with software, you can delete this is you have your own preferred anti-malware / security set up. Except for MacAfee, there’s no bloatware to worry about.

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  • The display is “raised” – there’s a space below it where the Dell logo appears. This slight elevation affects the sight line and neck posture of users – we like it since we don’t have to crane our necks slightly lower. Also, leaning back and away from the display is also more comfortable, again because of the raised display. This is a small thing but deeply appreciated by those who work long hours with their laptops. Like us.
  • About 6 and half hours of battery life, with moderate usage, and this is with the display at 50% brightness, because 75% brightness can sometimes be overkill. With heavy usage (Photoshop, MS Word, 20 browsers tabs open, etc.) about 5 hours.
  • The power-on indicator light is just below the touchpad, and faces the user, so it’s clearly visible. No need to twist the notebook to the side to look for the LED light telling you the notebook is on. A nice touch right there.

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  • This one’s a technical thing, but the Dell Support website can help you check if the drivers you have are up to date. This is a great thing for those of us who make sure our systems run the most updated drivers.
  • 1Yr ProSupport: 24×7 phone support, NBD Onsite Service. Essentially, “ProSupport Plus is the only complete support service combining 24×7 priority access to expert support, accidental damage repair, and proactive, predictive monitoring for automatic issue prevention and resolution. With the top quality support, small businesses are equipped with a true partner in managing their end-to-end IT infrastructure.” Learn more about it here.
  • Lastly, the display really begs to be used for videos, image tweaking on Photoshop, reading webpages in full screen, and staring at docs and spreadsheets.

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The Maybe Bad

  • Average, but dependable, 6.5 hours of battery life on moderate usage. The Dell Inspiron 13 5368 doesn’t have an Optical Disc Drive (ODD) and yet it looks thicker than most notebooks without an ODD, so some people might expect a bigger battery inside, and a usage time of about 7 to 8 hours. Still, the 6.5 hour battery life isn’t so bad given the enjoyable user experience.
  • Non-backlit keyboard. We don’t miss it though, as my wife and I are the type who turn backlighting off. It distracts us. But there is an optional configuration where the keyboard can be backlit. Just not on this one.

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  • USBs are not blue-colored, you can’t immediately tell which are USB 3.0. But the website product page tells you the left side ports are both USB 3.0. In practice, this makes sense, because the right USB port, the 2.0, is often dedicated to a USB / Bluetooth mouse.
  • Not everyone might like or appreciate the flipback display, especially the hardcore clamshell-style notebook lovers. But once you see its application for media consumption and for presentations, it’s great. Still, tablet mode – with the display flat against the back of the keyboard – is still awkward.
  • Not for gaming, but notebooks like this aren’t meant to be.
  • Slightly thicker and heavier than other thin and light notebooks, but we don’t find the slight chunkiness a deal-breaker, especially with the great display, loud speakers, comfy keyboard and touchpad, and sleek business-like build.

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  • Keys have a non-expensive, low-key look, but actually have a soft rubbery feel to them when typing. Typing is quiet, comfortable, and keys are spaced out well and individual key presses have enough “drop”. Don’t be fooled by the non-complicated look of the keyboard. It’s a good one. Touch before you judge.
  • Price point is near plasticky notebooks [1] [2] that can handle mid-level gaming, but are neither as portable nor as tightly built as this one.

 

The Verdict – 4 Stars

We love this. Despite the average 6.5-hours of battery life, the Dell Inspiron 13 5368 wins us over in terms of user experience. The selling points are the large, bright, and sharp display and the loud and full audio. These are backed up by the comfy keyboard (though not backlit), the responsive and large textured touchpad (no weird skips and jumps, doesn’t feel cheap), the three USB ports, and the utter speed of the i7 plus 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. The low key design – gun metal gray on plastic – means people will notice the awesome screen more than anything else. The Inspiron 13 5368 is a joy to use for work and even more awesome for videos and image tweaking and presentations. You rarely hear people say “joy to use” when describing a Windows notebook, but there it is.

Also, the flip back touchscreen bends backwards for both glare reduction on laptop mode and for videos or presentations on tablet or tent mode. (The display is something we keep harking back to, because it really does become centerpiece to the user enjoyment – you’ll barely notice how capable the keyboard and touchpad are because they properly fade into the sidelines.)

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The final feature that we love is not something you find common on many notebooks these days – the ability to have the notebook on your lap for hours on end, without it becoming uncomfortably warm. This is possible because the underbelly part that gets warm is near the center of the keyboard and closer to the part between the keyboard and the display – and away from either of your legs. This means, if the cafe or conference table you’re in doesn’t have much room for your notebook, by all means place it on your lap and work away. No leg burn to worry about.

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OVERALL
The Dell Inspiron 13 5368 has a bright, crisply detailed, 13.3-inch flipback touchscreen display with great viewing angles and contrast - great for presentations and movies. The two speakers under the keyboard are surprisingly loud and full. Again, great for multimedia consumption. These are backed up by the comfy (though non-backlit) keyboard, a generously sized and non-cheap-feeling highly responsive touchpad (no skips or lags), and 6.5 hours of battery life. The Intel Core i7, 256GB SSD, and 8GB of RAM make for a speedy multitasking experience that can take the abuse of so many open tabs on Chrome, multiple open Excel spreadsheets, and switching between them. The not so obvious killer feature is the fact that you can place the Inspiron 13 on your lap and it won't heat up. That's because the part that heats up is safely in the middle of the underbelly, away from one's legs. This makes for a fast laptop without the risk of leg burn. Keep in mind though that this notebook is slightly chunkier than others in the thin and light category.

Author

Irwin Allen Rivera loves his wife's cooking so much he's now twice the man he used to be. His English essay won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2012. His philosophical-horror story appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 8 (2013). He was managing editor and lead writer of Sites and Symbols 2 (2005), a coffee-table book about buildings in UP Diliman - his alma mater (BA Philosophy; MA Creative Writing continuing). He worked at the UP Diliman Information Office before shifting to web content writing. His sudden fiction, "Notwithstanding Pigs," initially a Friendster testimonial, appeared in Philippines Graphic (2006) and in Very Short Stories for Harried Readers (2007). He used to write for www.technoodling.net.