I was especially interested in seeing what Dell managed to improve with the new Dell Inspiron 16, after testing and liking the
AMD Inspiron model last year. Especially since they jumped on the 16:10 bandwagon and swapped out that 15” screen for a larger 16” one.
Other than that though, the specs are very similar on paper: same battery, similar dimensions, familiar chassis, and practically the same IO. The standard model also has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, similar to the last model I reviewed. The inputs and the speakers have been updated, though.
Last year, I criticized the laptop for having a mediocre screen and a lousy webcam. I wish I could say they solved these issues in this year’s model, but alas I cannot. But at least the CPU is noticeably better, which was probably the only other thing I had to complain about.
So after a solid few weeks with the device, I certainly have a strong opinion of it. In short, it’s just what I expected – the same as last year with some slight improvements. About what I would expect for the cost. Let’s dig into the details and you’ll see what I mean.
Specs as reviewed– Dell Inspiron 16 5625
Dell Inspiron 16 5625, 2022 generation
Screen 16.0 inch, 16:10 format, 1920 x 1200 px reoslution, WVA, 60 Hz, matte
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 5825U, 8 core, 16 thread (4.5 GHz turbo)
Video Integrated Vega Graphics
Memory 16 GB DDR4-3200 (2x 8 GB DIMMs)
Storage 512 GB M.2 Hynix BC711
Connectivity Mediatek Wifi 6 MT7921 with Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (with DP and Powder Delivery), HDMI 1.4, headphone/mic jack
Battery 54 Wh, 65W charger
Size 356.78 mm or 14.05” (w) x 251.9 mm or 9.92” (d) x 18.3 mm or .72” (h)
Weight 1.87 kg (4.12 lbs)
Extras SD card reader (half-sized), fingerprint reader, HD camera, upwards-firing stereo speakers
Design and ergonomics
The overall design of this 2022 Inspiron 16 shares a lot of similarities that I saw in the Inspiron 15 model last year. The chassis is almost entirely made of aluminum and the design is basically your typical thin and light notebook that would have been called a premium design 6-7 years ago. Now it’s the norm.
The lid and palmrest portions of the chassis are aluminum, while the bottom cover is plastic. It rests inside the shell very nicely and blends perfectly with the surrounding aluminum.
The lid is about as plain as it gets. It’s a smooth, matte grey anodized design with an embossed Dell logo located in the center. This being a 16” laptop, the lid is a big piece of aluminum and it’s thin. So there is a little bit of flex if you push it on the center. This is normal in my eyes, but worth reporting if you are expecting a robust metal brick here. The edges are sturdy enough, which is where most people will grab it from.
The laptop is pretty symmetric with no surprises in weight distribution. For a 16” laptop, this Inspiron is very easy to handle and is a pretty reasonable weight to carry around in any position,
even if not as light as other options. Even grabbing the laptop from the corner while it was open, I didn’t detect any strange creaks or notice any flex.
One thing I could complain about is the bottom edges where the bottom cover interfaces with the metal chassis. They are a little sharp for my taste. Not cut your fingers sharp, but it’s something I noticed when I picked up the laptop sometimes.
Opening the lid could be a one finger effort, but it might take a second hand if the surface the laptop is on isn’t smooth. Any texture seems to hang up the silicone ergo-lift footpad that is located on the back edge of the laptop. This lifts the back of the laptop at a slight angle, making typing a little easier and optimizing the air intake. Effective, but smaller footpads would have probably done the same thing and would restore one finger opening.
Once open, you get a good look at the 16” panel and small bezels. Centered above is a small HD webcam with a manual privacy shutter, as well as a microphone array. The bezel is small and is made of the standard black plastic that you typically see on budget laptops.
Down below are the keyboard and trackpad. We’ll cover these in more detail later, but the main notable change this year is dropping the Numpad for upward-facing speakers, which is a good move in my opinion. The trackpad is also noticeably bigger, which is also good. The added depth from making this a 16” model certainly helps.
While I praise the robustness of the palm rest, for the most part, I have to be a little critical of the keyboard deck itself. There is some flex that is noticed when I typed on it. It didn’t bother me while typing at all, but strong-hitting typists are going to see the deck bounce occasionally and it may or may not bother you. To me, it’s just a cosmetic annoyance.
Like last year, there’s a fingerprint scanner in the upper right corner, which doubles as the power button. Dell puts a sticker right above it to tell you, since there’s no symbol on the button. This and the other stickers are easily peeled off.
The bottom is plastic, with some adequate vent holes for the fan intakes. There are separate footpads that are used in the back when the ergo-lift foot isn’t in use. They’re really small, but it’s fine because the laptop is shut and probably off with the lid closed.
The IO is pretty good on this laptop. There’s a standard power barrel adapter on the left, with an HDMI 2.1 port right next to it. There’s a single USB-A port followed by a USB-C port. Both of these support USB 3.2 and the USB-C also supports DisplayPort and PD 3.0.
On the right, there’s a headphone jack in the back corner. A second USB-A 3.2 port is available as well. Finally, there’s a full-sized SD card reader. Note that this accepts SD cards but they will be left hanging halfway out – it’s not flush with the edge of the laptop with your card in. It’s a shame because it looks like they could have made the space if they tried.
At the end of the day, the design is pretty good, especially when factoring in the cost of the machine. I think the average user would be happy with it and it feels robust enough to last a few years, provided you take reasonable care of your machines.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard and trackpad on this Dell Inspiron 16 5625 model are both pretty good.
As I mentioned before, Dell opted for a TKL layout with a NumPad this time around, which might be a deal breaker for those that rely on 10-key input. But I, on the other hand, appreciate this move as it leaves room for better upward-facing speakers. It also centers the keyboard with the trackpad.
The layout is pretty normal, with all the keys being located in the right places. During all my use, I found the key travel and feedback more than adequate to type normally. Really, it took no effort to get used to this one – it’s a good one.
The only gripe I have is there is some keyboard flex in the center of the keyboard. I think I had this complaint on last year’s model actually so it looks like they still haven’t done much about it. The root cause is thin aluminum keyboard deck, so unless they add thickness somewhere, it’s always going to be this way. The good news is it didn’t affect my typing at all – it’s just an annoyance to see.
The keyboard is backlit with a few different brightness levels to choose from, via the hotkey. It’s good enough for normal use, which is all that matters. No RGB – just white.
The trackpad is very good, as it’s large and registers multi-touch gestures well. I had no trouble with any tracking clicks or taps throughout my use. I appreciate the extra surface compared to last year, and it didn’t seem to get in my way while typing.
I couldn’t tell if this trackpad is plastic or not. Usually, I can feel the difference but the texture was very smooth on this one. Thing is, I couldn’t see a reflection on it, which is how I typically confirm it’s glass.
Last year, the Inspiron 15 model got a mediocre screen with washed-out colors, which ultimately was a deal breaker for my wife who does color-sensitive work. But this year they switched to a 16-inch 16:10 panel which is a newer Inspiron 16 form factor – so the screen should be better, right? Unfortunately, no…
It’s a different brand of panel, but it basically has the same specs as before. So the viewing angles are good, but the max brightness is below average and the colors are just poor. Could be worse, sure, but by today’s standards, I’m surprised that they would even make panels like this anymore.
I did use my X-rite i1 Display Pro sensor to verify all the specs. Here’s what I measured:
Panel HardwareID: BOE NV16WUM(BOE0A34)
Coverage: 56.1% sRGB, 39.7% AdobeRGB, 40.8% DCI-P3;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 265 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 1019:1
Native white point: 6632 K;
Black on max brightness: .26 cd/m2.
So yeah, there you have it – not the greatest. If all you do is surf the internet or edit documents, you probably won’t even notice. Especially if you’re coming from a screen that is of equal color quality. But if you’re coming from a laptop with at least 100% sRGB, you’re going to notice the muted colors right away.
The lower maximum brightness may also be an issue for some. 265 nits is good enough for your typical indoor setting, but it’s not going to be enough to use outside or even next to a bright window.
I also did detect a little backlight bleed on my panel but it’s not the worst I’ve seen, mainly because the max brightness isn’t that high. So that’s a plus at least. The other thing to mention is this panel is 60Hz. This is pretty standard for laptops at this price range, though.
At the time of my purchase, there weren’t many screen choices for this series. In fact, the only other choice “seemed” to be the exact same panel, only touch-enabled. But it’s actually a higher gamut screen as reported by a user in the comments section and some others on Reddit. Perhaps that’s an option everyone should lean towards, whether or not you want touch. Especially since it’s supposedly still matte.
So to sum up, I’m not overly impressed with this screen. But it’s not like it’s unusable and this is a budget laptop after all. The fact is, at this price point, there might be similar laptops with better screen choices out there, and I’d look into them if screens are important to you.
Hardware and performance
This Inspiron 16 model has an
AMD Ryzen 7 5825U octa-core processor that caps out at about 4.5 GHz Turbo.
This is an AMD Barcelo platform with Vega graphics, so it’s reasonably fast when it needs to be and is also battery efficient, so it suits this model just fine for its intended audience. Don’t expect much in GPU performance compared to the more recent
RDNA2 AMD iGPUs, though.
My unit comes with 16GB of DDR4-3200Mhz RAM. This is also appropriate for this model as it’s plenty enough for most tasks, including gaming. If you wanted to upgrade, though, you have the option for up to 32 GB.
Upgrading the components is pretty simple, but a slightly delicate task. Just remove and/or loosen the Phillips screws and the corners will pop up. Then pull on one of the corners to release the clips. The clips are plastic and not that thick, so you might break one if you’re not careful.
Once inside you can see the fan, heatsink, and all the upgradable components. On this model, you get access to both RAM slots and the SSD. Notice that the SSD is only 30mm and has a bracket for it to fit. It should be pretty easy to replace with a standard 80mm SSD though.
This SSD is a 512GB model from Hynix. It’s a budget PCIe 3.0 SSD but it’s fast enough for anything this laptop is designed for. I took some CrystalDiskMark readings in case you were interested.
I don’t see anything alarming with this hardware configuration. It’s really a good balance, considering this is probably intended for
media consumption or perhaps school. The nice part is you can upgrade most of the parts if needed in the future.
Let’s analyze the performance now.
I took some synthetic benchmarks to get an idea of how well the CPU performs. First, here’s the Cinebench loop test that runs the same sustained CPU load for 15+ times, in order to measure the CPU performance in longer demanding loads.
There are three power profiles to choose from, Ultra Performance, Optimized and Quiet, each with different power caps and fan settings. Quiet mode is not as Quiet as I’d expect, as explained further down in the article.
And here’s how the laptop compares in this test to other similar models and platforms, including the previous Inspiron 15 Ryzen 7 5700U model.
The power modes contribute to most of the heat generation on this laptop. By switching it to Quiet mode, you significantly lower the TDP that the CPU puts out. You also have slower fans though, so it’s not like there won’t be heat build-up.
You’ll get the most out of your machine in the Ultra-Performance mode. Under the heaviest loads, I only hit 40dB(A). But on average, under constant load, it was more like 38dB(A). Even in this situation, CPU temps only hit 75C max, which is very good.
I can’t really figure out the Optimized mode. I think it’s temperature-dependent because the fans appeared to be at a constant 35dB(A) no matter what the load was. But the CPU power would drift lower over time, as the load increased. Regardless, the temperature never breached 70C.
Quiet mode is not so quiet. In fact, it’s pretty much the same as Optimized mode. The main difference is you never really hear any fluctuations in fan noise and the temperatures never reach more than 60C. This is mostly because of the lower power limits.
The My Dell software is the only way to change these power modes. I think I mentioned this in other reviews, but I don’t particularly like this app because it takes a lot of clicks and navigating to get to the option you want to change. I would much prefer a hotkey.
For daily use, Quiet mode is perfect and offers good performance with balanced temperatures and fan noise.
And here are the other benchmarks.
Here’s what I got in Ultra Performance mode, which allows the CPU to start at 30W for a short burst and then eventually level out at around 25W:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 3182 (Graphics – 3498, Physics – 21648);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 1267 (Graphics – 1109, CPU – 6633);
3DMark 13 – CPU Profile: Max-5448, 16T-5449, 8T-4562, 4T-2987, 2T-1733, 1T-886
Superposition: Medium: 2200
GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1469, Multi-core: 6947;
CineBench R15: OpenGL 82.98 fps, CPU 1711 cb, CPU Single Core 233 cb;
CineBench R23: CPU 10123 pts, CPU Single Core 1465 pts;
Next is “Optimized” mode. In this mode, the TDP starts at 28W but then drifts downward and eventually levels off around 23W for sustained loads. Here were my test results:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 3116 (Graphics – 3418, Physics – 17607);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 1327 (Graphics – 1177, CPU – 4849);
3DMark 13 – CPU Profile: Max-3398, 16T-3408, 8T-2829, 4T-1544, 2T-777, 1T-392
Superposition: Medium: 1767
GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1380, Multi-core: 6360;
CineBench R15: OpenGL 73.14 fps, CPU 1347 cb, CPU Single Core 226 cb;
CineBench R23: CPU 9219 pts, CPU Single Core 1341 pts;
In Quiet mode, the TDP pretty much hangs out at 17-18W and slowly drifts down to 15W over a long time for sustained loads. Here were my results:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 2926 (Graphics – 3199, Physics – 16620);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 1165 (Graphics – 1023, CPU – 5588);
3DMark 13 – CPU Profile: Max-4664, 16T-4648, 8T-3893, 4T-2559, 2T-1551, 1T-874
Superposition: Medium: 1991
GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1498, Multi-core: 6155;
CineBench R15: OpenGL 71.80 fps, CPU 1261 cb, CPU Single Core 231 cb;
CineBench R23: CPU 8331 pts, CPU Single Core 1461 pts;
These results are pretty good actually. Not the best “graphics” results, but this configuration with the AMD Barcelo processor and Vega graphics is not really designed for GPU-intensive tasks or gaming.
I especially liked the Quiet mode results, which is what I used primarily on this laptop outside of running the benchmark tests. It’s a fast-enough configuration with low fan noise.
I did take some benchmarks with a few older games to give you an idea of what to expect, on the Ultra Performance profile. See below for my results:
Skyrim (Ultra, FHD+) 31 fps avg, 29 fps low
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (FHD+, low Preset, Hairworks Off) 20 fps avg, 16 fps low
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (HD+, low Preset, Hairworks Off) 37 fps avg, 28 fps low
Portal Reloaded (4k+) 60 fps
This isn’t a gaming laptop so it is what it is. Games are more playable in HD than they are in FHD and this is probably a similar CPU to what is in the
current Steam Deck. So if gaming is a must for you and you insist on this laptop, plan to lower that resolution to 720p.
The system is perfectly capable of delivering the best performance possible with this platform, though, as shown in the following log from Witcher. Even in sustained loads, the CPU averages 25++ W of power, with temperatures in the 65-70 C range, and the GPU runs smoothly at its defined clock speed of 2 GHz, without fluctuations.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
This Dell Inspiron 16 has a simple, but efficient, cooling module.
A single fan takes up a large portion of the right side of the laptop and is connected to the CPU via two heat pipes. The air intake is taken in from underneath the laptop and the exhaust comes out at the hinge.
The good news is it works perfectly fine. I didn’t seem to have any overheating problems and I was constantly using the laptop directly on my lap. I did run a couple of tests to take some thermal images: one while watching Netflix on battery and the other while playing a game while plugged in. Both seemed to be within reason.
The Wifi module is a Mediatek MT7921 which is a Wifi 6 module. It worked fine in all of my testing, reaching 511Mbps at distances of 25ft from my router. The module also has Bluetooth 5.2 which worked flawlessly for me. I used my Airpods constantly and also a Bluetooth mouse on occasion.
As for the speakers, they’re actually not bad! Not only are they upward-facing, but they also get pretty loud, reaching 78dB(A) with my typical test song. I also ran a bass test and was able to hear sound as low as 30Hz. That’s really low considering there’s no sub!
I won’t say they’re the best speakers I’ve ever heard on a laptop, but they’re far above average for a budget model and are even better than some that I’ve heard on premium models.
The webcam on the other hand is pretty bad. There’s pretty much zero low-light correction so if you don’t have a well-lit room, it’s either going to look pixelated or extremely dark to the point where you can’t make out an image. Well-lit shots are fine, but it’s still lacking color. There’s a shutter at least, which I would permanently close on this one.
Thankfully there’s a fingerprint sensor on the power button since there’s no face unlock. It worked flawlessly for me. Combined with the auto-on feature when lifting the lid, getting your machine from off to internet ready was very speedy. Nothing to complain about there.
This laptop has a 54Whr battery. Pretty small for a 16” laptop, but they are probably trying to minimize the weight as much as possible. At least there’s a Ryzen processor inside to make things more efficient.
I took a series of battery life tests with the brightness at 30%, which is about 78 nits. Here were my results:
5.4 W (~10 h 0 min of use)– idle, Quiet mode, screen at 0%, Wi-Fi ON, backlighting off;
9.3 W (5 h 48 min of use)– text editing in Word with light internet use, better battery mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
6.0 W (~9 h 0 min of use)–1080p 60Hz Youtube fullscreen in Chrome, Quiet mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
6.2 W (~8 h 43 min of use)– 1080p Hulu fullscreen video in Chrome, Quiet mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
12.3 W (~4 h 23 min of use)– heavy browsing in Chrome, Optimized mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
23.9 W (~2 h 16 min of use)– Gaming – Witcher 3, Optimized mode, 60fps cap, screen at 50%, Wi-Fi ON.
I was pretty happy with the battery efficiency on this laptop, especially since I had it through a recent hurricane where I had no power for an extended period of time. I typed up almost this entire review on a single charge and had plenty of capacity to spare. Of course, I didn’t have Internet either so that contributed!
But really, even the working tests were fine. Had this been a bigger battery, these results would be insane – But I’m ok with the efficiency as is. If you’re planning on using this for light work or school, you should be able to get through most of the day, if not all, on a single charge.
Price and availability- Dell Inspiron 16
The model I have is
available on Amazon for $899 (ath this point, follow the link for updates at the time you’re reading the article).
It’s a fair price, but you may find better deals on Dell’s website, especially if you meddle with the system configuration.
There’s also a touch model out there which will run you approximately an extra $100. This is likely similar to the touch
model I had last year where it’s the same bezel and matte screen, just touch-enabled. I kind of liked it actually.
Final thoughts- Dell Inspiron 16 5625 review
It’s not perfect, but I do think there is fair value in the Inspiron 16 this year. Actually, now that I’m done with the review, I went back and reviewed what I thought last year. Very little has changed with the laptop and my opinion hasn’t really changed either.
In other words, I like it. Overall, I think the pros far outweigh the cons of this laptop and the price is certainly justifiable. I found this to be a great typer and I could potentially work all day on this machine, provided I don’t need a graphics card.
Additionally, there’s ample IO which just isn’t available on the XPS models (
here’s our review of the latest Dell XPS 15 model). That’s something to consider other than cost, if you’re torn between those two models for some reason.
Compared to the previous year’s Inspiron, Dell upgraded the screen aspect ratio on this generation, but also transitioned to a more minimalistic centered keyboard flanked by up-firing speakers. The 16-inch screen is huge plus and I really appreciate the extra real estate without sacrificing the footprint much. This year’s model is a little larger than last, though, as the former model was already very small for a 15 incher.
But I do have some reservations that many might call deal breakers. The screen for starters is very poor in comparison to what you get on the next-tier model or even some competitors in the same budget. Opt for that higher gamut touchscreen if you have the room in the budget. There’s also the flex in the middle of the lid and center of the keyboard, which might make the model feel cheap to some.
Hopefully, this helps you form a better opinion of the 2022 Dell Inspiron 16. I think many will likely be satisfied with this model. I won’t have this review unit for much longer, but I’m happy to answer any questions if you leave a comment below.
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