Dell Inspiron 17 7779 review – if you ever need a 17-inch 2-in-1
A 17-inch convertible? If that doesn’t sound strange to you and you are one of those users that would really benefit from the extra working space without sacrificing flexibility, well then we suggest continuing reading.
Dell’s Inspiron 7779 is a hefty, well-designed 17-inch 2-in-1 laptop with 360-degree rotatable hinge with capable hardware for design work but lacks some of the characteristics that are intrinsic to a higher-end 17-inch workstation. For instance, we would have appreciated a slightly better GPU on board, maybe a GTX 950M at least. This will allow for a higher performance and quicker operations with graphically-intensive tasks and software. Gaming would have been possible as well but with the GeForce 940MX on board, gaming is conditional. And before we give our final verdict, let’s see what else the Inspiron 7779 can offer for its “thick” starting price tag of $1 000 (or around €1 200 in Europe).
You can find some of the available models here: http://amzn.to/2nrmZaa
The notebook comes in the usual box containing all the needed user manuals, AC adapter, charging cord and the laptop itself.
Design and construction
The design is probably one of the key features this notebook has to offer compared to other 17-inch alternatives. And for the price, we couldn’t expect anything less. The casing is made of combination of brushed and anodized aluminum, depending on which part of the notebook you are looking at. Unfortunately, though, this has reflected on the overall weight of the machine tipping the scale at 2.77 kg.
Let’s start with the lid, which has brushed aluminum finish with chamfered edges and rubberized finish along those edges for extra stability when using the machine in tent mode. The middle section of the lid sinks in under pressure and you can hear a disturbing vacuum sound when pressed. Fortunately, this doesn’t cause ripples on the screen since it’s protected by a glass cover and doesn’t bend just as easily. Speaking of the display, it has relatively slim side bezels but the chin adds to the overall size. Hinges are way overly tightened at the beginning of the travel but don’t help as much when using the touchscreen in laptop mode – it wobbles quite a lot. We were expecting this kind of hinge behavior due to the weight and size of the whole lid. You can’t really expect to have a 2-in-1 17-inch convertible and not have to worry about a wobbling screen. Anyway, the bottom piece is also made of aluminum but contrasts with a slightly darker gray tone and anodized finish. You will also see the loudspeakers’ grills and the exhaust vents for extra airflow near the hinges.
The sides are surprisingly thin measuring at just 22.6 mm and feature only the bare minimum of ports but are evenly distributed on both sides. The left side adopts the DC charging port, USB-C 3.1 connector Gen1 (5Mbps), USB 3.0, HDMI and a 3.5 mm audio jack. Whereas on the opposite side, the USB connector is version 2.0, which is rather disappointing. There’s also the SD card reader along with the usual volume rocker and power button for easier operations in tent, presentation or tablet mode. The back side of the machine, right between the hinges, you will find a black-painted grill serving as the main exhaust vent.
And here’s where we get a mixed bag of features. The interior is nicely made with brushed aluminum finish and small silicone bumps so you won’t scratch the surface while using the notebook in presentation mode and a huge touchpad that offers light key presses, slightly rugged surface to our taste and accurate response to gestures and clicks. However, the keyboard kind of ruined our good impression of the interior. First off, the wrist rest area is probably way too big even for big-handed users and second of all, the keys are a bit too small for a 17-inch notebook. We would like them to be stretched a little bit more and make use of the unused space on the sides. Or at least make the gap between the keys slightly smaller. And in terms of usability, the keys are slightly mushy with not enough feedback and travel. Something you wouldn’t expect on such highly-priced machine.
All in all, the build quality of the notebook fits its price range and offers rock-solid construction with the little exception of the bendable lid but that doesn’t really reflect on real user experience. There’s a great choice of materials and fingerprints are virtually impossible to spot. Our only major complaints would be the lack of another USB 3.0 connector, the unsatisfying keyboard experience, and the slightly wobbling touchscreen.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
The Inspiron 7779 doesn’t have a dedicated service lid but the backplate comes off easily and provides access to the cooling system and all the hardware. You just have to unscrew all the bolts and pry it up gently.
Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD
The laptop offers not only the usual 2.5-inch drive but also an M.2 SSD slot supporting SATA and PCIe NVMe sticks coming in 2280 sizes. The unit we reviewed had only the 2.5-inch HDD included from Seagate with 1TB capacity.
|M.2 slot||Free||Upgrade options|
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD||1TB Seagate HDD (@5400 rpm)||Upgrade options|
The motherboard holds two memory slots and our unit came with two of them taken by an 8GB and a 4GB DDR4-2400 chips.
|Slot 1||4GB SK Hynix DDR4-2400||Upgrade options|
|Slot 2||8GB SK Hynix DDR4-2400||Upgrade options|
Close to the cooling fan, you will find the Intel 3165NGW Wi-Fi card.
The battery is located under the wrist rest area and it’s rated at 56Wh.
The cooling system’s design is rather strange because the cooling fan’s radiator and heat pipes are too far away from the chassis’ vent opening, which results in hot air getting stuck inside instead of being pushed out of the chassis. That’s probably the reason why the cooling system isn’t doing so well during heavy workload while the heat pipes and heat sinks seem okay at first.
Although the laptop uses a totally different panel from AUO with model number B173HW01 V.0 (Y147T, AUO109D), its results make it almost related to the LG-made LP173WF4-SPF2 found in the Acer Predator 17 (G5-793) with GTX 1060. The screen features a Full HD resolution in a 17.3-inch diagonal with 127 ppi and 0.2 x 0.2 mm pixel pitch. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 69 cm.
Of course, the panel offers comfortable viewing angles.
We were able to record pretty high maximum brightness of 353 cd/m2 in the middle of the screen and 336 cd/m2 as average across the surface, which means that the maximum deviation is 12% in the upper right corner. The color temperature aligns with the optimal one – 6500K. The contrast ratio is really high – 1300:1.
The maximum dE2000 (color deviation) compared to the center of the display is 2.9 – again in the upper right corner. This is generally good because usually, values above 4.0 are unwanted.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The panel covers 90% of the sRGB color space so it’s suitable for multimedia and gaming.
Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut pre and post calibration.
We’ve created a profile with 140 cd/m2 luminance, D65(6500K) white point and 2.2 gamma.
As you can see from the graph above, the stock settings for the gamma aren’t bad at all. It’s a bit flat at around 2.3 but our profiles fix this minor deviation.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the Office & Web Design profile.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the Gaming & Movie Nights profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 24 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse Width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
We are happy to report that the notebook’s display doesn’t use PWM for regulating screen brightness and can be used for long periods of time.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SDP) graph.
The bottom line is that the Inspiron 7779 uses a high-quality IPS panel with high maximum brightness, high contrast, wide sRGB coverage and fairly good stock settings of the gamma, color reproduction and color temperature. Our profiles, however, will bring out the best out of the display. Also, the absence of PWM throughout all brightness levels is a big plus.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for Dell Inspiron 7779 configurations with 17.3″ B173HW01 V.0 (Y147T, AUO109D) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen, which can be found at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2o9fwtQ
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
[edd_item edd_id_1=’80117′ edd_id_2=’80120′ edd_id_3=’80123′ edd_id_4=’80126′]
The sound quality of the laptop is good with enough clarity in the low, mid and high frequencies.
The specs sheet provided below is for this model only and may vary depending on your region or configuration.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-7200U (2-core, 2.50 – 3.10 GHz, 3MB cache)|
|RAM||12GB (1x 8192MB + 1x 4096MB) – DDR4, 2400MHz|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce 940MX (2GB GDDR5)|
|HDD/SSD||1TB HDD (5400 rpm)|
|Display||17.3-inch Full HD (1920×1080) touch IPS, glossy|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Thickness||22.1-22.6 mm (0.87-0.89″)|
|Weight||2.93 kg (6.46 lbs)|
The unit we reviewed shipped with pre-installed Windows 10 (64-bit) and we used it for the writing of this review. But if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading all the latest drivers from Dell’s official support page.
When you hear a 17-inch laptop with Full HD IPS touchscreen packing a discrete graphics card, good battery life isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, right? Well, the Inspiron 7779 managed to surprise us with outstanding battery performance despite the demanding hardware. Probably the energy-efficient Core i5-7200U is the one to blame here, but in any case, the 56Wh unit does an excellent job of keeping the lights on for quite some time.
As usual, the battery tests were performed using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, Windows battery saving feature switched on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script to automatically browse through over 70 websites.
Great battery runtime on the web browsing test – 463 minutes (7 hours and 43 minutes).
For every test of this kind, we use the same video in HD.
Slightly lower but quite similar score – 416 minutes (6 hours and 56 minutes).
We recently started using the built-in F1 2015 benchmark on loop for accurate real-life gaming representation.
It’s quite unlikely that you will start a gaming session without being close to a power source, but it’s good to know that you can play a little over three hours away from the plug – 183 minutes (3 hours and 3 minutes).
CPU – Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel’s Core i7-6200U is part of the 7th Generation Kaby Lake CPUs and it’s the direct successor of the Core i5-5200U (Broadwell) and Core i5-6200U (Skylake). It’s also based on the same architecture as the aforementioned chips with little differences that should bring a small performance increase and a bump in power consumption. However, the new CPU is clocked at 2.5 GHz and its Turbo Boost frequency is 3.1 GHz opposed to the 2.3 – 2.8 GHz clocks on the previous Core i5-6200U.
Anyway, we still have the 2/4 core/thread count, 3MB last level cache, and a TDP of 15W, which includes the iGPU and the dual-channel DDR4 memory controller. Speaking of the former, the chip integrates the newer generation Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics chip clocked at 300 – 1000 MHz.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i5-7200u/
Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i5-7200U scored 6.413 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – NVIDIA GeForce 940MX (2GB GDDR5)
The NVIDIA GeForce 940MX is a refreshed version of the older 940M mobile chip but paired with a faster GDDR5 memory and slightly higher clock speeds, which result in noticeably better performance compared to the standard 940M. However, some OEMs will still choose to use the cheaper DDR3 version of the GPU.
Announced back in the first quarter of 2016, the chip is almost identical to the standard 940M (Maxwell) but with clock speeds increased up to 1242 MHz and base 1122 MHz. Again, the memory uses a 64-bit bus and has 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM. It still supports the DirectX 12 API and Shader 5.0 feature along with the usual NVIDIA technologies – CUDA, GPU Boost 2.0, Optimus, GeForce Experience, PhysX. The whole GPU is rated at around 15 to 30 Watts depending on the clock speeds and memory used in the specific notebook.
You can browse our GPU ranking to see where the graphics chip stands: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
For more information about the GPU, follow this link: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/nvidia-geforce-940mx-2gb-gddr5/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
|GTA 5 (1080p, Low)||GTA 5 (1080p, Medium)||GTA 5 (1080p, Max)|
|56 fps||20 fps||– fps|
|Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (1080p, Low)||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (1080p, Medium)||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (1080p, Max)|
|94 fps||48 fps||39 fps|
The stress test that we usually perform doesn’t represent real-life usage because the general user won’t be able to keep such heavy workload for long periods of time, but it’s still a great way to determine the overall stability of the system and the effectiveness of the cooling design in the long run.
We started off with 100% CPU load for an hour and we’ve recorded relatively high temperatures but no thermal throttling occurred. The system was able to utilize the full potential of the chip at 3.1 GHz.
Then, we turned on the GPU stress test and we were surprised that the operating frequency of the CPU didn’t decline at all, ticking steadily at 3.1 GHz. However, the GPU’s core clock was 900 MHz for the first minute or so and then started throttling at 405 MHz while running a bit too hot – 70 °C. This is rather alarming because the CPU and GPU aren’t really demanding and the cooling system should be able to support both without any problems. And while this will not occur during normal use, it’s still something that should be considered in the long run. The cooling system’s performance degrades over time and the results from this test raise some questions regarding its stability.
We’ve also measured higher than usual temperatures across the interior. This might be due to the brushed aluminum surface, which tends to conduct heat more easily.
The Inspiron 7779 is a notebook from a category of its own. There aren’t many 2-in-1 17-inch options currently on the market so if you ever need one, the Inspiron 7779 might be your only choice. And that’s unfortunate because there are several things you need to consider and probably settle for. For instance, the cooling design is rather inefficient causing some inconsistencies with the performance and even overheating during heavy workload.
We continue with the design flaws, which include a mushy and small keyboard, not enough connectivity options considering the form factor of the Inspiron 7779 and, of course, the strange concept of a 2-in-1 17-inch laptop. Don’t get us wrong, some users might like the versatility of the notebook but in reality, it’s way too big and hefty to be used in tablet mode or in presentation mode. The latter makes the lid susceptible to prominent wobbling. In return, however, you get a very good build quality of all-aluminum chassis.
What surprised us the most are the good battery life and excellent display quality – the IPS panel offers wide sRGB coverage, high contrast, high maximum brightness and doesn’t use PWM for regulating screen brightness while the battery was able to score better than almost all 17-inch laptops we’ve tested and even outshining some 15-inchers along the way.
So to sum things up, the Inspiron 7779 will be useful only to those with a special need of 17-inch convertible and should be ready to make a few sacrifices along the way like hefty and big chassis, inefficient cooling system, mushy keyboard and a higher than expected price tag considering the offered hardware. But if you look at the Inspiron 7779 from a different angle, it makes a compelling case due to its excellent IPS panel, good battery life and rigid construction with aluminum. But if the convertible aspect of the machine isn’t your top priority, you will be better off with the ASUS N752VX or with some of the older Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro Black Edition configurations with GTX 965M or GTX 960M.
You can find some of the available models here: http://amzn.to/2nrmZaa
- Good all-aluminum design
- Good touchpad
- Excellent display with wide sRGB coverage, high contrast and high maximum brightness
- No PWM across all brightness levels
- Good battery life
- Hefty and big for a 2-in-1
- Ineffective cooling system that cripples performance as well
- Small and mushy keyboard
- Not enough I/Os for 17-inch laptop
Most reviews and Dell updates on this laptop suggest M2 SSD 2280 is SATA compatible only (M-Key), not PCIE NVME. Have you tested NVME SSD in this laptop? Does motherboard support it?
This unit is complete Garbage… I wish I never purchased it, in fact It takes 30 seconds to a minute to open a single program… Every time I turn it on it needs a microsoft update that takes 3 days to complete and the video driver goes bad. I sent it in to Dell and they replaced the mother board and hard drive but it’s still pegged at 100% on the hard drive in the task manager. I believe it may run better with an SSD instsalled but t this point I want my money back. It’s a piss Poor… Read more »
I had the same problem, so I updated it with a MX500 1TB SSD. It now boots up faster than my 9900k Cadillac build. Just food for thought… I use it primarily as a networked computer for secondary functions to free up my desktop (probably overkill), and as an outstanding work laptop now that it’s lightning fast with the SSD.
The biggest problem on this laptop is the Mandatory Dell update programs that chokes my computer and runs even when you set it off, especially when trying to update Windows and the Nvidia Graphics driver. Also, I upgraded to 32gb of memory and you would think things run better, but for some strange reason there is still a lag in opening programs and performance in general. The last grumble I have is why did Dell not make a stylus for this model? The go up to the 13 and 15’s, but refuse to make anything that will work for the… Read more »
Waste of money, I have purchased this machine one year ago, Now I am facing battery problem, that is completely damaged, Maching is running on direct power now.
Worst purchase ever made. Constantly overheats. Unable to play videos, screen flickers and goes black. After 1 year, battery needs to be replaced. Used to be a Dell advocate.