Last month we had taken a closer look at Dell Inspiron 15R laptop. Dell Inspiron 14z is a slender, unadorned aluminum shell concealing very respectable specs. It’s a bit chic-looking. Outside is an expanse of brushed black metal. Perhaps there’s a hint of copper in there under certain lighting. Thanks to its 14.4″ screen, it measures only 346 x 245 x 25.5mm, and weighs almost bang on 2kg so it’s very portable. The screen opens forward of the rear edge to give added stability, and overall the 14z is compact with very little flex – build quality is excellent, as you’d expect from Dell. Let’s take a look at some Dell Inspiron 14z pictures:
The 14.4″ 1366 x 768 pixel resolution display offers satisfyingly clear text and images. The screen yields good brightness and contrast, so movies look good, and viewiing angles are fine. Audio comes courtesy of SRS Premium Surround Sound speakers, and although it sounds as good as any notebook in its price bracket, external speakers take things to a new level.
Inside more brushed metal surrounds the backlit keyboard and track-pad. Separated keys give a pleasant typing experience. The trackpad is slightly small but supports multi-touch gestures well and is responsive. The trackpad buttons on the other hand are poor – they are ‘spongey’, making navigating clumsy and infuriating. We find most hiccups with keyboards are soon overcome, but track-pad buttons need a lot longer to get used to.
Port-wise the Dell Inspiron 14z delivers a splendid two USB-3 ports, hidden behind plastic covers.There are HDMI and VGA sockets, useful for extended viewing of movies, which might otherwise be a strain on the smallish 14-inch screen. In addition there is a miniDisplay port, an SD card reader and a USB-2 port. The covers should help prevent dirt and dust getting in the sockets, but but us this has seldom been a problem in the past. Now instead of Plug and Play we get Fiddle About Opening the Cover and Plug and Play. It seems inconvenient when you’re in a hurry, but maybe it’s just habit. It’s certainly an improvement aesthetically.
We see a manufacturer stepping up from the mid-range standard 2.3GHz Intel i5-2410M to a slightly faster 2.4GHz i5-2430M. The CPU is supported here by 4GB of RAM, expandable to 8GB, and the 14z’s benchmark score of 7400 in PCMark05 is excellent for a mid-range notebook. The Dell Inspiron 14z delivers smooth multi-tasking – multi-tabbed browsing with multiple HD video streaming at the same time gave no problem. Regarding office use, costlier machines with i7 processors can usually run a virus scan in the background as well; to put it another way most people will find the 14z perfectly adequate for everyday tasks, and light photo editing and video presentations are well within its capabilities. The Inspiron 14z is not made for Hollywood editing (it took 21 minutes to change the format of an 11-minute HD video). Copying YouTube videos for friends is more the type of task it likes.
Without a dedicated graphics card, current games are not playable, unless at medium or low resolution, so hunt around for games from a couple of years back to add an extra dimension to your mobile computing. Our standard absolute flogging battery test wiped out the 14z after an hour, but luckily moderate use – surfing the net without too much HD video, document editing, tweaking a photo or two – gave a healthy seven and a half hours, very decent for a mid-ranger. And that’s a pretty good description of the Dell Inspiron 14z. It’s not quite as portable as an ultrabook, but most people wouldn’t notice much of a difference in performance, much less be bothered by it. And it costs? Amazon sells this 14-Inch
Dell Inspiron 14R laptop for $579.99 in diamond Black. Very good deal.
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