Dell Inspiron 16 Plus review: premium price without the luxury

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus

MSRP $1,450.00

“It does everything a laptop needs to, but Dell’s Inspiron 16 Plus can’t pull off the premium presentation its price demands.”


  • Excellent productivity performance
  • Competent creativity performance
  • Very good productivity display
  • Lightweight for its size


  • All-plastic build with some flexing and bending
  • Not competitively priced
  • No display option for creators

I’ve reviewed a few 16-inch laptops lately, which should come as no surprise. With the rise of creators as an important class of laptop users, manufacturers are focusing on providing large, fast laptops that meet photo editing and video editing needs. While premium laptops have dominated that new breed, a few less expensive machines have made their way to the market. The Dell Inspiron 16 Plus is one example, offering fast CPUs, discrete GPUs, and large displays that should make creative work more productive.

But the Inspiron tends to represent Dell’s budget and midrange lineup, so putting a premium price on the Inspiron 16 Plus means it has to deliver. And it does when it comes to performance, but its design doesn’t live up to its price. It’s not a bad laptop, but there are some better options.

Specs and configurations

  Dell Inspiron 16 Plus
Dimensions 14.05 inches x 9.92 inches x 0.67-0.79 inches
Weight 4.54 pounds
Processor Intel Core i7-13620H
Intel Core i7-13700H
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
RAM 8GB DDR5 (RTX 4060)
16GB DDR5 (RTX 4060)
32GB DDR5 (RTX 4060)
64GB DDR5 (RTX 4060)
Display 16.0-inch 16:10 FHD+ (1,920 x 1,200) IPS, 60Hz
16.0-inch 16:10 2.5K (2,560 x 1,600) IPS, 120Hz
Storage 256GB SSD
Touch No
Ports 1 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x SD card reader
1 x microSD card reader (RTX 4060)
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 1080p
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 86 watt-hour
Price $1,450

The available configurations of the Inspiron 16 Plus are limited on Dell’s website, with few RAM and storage options. As I’m writing this review, the laptop starts at $1,200 for a Core i7-13620H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, Intel UHD graphics, and a 16-inch 16:10 2.5K IPS display. The most you’ll spend is $1,850 for a Core i7-13620H, 32GBof RAM, a 2TB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, and the same display. Oddly enough, my review configuration costs $1,450 with a Core i7-13700H, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an RTX 4060. Yes, that’s right, choose a (slightly) faster CPU and half the storage and save $400.

The price places the Inspiron 16 Plus in direct competition with the HP Envy 16, which costs $1,735 for the same configuration as my review unit. The HP costs more, but as we’ll see, it has some advantages over the Inspiron 16 Plus that deserve some consideration.

Note that when you configure the Inspiron 16 Plus, your choice of GPU will affect how much RAM you can configure and how fast it is. Only the RTX 4060 can equip up to 64GB of faster DDR5 RAM (theoretically, at least, since it’s not yet an option for purchase).

A design that doesn’t fit the price

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus front angled view showing display and keyboard.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

For a laptop with a price that pushes into premium territory, the Inspiron 16 Plus falls a bit short in its design. That begins with the all-plastic chassis, which you typically find in laptops costing well under $1,000. In fact, I haven’t reviewed an all-plastic laptop in quite some time.

It’s not that plastic is inherently bad — it’s that you expect metal at these prices. The Inspiron 16 Plus’s bottom chassis and keyboard deck are firm enough, but the lid gives in to light pressure and there’s some distortion in the display. The slightly more expensive HP Envy 16 has a more rigid, all-metal build and gives off a higher-quality feel. The Dell is also plainer in appearance, which again isn’t a bad thing when minimalist designs are increasingly the norm. Even so, the Envy 16 is more attractive.

The Inspiron and Envy are almost identical in their dimensions, with similarly sized display bezels (the Dell’s bezels are plastic, which contributes to the lower-end feel). The Inspiron 16 Plus’ plastic build does provide one advantage, and that’s in a lower weight at 4.54 pounds versus 5.12 pounds.

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

I wasn’t terribly fond of the Inspiron 16 Plus’ keyboard, which felt a bit loose to me. It has deep enough travel and plenty of key spacing, but I prefer the snappier keyboard on the HP Envy 16. Certainly, it’s quite a bit behind the best keyboards on Dell’s XPS machines and Apple’s MacBooks. The touchpad was smaller than it could have been, with plenty of available palm rest space for a larger version, but it was responsive and its buttons were precise and not too loud.

A mix of Thunderbolt 4 and legacy ports make for good connectivity. I’d like to have seen one more of the former, and for some reason, the RTX 4060 version comes with a miniSD card reader rather than the full-size reader on the other models. Wireless connectivity is fully up to date.

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus left side view showing ports and vents.

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus right side view showing ports and vents.

Finally, the webcam runs at 1080p and provides a good image for videoconferencing. There’s no infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello facial recognition, but the fingerprint reader embedded in the power button worked fine. There’s a physical shutter for the webcam for some privacy.

Competitive performance, unpredictable battery life

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus rear view showing lid and logo.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

I reviewed the Inspiron 16 Plus with the fastest available components: a 45-watt Intel Core i7-13700H with 14 cores (six Performance and eight Efficient running at up to 5GHz) and 20 threads. It’s a common workhorse CPU for 16-inch laptops and promises solid performance. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 in my review unit also promises good performance in creative apps.

In our CPU-intensive benchmarks, the Inspiron 16 Plus performed as expected in all but the Cinebench R23 benchmark, where it fell slightly behind the Dell XPS 15 with the same chip. In the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark, which runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro and uses the GPU to speed up various processes, the Inspiron 16 Plus lagged the Dell XPS 15, but was competitive with the MSI Prestige 16 Studio. The HP Envy 16 was a lot faster, but it also benefitted from a more powerful CPU in a much more expensive configuration.

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus rear view showing vents.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Overall, the Inspiron 16 Plus performs well for a midrange 16-inch laptop. It will power through demanding productivity workflows while meeting the needs of most creators. One downside is heat; the Inspiron 16 Plus got very hot during benchmark runs, on the top of the palm rest and on the underside of the chassis. And that’s with the (sometimes annoying) fans running at full blast.

(single / multi)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
Premiere Pro
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus
(Core i7-13700H/RTX 4060)
Bal: 1,812 / 12,309
Perf: 1,773 / 12,693
Bal: 74
Perf: 79
Bal: 1,855 / 12,480
Perf: 1,867 / 13,535
Bal: 767
Perf: 814
HP Envy 16 (2023)
(Core i9-13900H/RTX 4060)
Bal: 1,997 / 12,742
Perf: 1,992 / 12,645
Bal: 73
Perf: 75
Bal: 1,944 / 15,596
Perf: 1,954 / 15,422
Bal: 1,106
Perf: 1,121
MSI Prestige 16 Studio
(Core i7-13700H/RTX 4060)
Bal: 1,880 / 6,951
Perf: 1,903 / 11,945
Bal: 139
Perf: 80
Bal: 1,797 / 7,959
Perf: 1,921 / 13,647
Bal: 668
Perf: 865
Dell XPS 15 (9530)
(Core i7-13700H/RTX 4070)
Bal: 1,787 / 11,978
Perf: 1,830 / 11,769
Bal: 79
Perf: 76
Bal: 1,865 / 13,386
Perf: 1,868 / 13,927
Bal: 866
Perf: 1,023
Dell XPS 17 (9730)
(Core i7-13700H/RTX 4070)
Bal: 1,901 / 12,654
Perf: 1,928 / 12,911
Bal: 79
Perf: 71
Bal: 1,933 / 13,384
Perf: 1,912 / 15,462
Bal: 760
Perf: 848
Apple MacBook Pro 14
(M2 Max 10/38)
Bal: 1,973 / 14,596
Perf: N/A
Bal: 85
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,608 / 14,789
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,093
Perf: N/A

The Inspiron 16 Plus performed relatively well in our suite of gaming benchmarks, falling a little short of the HP Envy 16. And of course, the HP equipped a faster CPU, making the Dell’s performance in Civilization VI that much more impressive. It was also faster than the Dell XPS 15 with the RTX 4070, but Dell significantly underclocked the GPU in that machine.

You’ll get solid 1080p gaming out of the Inspiron 16 Plus and can stretch that to 1440p if you turn down the graphical detail.

Assassin’s Creed
Ultra High)
Civilization VI
(1080p Ultra)
Time Spy
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus
(RTX 4060)
Bal: 101 fps
Perf: 101 fps
Bal: 65 fps
Perf: 79 fps
Bal: 147 fps
Perf: 147 fps
Bal: 9,086
Perf: 9,296
HP Envy 16 (2023)
(RTX 4060)
Bal: 100 fps
Perf: 108 fps
Bal: 78 fps
Perf: 83 fps
Bal: 149 fps
Perf: 158 fps
Bal: 9,366
Perf: 9,765
MSI Prestige 16 Studio
(RTX 4060)
Bal: 35 fps
Perf: 108 fps
Bal: 64 fps
Perf: 74 fps
Bal: 105 fps
Perf: 131 fps
Bal: 7923
Perf: 7386
Dell XPS 15 (9530)
(RTX 4070)
Bal: 65 fps
Perf: 105 fps
Bal: 60 fps
Perf: 60 fps
Bal: 131 fps
Perf: 137 fps
Bal: 7,077
Perf: 7,632
Dell XPS 17 (9730)
(RTX 4070)
Bal: 88 fps
Perf: 94 fps
Bal: 75 fps
Perf: 77 fps
Bal: 155 fps
Perf: 159 fps
Bal: 9,639
Perf: 9,535
MSI Creator Z17 HX Studio
(RTX 4070 Ti)
Bal: 66 fps
Perf: 101 fps
Bal: 61 fps
Perf: 90 fps
Bal: 149 fps
Perf: 191 fps
Bal: 10,186
Perf: 11,630

You don’t expect great battery life from a laptop with a large, high-resolution display, a fast CPU, and a discrete GPU. There are exceptions, such as the Dell XPS 15 with its decent longevity and the Apple MacBook Pro 16 that lasts forever on a charge. But if you can make it to lunch, you’re hitting the average for this class of devices.

The Inspiron 16 Plus was hard to gauge. First, it lasted longer in our web-browsing test than it did in our video-looping test, which is unusual. And it wouldn’t complete the PCMark 10 Applications battery test that’s the best measure of productivity longevity. Going by the numbers we have, I’d say battery life is just OK, and it won’t come close to lasting a full day on a charge.

Web browsing Video
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus
(Core i7-13700H)
9 hours, 8 minutes 7 hours, 36 minutes
HP Envy 16 (2023)
(Core i9-13900H)
5 hours, 56 minutes 7 hours, 47 minutes
Dell XPS 15 (9530)
(Core i7-13700H)
9 hours, 43 minutes 11 hours, 46 minutes
Dell XPS 17 (9730)
(Core i7-13700H)
4 hours, 46 minutes 5 hours, 17 minutes
Apple MacBook Pro 16
(Apple M1 Pro)
18 hours, 35 minutes 23 hours, 11 minutes

The display’s not for creators, and there’s no better option

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus front view showing display.Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Inspiron 16 Plus will eventually offer two display options, both 16.0 inches at the productivity-friendly 16:10 aspect ratio. The Full HD+ IPS panel at 60Hz isn’t available yet, but will theoretically lower the price. My review unit was equipped with the high-end display, a 2.5K IPS display running at a speedy 120Hz.

According to my colorimeter, the Dell panel wasn’t as bright as the HP Envy 16’s display with the same specs, but it offered a significantly higher contrast ratio and just slightly wider colors. Both displays had excellent color accuracy close to the DeltaE of 1.0 that means color differences can’t be viewed by the human eye.

That makes the Inspiron 16 Plus’ display very good for productivity users but without the wide color gamuts demanded by creators. The problem is that there’s no better option, while the Envy 16 has a 2.8K OLED display available that is likely to offer extremely wide colors. You’ll spend more for that option, but at least it’s available.

Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is better)
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus
308 1,510:1 98% 76% 1.19
HP Envy 16 (2023)
395 1,010:1 97% 73% 1.01
Dell XPS 15 9530
358 24,850:1 100% 96% 1.31
Dell XPS 17 9730
501 1,570:1 100% 100% 1.33
MSI Prestige 16 Studio
455 3,140:1 98% 82% 3.46
Apple MacBook Pro 16
475 475,200:1 100% 90% 1.04

Audio duties are performed by a set of quad speakers, two upward-firing above the keyboard and two downward-firing on the bottom of the chassis. The sound was crisp and clear at full volume, with nice highs and mids, but almost no bass. The biggest problem is that the audio just didn’t get very loud. It’s fine for the occasional YouTube video and such, but if you want to enjoy your streaming media and music, you’ll want to plug in a good pair of headphones.

A decent laptop that just falls short

The Inspiron 16 Plus falls just short of being a laptop that I can comfortably recommend. It provides good performance for all but the most demanding creators, but it doesn’t offer a display option that meets their needs. It’s priced like a premium laptop, but it’s not built like one. You expect a metal chassis and lid when you’re spending around $1,500 or more, not plastic.

If you’re a productivity user who wants a really fast laptop, then it’s an option. But so are many other 16-inch machines. The HP Envy 16 is close in price with a similar configuration, but it feels like a more premium laptop. In the end, I’d say to pass on this one unless its price comes down considerably.

Editors’ Recommendations



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