The Dell Inspiron 16 Plus is a laptop that relies on an 11th-generation Intel Core processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 graphics card. Sold at a low price, it targets designers.
Dell's Inspiron laptops come in a variety of screen sizes, prices and components. Today we're going to take a look at the Inspiron 16 Plus version "cn76107", a versatile computer for creators and gamers. Indeed, this model is equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card that allows it to tackle these tasks. Offered at a starting price of around $1400 - with occasional promotions that place it below that - when many "studio" computers for creators easily exceed $2000 or even $3000, this laptop is the ideal companion for those who want to equip themselves properly without spending too much money.
Dell is used to excellent build quality with its XPS series, and this Inspiron 16 Plus is no exception. The bluish aluminum chassis is solid and the finish is impeccable, with chrome trim around the chassis and touchpad. The thin edges of the 16:10 screen also reinforce the premium look of the PC, without being on par with its XPS cousin.
There's nothing to report about the keyboard, which is still pleasant to type on. A numeric keypad is embedded on the right, as well as a fingerprint reader to unlock the computer quickly. The backlighting is only adjustable on three levels, which is a little light. The touchpad is quite large and fluid in use; however, we regret that it sinks a lot under pressure, especially on its lower edge.
The 720p webcam is not Windows Hello compatible and therefore does not offer facial recognition. However, it has a manual cover that you can slide off to deactivate it. This is a security feature that is becoming more and more common on the latest PCs, and is useful for cutting off the video in meetings, for example. Unfortunately, the webcam's rendering is not very good, and as soon as the brightness drops a little, the image quickly becomes pixelated.
The connectivity is quite complete on the edges. There are two USB-A 3.2 ports, a DisplayPort compatible Thunderbolt 4 port (allowing the PC to be recharged), an HDMI 2.0 port, an SD card reader and a mini-jack socket. Enough to satisfy almost all uses.
Dell chose to use Phillips screws on the outside and inside of the PC chassis, a good idea that allows most people to access the components without special tools. Inside, a removable M2 SSD, two RAM slots (also removable) and a free slot for a small M2 2230 SSD can be found under metal and plastic covers. This complete scalability is a good surprise, especially since the battery can be changed without much manipulation.
The cooling system works well since the temperatures remain contained despite the heating generated by the graphics card. There is a hot spot around 46°C on the top of the keyboard, and a little over 47°C at the air outlets in full game, which is still quite cool. On the other hand, the Inspiron 16 Plus is noisy when the fan is running at full speed. We noted a peak of 41.2 dB: less than the big gaming PCs, but clearly audible.
The Dell Inspiron 16 Plus we're testing here is saddled with a high-end Intel Core i7-11800H processor, GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. This H-series CPU is clocked at 2.3 GHz with a turbo at 4.6 GHz. It benefits from a high thermal envelope of 45W. It was able to reach an average of 2.9 GHz on HandBrake, a good performance that explains its high CPU index, which places it slightly ahead of the Ryzen 7 5800H.
The PC's dedicated graphics card allows it to activate hardware acceleration in certain programs such as Photoshop or Adobe Premiere, which makes it particularly interesting for professionals and designers. Processing times are much faster than with a processor alone, although the PC is obviously not as efficient as models with RTX 3060, 3070 or 3080. In Blender, for example, 3D rendering time for a project is cut in half by enabling GPU acceleration, but the RTX 3050 is still twice as slow as the RTX 3060.
While this PC is primarily dedicated to this type of task where it has proven to be a good performer, it can of course be used for gaming and its RTX 3050 takes advantage of DLSS and raytracing technologies. Undemanding games like Diablo III (high graphics) and Overwatch (low graphics) were able to far exceed the 60 fps that the PC's 60 Hz display can display by setting the definition to 1920 x 1200 px (153 fps and 162 fps respectively). On Assassin's Creed Valhalla, the graphics settings set to Ultra are a bit too demanding for the PC, which only reached 40 fps on average. It will be necessary to lower the graphics for more fluidity and get closer to 60 fps.
As its name suggests, the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus is adorned with a 16-inch panel. It has a definition of 3072 x 1920 px and covers 100% of the sRGB space. Our tests showed its many qualities: delta E of 2.7 and color temperature of 6653 K which ensure a good color accuracy, a high contrast ratio for an IPS panel (1560:1) and an average reflectance of 17.7% thanks to its matte appearance.
We also calculated an appreciable screen occupancy rate of 84%. The screen score falls somewhat on its maximum brightness, which is only 293 cd/m² (even though the manufacturer announced a value very close to 300 cd/m² and a very high 30 ms afterglow that could display ghost trails in video games, for example).
The speakers are located under the chassis, an unwise choice for a PC, especially since they are not of very good quality, as is unfortunately often the case on laptops. There is still some low-midrange in this thick chassis, but the bass is absent and the highs are prominent. Turning off the Maxxaudio integrated audio software processing allows for a more natural sound, but the overall volume is greatly reduced. So there's not much you can do, except to use a good pair of headphones or a speaker.
The headphone output is satisfactory in almost all respects: the distortion of 0.003% is excellent, the crosstalk of -58 dB remains low and the dynamic range of 92 dB is sufficient. The output level of 150 mVRMS is however not high enough to use monitoring or Hi-Fi headphones. That said, no problem with consumer models.
Mobility / Autonomy
The components of the PC increase the weight of the PC which slightly exceeds 2 kg. It is therefore quite heavy, but quite thin with 19 mm thickness (355 x 24.7 x 19 mm for the total dimensions). It is necessary to add 525 g for the 130 W charger with the cables. This one is also proprietary, but we would have preferred a USB-C charger in the form of a block for more compactness. The USB-C port of the device can also be used for charging (via a third-party power supply), but this will be slower than with the power supply that comes with the device. In addition, Dell has chosen to put a rubber band on the charger to store the cables. Not very aesthetic, but useful.
In terms of autonomy, the PC lasted 7 hours and 35 minutes of video playback on Netflix via the Chrome browser, with the screen set to 200 cd/m² and the volume at 50% with the headphones plugged in. A correct result for a computer with a dedicated graphics card, but far from the best models of the moment.
The Dell Inspiron 16 Plus is a good surprise. This PC has a lot of qualities, whether it's in terms of finishes, scalability, performance of its processor and graphics card that should satisfy creators, or its well-calibrated 3K screen. In addition, the price is low for this type of computer. Finally, we can only reproach it for being a bit heavy and for hosting an unflattering webcam.