Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (2023) review: A very capable laptop for almost anything

The Inspiron 16 Plus (2023) is a great everyday laptop, sitting between the XPS 15 and Dell’s G-series gaming laptops when it comes to performance

It wasn’t too long ago that I reviewed the Dell Inspiron 16 2-in-1, an excellent laptop for students thanks to the AMD CPU and the versatile convertible form factor. But Dell has since sent me the “better” version of that: the Inspiron 16 Plus (2023). This is a much more premium and powerful Inspiron device that you’d normally get with some of these great Dell laptops.

For those who really don’t need a dedicated gaming laptop, which usually has a higher wattage GPU for serious gaming and video editing, and also don’t want a flashy device, the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus ends up being a really solid alternative. It sits between the dazzling XPS 17 laptop and the decently powerful Dell G-series notebook, and it’s still a powerhouse with 13th-generation Intel H-series CPUs, 60W Nvidia RTX 4060 graphics, and a 120Hz display. Compared to some of the other best laptops, though, the display isn’t as bright as I hoped. In fact, except for the one in the display section below, I had to edit all the photos seen in this review just to raise the brightness levels and make this photos look pleasing to the eye. I also experienced some minor bugs with battery life.

About this review: Dell loaned me the Inspiron 16 Plus (2023) for this review and did not have any input on its contents.

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (2023) Powerhouse laptop8 / 10

The Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (2023) is a powerhouse laptop great for casual gaming or video editing. It has a 13th-generation Intel H-series CPU and the power of RX 4060 graphics. It also has a premium feel and has a great 2.5K resolution, 120Hz display. 

Operating System Windows 11 Home CPU 13th-generation Intel Core i7-13700H GPU Nvidia RTX 4060 with 8GB GDDR6 RAM 16GB RAM DDR5 4800 MHz (2x 8GB Sticks) Storage 1TB M.2 PCIe NVME SSD Battery 6 Cell, 86 Wh, integrated Display (Size, Resolution) 16-inch 16:10 2.5K(2560×1600) Anti-Glare Non-Touch 300nits WVA Display w/ ComfortView Plus Support Camera Up to 1080p Windows Hello webcam with TNR reduction and privacy slider Speakers 4 tuned speakers by Dolby Atmos and Waves Maxx Audio Pro Color Platinum Silver Ports Headset jack, 2x USB-A, 1x HDMI, 1x Thunderbolt 4 1x MicroSD card reader Network Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211, 2×2, 802.11ax, Bluetooth Dimension 14.05×9.92×0.67-0.79 inches Weight 4.45 pounds Adaptor and Battery 130W AC Adapter (barreled charger) Pros

  • 13th-generation H-series CPUs are speedy fast
  • Has a great RTX 4060 GPU for gaming, video editing
  • Good port selection

Cons

  • Not exactly portable
  • Screen is a bit dim

$1650 at Dell

Price and availability

You can buy the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus right now through Dell.com. Pricing starts at $1,650 for the base model (which is the one we have for review), with a standard 13th-generation Intel Core i7-13700H CPU, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. The screen is standard, too, at 16 inches with a 2560×1600 resolution and 300-nit peak brightness. The only upgrade available is a jump to 32GB RAM. Dell is also going to sell a model with a 16-inch 1920×1200 resolution display and Intel Core i5-13500H CPU later on, as well as RTX 30-series graphics. Note that Dell Inspiron products are often on sale, so do keep an eye out if you want to find this device cheaper.

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Design

It’s aluminum and feels strong

When you buy an XPS laptop, you get a sleek, flashy design with slim bezels, speakers on the keyboard deck, and shiny edges. Even when you buy a gaming laptop, you get something that screams gaming, like pointy edges and sharp corners. The Inspiron 16 Plus sits in between those two extremes. It’s a simple aluminum and Platinum Silver-colored laptop. It’s nothing fancy, but that can be a good thing. If you’re a student or somebody who just wants a simple-looking laptop, this Inspiron is for you.

The Inspiron 16 Plus is nothing fancy, but that can be a good thing.

Usually, the first thing I do when I review a laptop is bend the lid and try to flex the keyboard deck. Because the Inspiron 16 Plus is made of aluminum, there’s none of that bending here. That’s also why this laptop is heavy and thick; it comes in at 0.79 inches thick and weighs 4.54 pounds. Compared to something like the Lenovo Slim Pro 9i, which is about 3.7 pounds and 0.69 inches thick, it’s relatively monstrous. But you need to keep in mind this laptop packs powerful components inside, which contribute to the added weight. You should still be able to fit this laptop in your bag just fine, though.

An interesting design choice on this laptop includes the speaker and vents being on the top of the keyboard deck. It’s a change from the 2-in-1 version, where the speakers are to the side. This machine has quad speakers: two on the top and two on the sides. There are also vents on the sides and under the screen. Dell did a lot to make sure this laptop stayed cool, which was noticeable during my daily testing. The keyboard area did get warm, but I didn’t experience too much overheating, which is typical for such laptops of this size.

You’ll get every port you need for your peripherals

Close

Thankfully, with the Inspiron 16 Plus being quite large, there are a lot of ports for you to enjoy. The left side has an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, and a Thunderbolt port. The right side has a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, and another USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port. I’d usually have to connect a laptop to my monitor using a dongle, but I didn’t need one here. Nothing is worse than forgetting a dongle at home if you’re a student or worker and not being able to connect something to your laptop.

Display

So many pixels but not bright enough

I really tried to love the Inspiron 16 Plus’s display. It packs a massive 16-inch screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio, as well as anti-glare technology and a 120Hz refresh rate. The size and resolution are excellent; the big screen meant I could adjust the scaling in Windows 11, stack my open windows side by side, and work comfortably without a monitor. The 120Hz refresh rate also makes web browsing super smooth, and fast-paced games like Fortnite are pleasing to play.

The size and resolution are excellent; the big screen meant I could adjust the scaling in Windows 11, stack my open windows side by side, and work comfortably without a monitor.

However, the thing that bothered me was the brightness. It maxes out at 300 nits, which is what you’d typically see in a budget laptop. I had to max out the brightness to a full 100% just to properly type and read things on the screen when the scaling was turned lower. I even had to do that while playing video games so I could properly see the colors on the racetrack when racing in Forza Motorsport 7. Watching YouTube videos isn’t the best, either. I watched a 4K YouTube video of a tour of Canada’s Rogers Centre, and the colors looked dim and dull. I expected so much more out of a $1,000 machine.

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The colors I got with my colorimeter can speak to that. It’s 86% sRGB, 66% Adobe RGB, 68% P3, and 63% NTSC. Brightness was rated at just under 300 nits and contrast at 1,543:1. These numbers are expected for an IPS display, so it’s not all too surprising. If you want a laptop with a better display, then the Slim Pro 9i will do it for you since it has an even brighter panel, but it will suffer more from glare.

Above the display is a 1080p webcam, which is what we usually look for in a laptop. Dell’s also added Temporal Noise Reduction to help make you look better in low light conditions. The webcam on my model doesn’t support Windows Hello, but it has a privacy slider. A fingerprint reader is also on the keyboard for added security.

Keyboard and trackpad

Surprisingly comfortable

In contrast to the display, the keyboard onboard is surprisingly good. It sports chiclet-shaped keys without a numpad. The keycaps have a light feeling to them and go into the chassis with a satisfying soft clicking noise. The keyboard is backlit, too, but just with two levels. The backlighting is pretty even, though, with no light bleed. I really enjoyed using this keyboard while typing this review. My fingers easily glided across the keycaps, helping me get an average of 90–100 words per minute.

The trackpad is good, too, albeit it feels a bit thin. It’s also the middle of the chassis, which isn’t ideal. It’s not super smooth, but it has a nice texture that grabs your fingers. And there’s a lot of clicking action as you press down. You get a satisfying noise that’s not too loud or annoying.

Performance

Capable of gaming and more

Now, let’s move under the hood. The Dell Inspiron 16 Plus has a 13th-generation Intel Core i7-13700H CPU paired with the RTX 4060 Series GPU, which has 8GB of GDDR6 video memory. Physical RAM on this unit is configured to 16GB DDR5, and storage is 1TB. Specs like these are impressive and are what you’d usually find on a gaming laptop. Though Dell doesn’t suggest this device for gaming, it’s pretty capable of it. As I like to say, this is an overall powerhouse of a laptop.

This is an overall powerhouse of a laptop.

The CPU onboard falls under Intel’s H-series lineup, which runs at 45W. The Core i7-13700H part has 14 total cores, with six performance cores and eight efficiency cores. It also runs at up to 5GHz. Such a fast CPU means I had no issues using this laptop for work. Chrome, Edge, Telegram, Photoshop, and all the usual apps ran smoothly. In fact, I opened them all at once without any slowdowns. It’s multitasking heaven with this laptop. I even set up a Linux virtual machine on this device, too, and it performed well.

As for the GPU performance, even though the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 runs at 60W of power, and not the 100W or more you’d get with a GPU in a dedicated gaming laptop, it’s still plenty powerful. Packed with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, my favorite games ran at medium settings without issue and with the resolution capped down to 1920×1200. Project Cars 2 ran well above 80 FPS even with all settings turned to high. A game that usually taxes the GPU a lot, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, was super playable with no dropped frames even on high to medium settings.

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Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (Core i7-13700H, RTX 4060)

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 16 (Core i9-13905H, RTX 4050)

MacBook Pro 16 (Apple M2 Max, 38-core GPU)

Dell XPS 17 (Core i7-13700H, RTX 4070)

PCMark (AC/battery)

7,297/5,098

7,398 / 6,686

N/A

7,557 / 6,839

Geekbench 6 (single/multi-core)

2,529/12,796

2,751 / 14,671

2,770 / 14,451

2,628 / 13,993

Cinebench R23 (single/multi-core)

1,815/12,616

1,959 / 17,273

1,645 / 14,751

1,889 / 13,583

3DMark Time Spy (Normal/Extreme)

9,100/4,177

8,902 / 4,145

N/A

8,793 / 4,182

Again, this isn’t a gaming-first machine, but it is capable of it. Think of this more as a video editing or creative-first machine. I performed a similar test to my colleague when he reviewed the Lenovo Slim Pro 9i, where I exported a five-minute long 8K video, and the results were pretty much in line with what he got, taking about seven or eight minutes. That’s not MacBook-level, but it is impressive for a Windows laptop. The scores you see for Cinebench will attest to how powerful the CPU is, and the 3K Mark scores, too, for gaming. Of course, it’s not nearly as powerful as a Core i9 that you’d see in the Slim Pro 9i, but backed by those RTX graphics, you get incredible performance.

Surprisingly, even with such beefy specs, the battery life on this laptop is manageable. Thanks to the low brightness and 300-nit screen, I easily got to about seven hours of battery life when browsing the web and completing general productivity tasks. Gaming, of course, eats through that battery, and I only got to about three hours. I did experience a weird bug with battery life. At one point, Windows stopped recording the battery percentage and showed it at 92% consistently. I had to reboot the laptop to get proper readings. This bug happened twice, but I’ve since been unable to replicate it.

Should you buy the Inspiron 16 (2023)

You should buy the Inspiron 16 (2023) if:

  • You’re getting started with photo or video editing and need a powerful laptop
  • You’re a casual gamer interested in playing PC games
  • You’re not into fancy gaming laptops or fancy laptops like the XPS

You shouldn’t buy the Inspiron 16 (2023) if:

  • You want a laptop with a bright screen
  • You want a laptop with a color-accurate screen

If it’s in your shopping basket or wishlist, you should absolutely buy the Inspiron 16 Plus (2023). It’s a solid laptop for everyday web browsing but, more importantly, gaming and other creative tasks. It has plenty of power under the hood, but it is behind when it comes to the brightness of the screen. This is a great laptop that I loved just for its power.

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (2023) Recommend laptop

The Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (2023) is a powerhouse laptop great for casual gaming or video editing. It has a 13th-generation Intel H-series CPU and the power of RX 4060 graphics. It also has a premium feel and has a great 2.5K resolution, 120Hz display. 

$1650 at Dell

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