Dell has launched a couple of new models to refresh the 11-inch 3000 series laptop, mostly because the new processors from Intel code named Kaby Lake were released earlier this fall. The new generation of 2-in-1 laptops are named Dell Inspiron 11 3179.
Not much has changed in terms of design or features from the last generation. There are four colors available and until now only one processor has been made available, unlike the three options you would have had when buying the previous model.
The 2-in-1 Dell Inspiron i3179 can be white, gray, blue or red, it’s very portable thanks to its reduced weight and size, fast due to its CPU, but has some legacy components that diminish its attractiveness to tech-savvy users. I’ll explain myself later in this review.
One thing goes uncontested: the Dell Inspiron i3179 has a stellar processor, a 7th generation dual core Intel Core m3-7Y30 unit. When in comes to performance, it manages to keep up with a mobile i3 processor in benchmark tests, but consuming only a fraction of the power. This makes it an ideal processor for mobile devices that are intended to be more portable than their counterparts.
Four megabytes of cache and a maximum frequency of 2.6 GHz make the m3-7Y30 a great CPU to use for daily tasks, with occasional flares of intensive work, such as photo editing or running scripts. It will handle all work superbly and thanks to its low energy needs, it allows the Dell i3179 to have a fanless design and further reduce battery drain and weight.
Standard system memory is fixed at 4 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM. Fixed as in you can’t upgrade, it being soldered to the motherboard. That’s not necessarily a bad thing considering 4 gigs are likely adequate for whatever tasks you may throw at your 2-in-1 laptop. It will handle moderate data sets, dozens of browser tabs, not to mention programs won’t suffer from lack of memory. At least not needy ones, such as Photoshop.
Storage is limited at 500 gigabytes of available space. Enough for moderate media collections and all your vacation photos, I think the option to upgrade to a solid state drive should be taken only if the system feels sluggish to your needs. Otherwise, I think the processor-memory combo can handle the daily operations one would need from such a device quite successfully.
Graphics and Display
The graphics department features an integrated Intel HD Graphics 615 video card, which won’t suffice if you decide to use the Dell Inspiron i3179 as a small gaming laptop. It will play older titles, but will stutter with CS:GO and other similar MMOs. However, HD video streaming will work without issues and even 4K content will be rendered without image tearing or freezing.
A rather average LED-backlit touch display is featured on the Dell’s 11.6 inch screen. It manages a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels and due to its lack of IPS technology, only average viewing angles. The resolution works just fine for such a small screen. Anything bigger would have made reading text difficult and icons too small.
As I said earlier in my review, this 2-in-1 keeps some legacy components and outdated technologies that won’t bother average users, but might just make tech savvy folks to stay clear of buying it.
One example is the failure to add an USB-C port to an otherwise mid-range device that’s oriented towards the younger generation. You know, the one that adopts new technology faster than everyone else.
Anyway, the available I/O options are:
- 1 x USB 3.0 port
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x HDMI-out
- 1 x Audio Combo Jack
- 1 x micro SD Card Reader
Another area where the Dell Inspiron i3179 feels lacking is networking. It has a 802.11bgn 1×1 wireless card with built-in Bluetooth 4.0. I’m not saying the wireless protocol is bad, I’m pointing out it’s almost 2017 and most laptops, even entry level models have the new 802.11ac protocol installed.
This doesn’t mean you’ll see dial-up speeds, it just mean you won’t be able to take full advantage of the latest generation of routers and enjoy faster speeds, increased range and reduced latency when connecting to a supported router.
Battery Life and Portability
The Dell Inspiron 11 3179 has a 2-cell, 32 Whr, integrated battery pack capable of delivering up to 8 hours of screen time before needing a charge. I’d say that’s about as much as anyone would expect from a Dell 2-in-1 notebook, sufficient for a full day’s worth of browsing the internet, editing documents, sending emails and such tasks. Anything more intense will lead to a faster drain.
As much as portability and usability is concerned, the Dell is a lightweight device, weighing just 3.2 pounds and it’s also fairly thin, measuring just 0.8 inches across. These numbers make the Dell a great travel companion and, thanks to its 360 degrees hinges, you can use it as a standard laptop, as a tent, as a presentation device or as a tablet when the screen is fully rotated.
The Dell Inspiron 11 3179 didn’t bring much innovation to the table compared to its predecessor. At a price point of $500 at the time of this review, I think it’s a good deal for a powerful 2-in-1 notebook. What it lacks in new generation features it makes up for in portability and convenience. It’s most suited for traveling enthusiasts, college and high school students who need a lightweight, yet powerful device for their daily activities.
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