If the world is exciting enough right now, you can do far worse than a solid performer that you know will get the job done. Our review model is as powerful as you'd want an office machine to be unless you're performing specialist tasks and the price point is pretty attractive (unless work will let you have a MacBook Air instead).
Sometimes you want a computer that’s just going to get the work done. No flashing lights, no extra sparkly bits. You’re working at home and don’t need to impress or you’re in a boardroom with Patrick Bateman and understated is how you avoid a nail gun to the skull. Whatever your reason, you should probably check out the Dell Inspiron 16 5620.
The Inspiron 16 5620 is, in terms of design, almost boring. ‘Safe’ would be a better description. There’s very little in the way of creative flourishes. Just a smooth lid with the Dell logo at centre stage. The interior of the notebook is much the same. It could stand in as a generic laptop image if you airbrushed the logo out. You know what? That doesn’t matter in the slightest.
You’re in good hands
Dell’s machine doesn’t feel the need to show off. It’s here to do a job. If it was a person, it would be wearing a business shirt (all one colour, none of those flashy stripes), some sombre pants, and perhaps a tie. It’s a serious machine. By which we mean it’s all brushed metal, except for the bits where the trackpad, keyboard, and display live.
The trackpad is centrally-located and generous, the chicklet keyboard has a satisfying feel and a plain white backlight, and the 16.1in FHD+ display dominates the inside of the sturdy lid. The right-hand edge has an SD card slot, a USB-A, and a 3.5mm jack. The left has a power port, a full-sized HDMI, another USB-A, and a Thunderbolt 4 port. It’s… enough to get the job done.
The only real novelty? The rear edge features a plastic bumper that keeps the silver metal case from scratching when the hinge (which also acts as a lift) is fully open. It’s mostly functional but it’s also not unattractive.
Internals may vary (but these are excellent)
The tricky thing about a generic-looking notebook? All of them look the same. And since the Dell Inspiron 16 5620 has a couple of different configurations, you should be very aware of what you’re buying before you buy it. Stuff‘s model was fully (more or less) loaded. A Core i7-1255U processor, 16GB of RAM, a full terabyte of NVMe storage, and one of Intel’s Xe graphics chipsets make for a solid office machine.
But it’s possible to pick up an identical-looking machine with inferior specs if you’re not paying attention. In other words, you really should be paying attention.
Whatever you choose (and the price will drop along with the specs, unless you’re being ripped off), you’ll have a 16in FHD display at your disposal. Of all the features in this Inspiron 16 5620, the screen is the largest disappointment. It’s a mere 60Hz LED display, meaning that colour reproduction doesn’t pop the way it might with an OLED screen. We’ve probably been spoiled by the OLED ubiquity in Asus’ laptop lineup but it’s also a fact — if you’re in the market for the best possible screen, look elsewhere.
This isn’t a game(r)
But, as we’ve been hammering on about, this is an office workhorse. Brilliant colour reproduction doesn’t do you much good when you’re staring at Excel spreadsheets all day. There’s enough case-specific power under the hood to let you handle every general office task and then some. If you’re looking to design or edit videos, it’s worth looking at something more purpose-built. If you’re planning on some light gaming then we hope you’ve got a PlayStation 5 tucked away somewhere. The Dell Inspiron 16 5620, even this fully-specced model, won’t handle much by way of gaming. Fortnite, maybe, but it’ll look better on literally any other notebook with a dedicated AMD or Nvidia GPU.
Instead, you’ll augment your office work with a biometric login system. The power button does double duty as a fingerprint scanner. There’s a 1080p webcam up top, in case you’re still doing Zoom meetings. There’s also a privacy shutter in case the last thing you want is your unclothed form ending up on the internet. All of this, obviously, works extremely well with Microsoft’s Windows 11, which sucks a little less than the last time we used it. (Never mind us, we’re still bitter that Windows 7 had to go away.)
Dell Inspiron 16 5620 verdict
It’s worth remembering that every notebook in Dell’s Inspiron 16 lineup will look more or less identical. It’s what’s on the inside that counts and our R25,000 model is packing all the essential bits. Twelfth-generation Intel innards, 16GB of RAM, and a terabyte of SSD storage in a solid, if unimaginative, frame make this an ideal buy for a Windows-based office machine. The major competition here will come from Apple’s M-series MacBook Air lineup. If you’re not restricted to a set operating system, a 13in M2 Macbook Air will look mighty tempting. But if you have to match whatever your IT guy has cobbled together for the office, this will do very nicely indeed.