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Dell Inspiron 11z review

Alan Lu
26 Jan 2010
Dell Inspiron 11z
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
439
inc VAT

Dell's Inspiron 11z is good value, but some poor design choices means it just misses out on an award.

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Specifications

11.6 in 1,366x768 display, 1.5kg, 1.3GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core SU4100, 2.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit

One of the most immediately noticeable things about Dell's Inspiron 11z is its huge battery which props up the laptop at an angle. This not only makes it chunkier than other ultraportables we've seen, it also acts as a stand at the rear.

Some may find this more comfortable, but we found the keyboard was too angled for comfortable use. This is a shame since the keys themselves are large and they give plenty of feedback when pressed. The huge battery did last a lengthy seven hours and 39 minutes in our tests, but other laptops have the same or better battery life with smaller batteries.

The Inspiron isn't too heavy to carry around – it weighs just 1.5kg. Unlike some other CULV ultraportables we've seen, it feels very sturdy and rigid. The base does get a little warm, but not uncomfortably so.

The touchpad is a bit small, but it's accurate and supports multitouch gestures. Unfortunately these are too easy to trigger inadvertently. The buttons are incorporated into the lower left and right hand corners of the pad, but they feel very stiff and hard to press.

There's 2GB of RAM fitted, which should be enough for most tasks, but this isn't particularly generous. The Pentium Dual Core SU4100 processor fared reasonably well in our benchmarks with an overall score of 39, but the integrated Intel graphics chip isn't up to playing the latest 3D games. Note the lack of a VGA port: if you want to connect a second monitor, you'll have to use HDMI.

We're used to seeing high-quality displays on Dell laptops, which makes the 11z's average screen all the more disappointing. It's an 11.6in widescreen with an LED backlight, but it has tight viewing angles. Contrast is good, but brightness isn't up to the level of other ultraportables, especially ViewSonic's ViewBook Pro which we'll be publishing our review on tomorrow.

We were impressed with the Inspiron's long battery life and comfortable keyboard, but its stiff-buttoned touchpad and chunky battery limits its appeal. If you can live with these flaws, it's a good choice but we'd rather have a more thoughtfully designed laptop.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Pentium Dual Core SU4100
Processor clock speed1.3GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size45x292x215mm
Weight1.5kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption idle11W
Power consumption active22W

Display

Viewable size11.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 4500M
Graphics/video portsHDMI
Graphics Memory64MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive modelnone
Optical drive typeN/A

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100
Wireless networking support802.11a/n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£439
Detailswww.dell.co.uk