Dell Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1 review – did they finally deliver?



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Every once in a while, we try to find the latest 14-inch 5000 series convertible laptop and take it for a ride. So far, we were far from pleased with what we saw, as previous iterations of the machine were either too fat, or too heavy, or their displays weren’t on the level of 2-in-1 machinery.

And when we got the Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1 we really thought it is going to be different. However, year after year, model after model, Dell is making the same inconvenient, user-defying choices that we can’t understand from a technological point of view. Now, the base model of this device comes with the Core i3-1115G4, which is actually not a bad CPU. However, they are pairing it with 4GB of memory, 128GB SSD, and a 768p TN panel. Then, they are kindly sliming Windows 10 in S mode under the table, and voila, you get a tablet. Moreover, a tablet with a very limited Store. Of course, you can get out of S mode at any time, in order to have a proper laptop. More on that later, but even before we’ve started testing – skip the base model, at any cost.

Other than that, you can max out this laptop with a Core i7-1165G7, and even opt for a dedicated GPU. Which at the end of the day, doesn’t seem too bad. And if you’re sober, you will surely go for the 1080p IPS panel. If we have to be honest, though, we’ve never had a high-class display in a 2-in-1 Inspiron 14 5000, so we doubt we got one here either.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://gordigecr.it/series/dell-inspiron-14-5406-2-in-1/

Contents

Specs Sheet

Dell Inspiron 14 5406 (2-in-1) – Spécifications

Tous Dell Inspiron 14 5406 (2-in-1) configurations

What’s in the box?

Inside of the package, there is a 45W power brick, as well as a dedicated stylus – great touch from Dell.

Design and construction

So, ultimately, there are two iterations of this notebook. Interestingly, depending on the color you choose they will be slightly different from each other. However, we heard that the “Dune” color will only be available for the 768p TN-equipped notebooks – and we find them a disgrace to humanity, so we won’t cover them. On the other side, the Titan Grey color features an aluminum lid and a plastic body. Once again, we see something unfortunate – the profile of the notebook is 17-18.9mm, while the weight stands at the staggering 1.72 kg. While it has lost some weight from last year, we feel that it is way too heavy for a convertible laptop. Sorry, Dell, but get your act together. In terms of structural integrity, we find the lid very strong and resistant to flex, while on the other side, the base feels a bit bendy, but by no means flimsy.

Expectedly, the lid doesn’t open with a single hand. However, when you get past 80° of opening angle, the backside of the base starts to lift, thus enabling more breathing space for the fan, and a slightly more comfortable typing experience. By the way, the strength of the lid is definitely helped by the glass cover, protecting the display. Also, the bezels on the sides and the top are pretty slim. Above the panel, you will find the HD camera with a privacy shutter.

Next, we have probably the best addition to this notebook – the keyboard. In terms of typing experience, it is undoubtedly one of the best we’ve seen on a convertible. It features long key travel, satisfyingly clicky feedback, and a backlight. Indeed, the “Page Up” and “Page Down” keys are still too close to the Arrow buttons, but this is the case with a lot of ultrabooks these days.

Also, a good feature here is the fingerprint reader embedded into the power button. And if you take a look at the touchpad, you’ll see a very nimble and accurate unit. Well, yes, it could have been bigger in size, but it sits and works pretty well with this machine.

If you turn the laptop upside down, you will see the speaker cutouts, as well as the ventilation grills. Hot air, respectively, escapes the machine from the back of the device (when it is put in a conventional clamshell mode, the hot air is blown at the bottom of the display).

Ports

On the left side of the notebook, there is the barrel-style charging plug, an HDMI 1.4b connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port with DisplayPort, data transfer, and Power Delivery capabilities. Then, on the right, you can see the wedge-shaped security slot, an audio jack, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an SD card reader.

Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

To take this laptop apart, you need to undo all 9 Phillips-head screws. The three on the back remain attached and lift the panel so that you can start the prying process from there.

In terms of cooling, you get one heat pipe, a very small heat spreader, and a fan. Also, there is a cooling bracket placed just above the CPU.

We were surprised to see that there are two RAM SODIMM slots for memory upgrades. According to Dell, it supports 16GB of DDR4 RAM in dual-channel mode. As for the storage, there is one M.2 NVMe slot.

There are two battery options – a 3-cell 40Wh unit, and a 4-cell 53Wh pack. Unfortunately, we got the smaller one.

Display quality

Dell Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1 features a Full HD IPS screen, model number BOE NV14N4M-22G8N (BOE08AD). Its diagonal is 14″ (35.56 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 157 ppi, their pitch – 0.161 x 0.161 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 55 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

It has comfortable viewing angles. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 257 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 245 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 14%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6200K (average) – slightly warmer than the 6500K optimum for sRGB, which is not bad.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 55% Brightness (White level = 142 cd/m2, Black level = 0.12 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1160:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to 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 on 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 yellow dotted line shows Dell Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers only 47% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

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 “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Dell Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

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 and Web Design” 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.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

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.

Dell Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness only at the maximum level. Not only that, but the flickerings have a relatively low frequency, which is a disadvantage.

Blue light emissions

Installing 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.

Conclusions

Dell Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1’s touchscreen IPS panel has a Full HD resolution, good contrast ratio, comfortable viewing angles, and adequate default settings. However, there is a big setback, because it barely covers half of the sRGB color gamut, which is not optimal for a convertible. Moreover, it uses aggressive PWM for all brightness levels. Thankfully, our Health-Guard profile eliminates the issue.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Dell Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1 configurations with 14.0″ BOE NV14N4M-22G8N (BOE08AD) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS.

*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]

En plus de recevoir des profils efficaces et favorables à la santé, en achetant les produits de LaptopMedia, vous soutenez également le développement de nos laboratoires, où nous testons les appareils afin de produire les examens les plus objectifs possibles.

Office Work - screen profile

Travail de bureau

Le travail de bureau devrait être utilisé principalement par les utilisateurs qui passent le plus de temps à regarder des morceaux de texte, des tableaux ou simplement à surfer. Ce profil vise à offrir une meilleure distinction et une meilleure clarté en conservant une courbe gamma plate (2,20), une température de couleur native et des couleurs perceptuellement précises.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Conception et jeux

Ce profil est destiné aux designers qui travaillent avec les couleurs de manière professionnelle, et pour les jeux et les films également. Design and Gaming pousse les panneaux d’affichage à leurs limites, les rendant aussi précis que possible dans la norme sRGB IEC61966-2-1 pour le Web et la TVHD, au point blanc D65.

Health-Guard - screen profile

Santé-Guard

Santé-Guard élimine le modulation de largeur d’impulsion nocive (PWM) et réduit le lumière bleue négative qui affecte nos yeux et notre corps. Comme il est adapté à chaque panneau, il parvient à maintenir la précision perceptive des couleurs. Santé-Guard simule le papier, ce qui réduit considérablement la pression sur les yeux.

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Sound

Dell Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1’s sound quality has decent quality, but not very high maximum volume. On the bright side, the low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-us/product-support/product/inspiron-14-5406-2-in-1-laptop/drivers

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. The smaller 40Wh battery lasts for 8 hours and 8 minutes of Web browsing, and 6 hours and 7 minutes of video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
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For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
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We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
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CPU options

You can get the laptop with one of three processors – the Core i3-1115G4, the Core i5-1135G7, or the Core i7-1165G7.

Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
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Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
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Les résultats sont issus de notre test de référence Photoshop (plus le score est bas, mieux c’est)
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GPU options

In addition to the integrated UHD Graphics, and Iris Xe Graphics G7 (80EU and 96EU), you can get the dedicated GeForce MX330 with 2GB of GDDR5 memory.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
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Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
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Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
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Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
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Gaming tests

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

In comparison to the other laptop we tested with this processor, the Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1 has a far less capable cooling solution. It only manages to maintain a 15W power limit, with a reasonably high temperature.

Comfort during full load

While the laptop was very quiet under extreme workload, we found it to be a bit warm on the keyboard, and very warm on the bottom panel, which is not ideal.

Verdict

Unfortunately, we were not satisfied with this laptop. There are a lot of promising things about it, like the great input devices, including the keyboard, touchpad, and touchscreen. Also, it comes with a bundled Pen inside the box. However, the base version is very limiting. It only comes with 4GB of RAM and the Core i3-1115G4. Thankfully, you can upgrade the memory via two SODIMM slots, so it’s not the end of the world.

Something you won’t be able to change, though, is the chassis. Although we saw a significant decrease in weight year on year, it still stops the scales at 1.72 kg, which is far more than optimal, when we’re talking about a 2-in-1 notebook. This not only makes it more difficult to use it as a tablet, but it puts a strain on your arms when you’re holding it for more time.

Dell Inspiron 14 5406 2-in-1’s touchscreen IPS panel (BOE NV14N4M-22G8N (BOE08AD)) has a Full HD resolution, good contrast ratio, comfortable viewing angles, and adequate default settings. However, there is a big setback, because it barely covers half of the sRGB color gamut, which is not optimal for a convertible. Moreover, it uses aggressive PWM for all brightness levels. Thankfully, our Health-Guard profile eliminates the issue.

This is extremely unsettling, because, it can be considered as Dell’s premium display option. In other words, we cannot recommend this laptop for anything other than student work, completely excluding professionals from the equation.

Ultimately, it still supports Wi-Fi 6 and has an SD card reader, which is a big plus in our opinion. Also, there are two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, keeping company to the USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, which, itself, supports Power Delivery and DisplayPort outputs.

So, no matter how we try to twist our views about this seemingly beautiful 2-in-1, we just can’t make ourselves recommend it. Instead, we strongly advise spending more on the Lenovo Yoga 7 (14), although you will lose the SD card reader and the memory upgradeability.

Pros

Cons

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://gordigecr.it/series/dell-inspiron-14-5406-2-in-1/