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Dell Inspiron 14z review

Tom Morgan
19 Nov 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
579
inc VAT

It isn't the cheapest version of the 14z, but battery life is excellent, as is performance

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Specifications

14 in 1,366x768 display, 1.9kg, 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-2430M, 4.00GB RAM, 640GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

With its svelte metallic chassis and compact dimensions, the Dell Inspiron 14z is a far cry from the company's previous all-purpose laptops. Taking a design cue from its redesigned XPS range - such as the Dell XPS 14z - which itself is based heavily on the Apple MacBook Pro, there are very few reasonably priced laptops that look this good.

Dell Inspiron 14z

Lifting the lid reveals a recessed hinge design that helps keep the laptop as compact as possible – it limits the amount of screen tilt, but Dell’s superb WLED display still handles itself well under harsh overhead lighting. The glossy finish isn’t ideal, and we would have liked a higher resolution than 1,366x768, but the incredibly vibrant colours and ample contrast make this one of the better budget screens we’ve seen recently.

Even though it lacks a dedicated graphics card to power its display, the Inspiron 14z is still powerful enough for high definition video thanks to the graphics chip built into Intel’s Core i5 processor. We could play 720p clips smoothly on the laptop and Full HD videos on an external display. Unfortunately it wasn’t a match for our Dirt3 test, managing an unplayable 13fps at our demanding settings. Modern games might be out of the question, but turn down the details and you should still be able to play some older titles.

Dell Inspiron 14z right side

Desktop performance was thankfully much better, thanks to the excellent Core i5-2430M and 4GB of RAM. Running at 2.4Ghz, the processor can Turbo Boost up to 3Ghz in certain tasks for some extra grunt when needed. Our multimedia benchmarks certainly saw the benefit, with an overall score of 49 – this proves that, while no powerhouse, it can still run most applications smoothly.

Despite the powerful processor, the Inspiron 14z still managed an astounding eight hours in our light-use battery test. By sticking to less energy-intensive tasks such as web browsing or word processing, you should be able to go most of the working day without having to reach for a charger.

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