"The fact that the Dell Inspiron 14z uses integrated graphics inevitably means that users looking to play the latest 3D games in the highest possible quality and speed will quickly become frustrated"
The Dell Inspiron 14z is a solid, presentable mid-range laptop with a design that’s surprisingly stylish considering its less than, well, inspiring Inspiron predecessors.
What we like best
The brushed aluminium finish might be an obvious rip-off of Dell’s own XPS range (which itself was heavily inspired by the Apple MacBook Pro , but it’s a look that works well for a small, modern all-round laptop.
The Dell Inspiron 14z’s colour options are few, but the ones that are available all pass the tough quality test that is our personal taste. The recessed hinge at the back of the laptop might look a bit weird to some, but it actually makes for a reassuring feel once you open up the 14 inch display.
Speaking of the display: it’s very good. The resolution is (for this size at least) standard 1366 x 768, but it is bright enough to be usable in excessively lit surroundings and video content is displayed crisply and with pleasant contrast levels.
The Inspiron 14z comes with up to 1 Tb hard drive storage, and its 2nd generation Intel Core processor (either I3 or i5) makes multitasking and streaming a breeze. Among the multimedia connectives, there are two USB 3.0 ports, a DVD drive and a multi-card reader.
Buyers of this laptop will be rubbing their hands with glee at the battery life: medium-intensive use without a power cord lets the 14z run for up to six and a half hours (with WiFi enabled). This is due to the admittedly sizable 6-cell battery, which is kept in a noticeably chunky compartment on the underside of the laptop.
But if the results are this impressive, we say an aesthetic blemish like that can be overlooked.
What we like least
We suppose that with a laptop that feels this solid and is that cheap, there has to be a catch – and it’s a visible one, as the lid (despite being matte) attracts a lot more fingerprints than any device that isn’t a murder weapon should.
We actually like the way the black plastic keyboard contrasts with the aluminium on the inside of the laptop, we do, however, appreciate that some might find it to appear rather cheap and incongruous.
The trackpad is adequate but does start to feel small all to quickly, especially when trying out multitouch commands. Its buttons also feel a tad clunky and require more than average pressure to yield a click.
The fact that the Dell Inspiron 14z uses integrated graphics inevitably means that users looking to play the latest 3D games in the highest possible quality and speed will quickly become frustrated and cry out for a dedicated graphics card.
Some of the Inspiron 14z’s flaws are predictable due to the low pricing – e.g. the choice of integrated graphics over dedicated, and the slightly cheap-looking keyboard. The fact that the trackpad is frustrating to use, however, is less forgivable, but still doesn’t detract from the overall impression: that this is a solid all-round laptop, suited well to new students and those on a budget.
up to 2.50 GHz
2nd generation Intel Core
Intel Core i5-2450M
Intel Core i3-2350M
Intel Graphics HD 3000
Hard Drive Storage
up to 1000 Gb
1 MP webcam
SRS Premium Sound System HD
1 x HDMI
Media card reader
2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0 powershare combo
1 x headphone microphone combo
Weight & Size
(W) 346 mm x (H) 25 mm x (D) 245.5 mm
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium
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