Alas, Dell has upgraded the looks of its Inspiron 5000 series. Instead of the conventional design, they are now using a lifted backside, thanks to the lid and its huge rubber foot. As expected, the company is offering the device with both Inter and AMD processors.

Ultimately, the Inspiron 14 5401 tries to be the perfect all-rounder that won’t break your budget, but will still offer all you need for your daily tasks – at work, at home, or at school.

Our particular model today, features the Core i7-1065G7 – an Ice Lake specimen that features four cores, eight threads, and the Iris Plus G7 graphics. This should be able to provide the performance you need, with the “latest” efficiency bonus by the 10nm technology.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-inspiron-14-5401/

Contents


Specs Sheet

Dell Inspiron 14 5401 – Specs


OS


Windows 10 Home, No OS


Dimensions


312.3 x 216.2 x 17.9 mm (12.30″ x 8.51″ x 0.70″)


Body material


Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum

Ports and connectivity

  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • HDMI 1.4
  • Card reader microSD (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Audio jack 3.5 Combo Jack

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone Dual Array Microphone
  • Speakers 2x 2W, Stereo Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Alongside the laptop, there are a couple of manuals and guides, as well as a 65W power brick.

Design and construction

According to Dell, this laptop features an aluminum lid and an aluminum base. If we have to be honest, we feel that everything, part the lid cover, is plastic, but we might be mistaken. Nevertheless, the matte finish does a great job keeping fingerprints away. Additionally, it is pretty portable, with its 1.40 kg weight and 16.7-17.9mm.

Surprisingly, the lid can be opened with a single hand and we are met by thin bezels with an HD camera located above the display. It’s always nice to see it where it belongs. By the way, the laptop stays about 1 centimeter above the ground, ensuring enough cool air and an ever so slightly more comfortable typing experience.

And speaking of which, there is the backlit keyboard. Ultimately, it is a bit smaller than other units, and the empty space surrounding it might just have been used for front-firing speakers. Nevertheless, the keyboard has a rather short key travel, but a clicky, yet quiet feedback. Here, the Power button is placed above the “Backspace” key, so be careful, when you are deleting the angry text messages to your ex.

Not only that, but it also features a fingerprint reader, hidden inside of the Power button. On the downside, the keyboard has quite some deck flex. On the other side there is the reasonably large touchpad, which has great gliding properties, and tracks really well.

Traditionally, the bottom panel is reserved for two speaker cutouts and the ventilation grill. Hot air, however, is exhausted towards the bottom part of the display.

Ports

The I/O includes a barrel-style power plug, an HDMI connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port and a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port with DisplayPort and Power delivery functions on the left, and an Audio jack, another USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port and a MicroSD card reader on the right.

Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

To get inside of this laptop, you have to undo 7 Phillips-head screws. The two in the back corners remain attached to the panel and gently lift it so that you can start the prying process from there.

Above the CPU, you can see a metal bracket, which makes direct contact with the 45-degree mounted heat pipe. Then, the thick heat pipe drives the heat to the heat spreader, which then dissipates it, thanks to the fan.

Interestingly, this is probably the best-equipped thin and light notebook when it comes to upgradability. There are two RAM SODIMM slots that work in dual-channel, and support up to 32GB of DDR4 memory in total. Also, the memory works at 3200 MHz. And not only that, but there are two M.2 PCIe x4 slots for extremely fast storage options. One is placed above the battery, and one to its right side.

And as far as the power away from the plug goes, Dell provides the machine with a 53Wh unit.

Display quality

Dell Inspiron 14 5401 has a Full HD IPS display, model number Chi Mei N140HAC-EAC (CNM14D4). 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 56 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Its viewing angles are excellent. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 229 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 220 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 10%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6760K (average) – slightly colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
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 58% Brightness (White level = 140 cd/m2, Black level = 0.137 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 – 1020:1.

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 in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is an 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 5401’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers just 53% 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 5401 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display can reproduce 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.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 29 ms

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 5401’s display is using PWM to adjust the brightness up to 60 nits. After that it’s flicker-free. Moreover, the PWM it uses has a very high frequency, making the display comfortable for long hours of work and safe for your eyes in this aspect.

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 5401’s display has an IPS panel with a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a safe backlight regarding PWM. Its disadvantage is the modest color coverage and low maximum brightness (only 229 nits).

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Dell Inspiron 14 5401 configurations with 14.0″ Chi Mei N140HCA-EAC (CMN14D4) (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS panel.

*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]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work - screen profile

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

All

Sound

Dell Inspiron 14 5401’s speakers have average maximum volume and almost no punch. Its low tones are a bit off, but the mids and highs are clear.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded from here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/en-uk/product-support/product/inspiron-14-5401-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. Inspiron 14 5401’s 53Wh battery pack lasts for 11 hours and 20 minutes of Web browsing and exactly 10 hours flat of video playback.

CPU options

This device comes with a choice of three Ice Lake processors – the Core i3-1005G1, Core i5-1035G1, and the Core i7-1065G7.


GPU options

And this means that the integrated graphics cards are the Intel UHD Graphics, and the Iris Plus Graphics G7. In addition to that, you can pick your laptop with a dedicated GeForce MX330.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

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.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-1065G7 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell Inspiron 14 5401 2.58 GHz (B+98%) @ 97°C 2.23 GHz (B+72%) @ 98°C 1.67 GHz (B+28%) @ 77°C
Microsoft Surface Book 3 (13.5) 3.35 GHz (B+158%) @ 99°C 3.04 GHz (B+134%) @ 99°C 1.89 GHz (B+45%) @ 70°C
Acer Spin 5 (SP513-54N) 2.40 GHz (B+85%) @ 72°C 2.38 GHz (B+75%) @ 86°C 2.12 GHz (B+63%) @ 92°C
HP Spectre x360 13 (13-aw0000) 2.93 GHz (B+125%) @ 97°C 1.97 GHz (B+52%) @ 76°C 1.85 GHz (B+42%) @ 76°C
HP Pavilion 15 (15-cs3000) 2.94 GHz (B+126%) @ 93°C 2.03 GHz (B+56%) @ 77°C 1.91 GHz (B+47%) @ 67°C
Dell Inspiron 15 3593 2.78 GHz (B+114%) @ 97°C 2.31 GHz (B+78%) @ 93°C 2.04 GHz (B+57%) @ 90°C

Definitely, the cooling is not amongst this laptop’s best features. It manages to keep away from the base clock, which is good, and the fan is not ramping up excessively, but the temperatures in the first two segments of this test were on the limit.

Comfort during full load

Thankfully, the amount of noise is in check, and while the outside temperature of 42C is higher than what we’d like to see, the palm rest area remains cool.

Verdict

Believe it or not, the Inspiron 14 5401 is one of the best mid-budget ultrabooks on the market right now. Its design is reminiscent of the ZenBook series of ASUS, it has commendable battery life (11 hours and a half of Web browsing), and it features a fingerprint reader, embedded into the power button.

One of the most pleasantly surprising things about this laptop is the fact that it has the support of 32GB of DDR4 in dual-channel mode, and it has two M.2 PCIe x4 slots. 2020 is here, apparently.

Dell Inspiron 14 5401’s display has an IPS panel (Chi Mei N140HAC-EAC) with a Full HD resolution, comfortable viewing angles, good contrast ratio, and a safe backlight regarding PWM. Its disadvantage is the modest color coverage and low maximum brightness (only 229 nits).

And while it has a USB Type-C port with DisplayPort and Power Delivery capabilities, there is no word of Thunderbolt support. On the bright side, you got a MicroSD card slot to work with.

It’s petty that Dell squandered their solid laptop with a display that cheap. Indeed, it is safe, and it will work great indoors, but you can forget getting it outside when the sun is shining at its brightest.

Nevertheless, we are keen on giving Dell the Editor’s Choice Award, for their boldness of still including upgradability options, where some of their competitors are settling with one M.2 slot and soldered memory.

Pros

  • Great performance from the ULV chips
  • The display doesn’t use aggressive PWM to adjust its brightness levels (Chi Mei N140HAC-EAC)
  • An optional fingerprint reader and decent input devices
  • Has a MicroSD card reader
  • Up to 32GB of memory in dual-channel and two M.2 PCIe x4 slots
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Relatively low maximum brightness for outdoors usage (Chi Mei N140HAC-EAC)
  • Its display covers only 51% of sRGB (Chi Mei N140HAC-EAC)

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/dell-inspiron-14-5401/





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