Its Surface line of hybrid laptops, Google is still challenging the Redmond giant by sticking to its mantra of launching affordable machines that cater to users who are always on the move. It was the latter that proved laptops could be manufactured with low-cost hardware and speedy software.
Dell’s new Inspiron Chromebook 14 7486 2-in-1 is an addition to the line of Chromebooks made for those who are always on the move and work within Google’s ecosystem of apps and services. Today, we take a deep dive look at the hybrid laptop and see if it’s better than the other Chromebooks available in the market.
Designed to look “meh”
Before we even powered up the new Chromebook from Dell, the feeling of going back in time just dawned on us and in a negative way. The design aesthetics of the Inspiron Chromebook 14 7486 is similar to every other Chromebooks that have been launched in the past and will not make the crowd go “wow”.
However, the Chromebook 14 7486’s build quality makes up for that boring design. The aluminum chassis is durable and can withstand external elements it comes in contact with when the user is on the move.
Weighing in at 3.99 pounds, the new Inspiron Chromebook 14 7486 is light-weight. The weight of the Chromebook 14 7486 is balanced when propped up on our lap or tilting the screen 360 degrees for the touch experience. The new Chromebook 14 7486 fit perfectly in our backup without needing us to compromise on any additional space.
Coming to the keyboard and trackpad, the design may feel similar to Apple’s MacBook Pro. The only downside of the keyboard is the missing dedicated number pad that could add to the other productivity features the product provides and the absence of backlight underneath the keys. Typing on the keyboard was comfortable and the keystrokes were responsive as well with adequate key travel. The trackpad has a smooth surface and touch inputs were recognized by the system instantly with no lag.
As of connectivity ports, it comes with two USB 3.1 Type C ports, USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, audio jack and SD card reader.
Performance is great, conditions applied
The new Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 7486 2-in-1 can run the Google web apps without any hiccups until you try to multitask with more than 5 or 6 apps. The 8th Generation Intel Core i3-8130U chipset can help you browse the web, check your emails, handle spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations with buttery smooth performance as long as you do not stress the CPU to point that it feels choked up. Some of this performance decrease is also associated with Chrome OS, which we will discuss further.
Multitasking between apps is limited due to the 4GB RAM that comes in the new Chromebook 14 7486 2-in-1. Using web app versions of Google Sheets or Docs and browsing the web through Google Chrome while listening to music through another webpage is the maximum performance the new Chromebook can churn out. Adding more web pages while you research on a topic and also browse YouTube to look for the right video for your project can start slowing down your system.
It’s not that the hardware is bad, but Dell is making it clear that the Chromebook line of devices is not meant for heavier tasks. The Inspiron Chromebook 14 7486 is a device that lets you navigate Google’s ecosystem of apps and services from anywhere without breaking your bank. This means you will have to sacrifice your dream of owning a fast productivity machine.
Tucked away neatly on the underside of the new Chromebook 14 7486 2-in-1 is a stylus that compliments the 14-inch FHD TrueLife touch screen display. With a myriad of developers launching apps on the Play Store, most developers have also created apps for designers to work on projects while commuting.
Not limited to the cloud
Working on Chrome OS is entirely different from spending hours on a Windows system. With Chrome OS, you can instantly access all your emails and Google Drive files without any extra setup. You can choose to keep the device connected to the internet and access all your files or save them on the internal 128GB eMMC storage.
This is an advantage as you can work on documents in the subway where internet connectivity may be a problem for you. You can save the file locally on the Chromebook and transfer the file to external storage for backup or if you wish to continue working on the document on a Windows PC. Additionally, once the system is connected to a network, all your files are automatically backed up to Google Drive.
A balance of work and play
The new Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 7486 is not all about work! With the built-in Google Play Store, you download the same games that you play on your Android device and enjoy them when you decide to take a break from work. The touch response of the display is accurate and we enjoyed playing Fruit Ninja in co-op mode during our lunch break.
Although we do say that the Chromebook 14 7486 can game, it is only possible when the device is resting on a desk. The weight and dimensions of the device do not make it ideal to use holding it with two hands.
The new Chromebook 14 7486 is also a great entertainment device to consume a lot of content like movies and TV shows.
No worries on battery life
Dell claims that the new Inspiron Chromebook 14 7486 offers a 10-hour battery life. During our testing, we observed that under heavy usage the device was able to deliver close to 7 hours of performance. Stress testing involved loading multiple web pages, browsing YouTube, working on Docs and watching movies. And regular usage, we limited the Chromebook primarily to productivity tasks and reduced content consumption. We still got more than 9 hours of battery life at the end of the day.
This proves again that the software and hardware are meant to handle day to day productivity tasks, unlike other more expensive Windows devices that can handle more tasks.
Chrome OS is still not for everyone
Chrome OS has been struggling to keep up with Windows even after all these years. Windows has even entered Chromebook territory by launching cheaper Surface devices to entice students and bring them into the Windows ecosystem. Chrome OS is largely at a disadvantage due to the inability to support other 3rd party desktop Windows apps like Adobe Premiere or Microsoft Office.
Many in the industry have relied on Win32 desktop apps to complete their tasks and the Chrome OS cannot handle any of them mainly for the reason that all the apps in Chrome OS run as an instance of Google Chrome. Be it browsing the files on your external storage or opening Gmail.
Ever since the launch of Chrome OS in 2011, manufacturers have designed and launched many Chromebooks into the market. Every device does justice to the vision that Google had created of bringing affordable computing to students and professionals. Every iteration of the device, no matter how powerful, fell short due to the limited usage of Chrome OS.
|Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 7486 Specs|
|Processor||8th Generation Intel Core i3-8130U|
|Display||14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)|
|Battery Life||Up to 10 hours|
|Operating System||Chrome OS|
|Where to buy||See Price at Amazon|
The story of the new Dell Inspiron Chromebook 14 7486 2-in-1 is just the same. The hardware and price of $550 are justified but is foreshadowed by the ill-fate of Chrome OS.
If working purely in the Google ecosystem is your priority, the new Chromebook 14 7486 will be your choice. On the hand competitors like Samsung have launched Chromebooks as well with better chipsets, though it does bear a higher price tag.