Dell Inspiron 14z review

Price when reviewed

Dell’s vision of Intel’s Ultrabook concept is still under wraps for now, but its latest Inspiron laptop looks enticing nonetheless. Pitched in the no man’s land between Ultrabooks and the traditional desktop replacement, the Inspiron 14z fuses a 2kg chassis with a Core i5 processor and, best of all, packages it all up at a very reasonable price.

Dell Inspiron 14z - rear

Visually, the 14z takes the styling of Dell’s Inspiron range, grabs it by the lapels and gives it a darn good smartening up. The inset hinge and curvy chassis are unmistakeable, and the laptop’s underside remains plastic, but lid and keyboard surround are now finished in a swanky metallic brown. It’s a much classier affair.

Dell has maintained the Inspiron 14z’s clean, curvy lines by hiding all the connectivity behind plastic flaps. With two USB 3 sockets on one side; HDMI, powered USB 2 and mini-DisplayPort on the other; and Gigabit Ethernet and a memory card reader found elsewhere, the 14z is pretty well equipped for its size. It is a bit annoying having to peel the plastic flaps back every time you need to get at the ports behind, but it keeps things neat.

It feels nicely built, too, with a chassis that’s stiff and sturdy and a lid that’s outstandingly taut. There’s a little give in the base if you really tug it to and fro, but even our firmest prodding on the millimetres-thick lid failed to cause show-through on the LCD display itself.


Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions346 x 246 x 26mm (WDH)
Travelling weight2.4kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-2430M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55 Express
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size14.0in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 3000
Graphics card RAMN/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1


Hard disk usable capacity598GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskWestern Digital Scorpio Blue
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveHL-DT-ST GU40N
Battery capacity5,700mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)1
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.0mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use8hr 36min
3D performance (crysis) low settings29fps
3D performance settingLow
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.66
Responsiveness score0.75
Media score0.69
Multitasking score0.54

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition

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