Dell Inspiron 14z (mid 2013 N00I1431) review

Dell Inspiron 14z

The Dell Inspiron 14z is a full-featured laptop in a compact and lightweight design that will satisfy business- and home users. Here's our Dell Inspiron 14z review.

It's a shame that Dell is probably going to abandon the consumer market in order to focus on big business accounts, as it's produced some very attractive and affordable budget laptops in recent years. The Inspiron 14z is a good example – slim and light, with good performance and battery life, while still coming in at well under £500. Fortunately, Dell tells us that the Inspiron range will still be available as part of its range of business laptops in the future, so it should be around for a little while yet.

There are few obvious signs of cost-cutting compromise in the design of the Windows 8 Inspiron 14z. Its grey-and-silver chassis looks very smart, without the flimsy plastic feel of some of its low-cost rivals. And despite having a built-in DVD drive the 14z measures just 21mm thick and 1.9Kg in weight, so it's certainly portable enough to carry around quite easily in a backpack or briefcase. Dell also pays good attention to detail, with little plastic flaps that cover the HDMI interface and other ports for extra protection.

It's solidly built too, with a firm keyboard that has a comfortable feel to it. The trackpad is quite small, and perhaps not ideal for multi-finger gestures, but that's a minor complaint and the 14z gets it right in all the most important areas. The 14-inch screen provides 1366x768 resolution, and produces a bright, clear image with good viewing angles both horizontally and vertically, so it'll work well for viewing video or giving business presentations.

Dell Inspiron 14z review: customisation options

Dell Inspiron 14zThere are many customisation options for the Inspiron range, including models with an i7 processor costing over £700, but we tested a model with a more affordable Ivy Bridge i3 running at 1.9GHz, 4GB of memory and 500GB hard disk for £459.00. That model also includes a small 8GB solid-state module that gives the hard drive a bit of a boost and allows the 14z to achieve a very respectable score of 3486 when running PCMark 7. That will allow it to handle a wide range of software and applications, including photo- or video-editing work, as well as simple web browsing and wordprocessing.

Battery life is also good for such a low-cost machine, just nudging past five hours (310 mins) when streaming video with its built-in wifi. The only minor disappointment with the 14z is its modest gaming performance. Its Intel HD 4000 graphics could only manage 22fps when running Stalker at 1280x720 resolution and medium graphics settings, so you'll be better off sticking to 2D fare such as Angry Birds for your gaming action. See also: best budget laptop.

Dell Inspiron 14z: Specs

  • 1.9GHz Intel Core i3-3227U
  • Intel HD 4000
  • 14-inch glossy, 1366x768, WLED
  • Windows 8 (64-bit)
  • 500GB HDD (5400RPM) + 8GB SSD
  • 4GB DDR3
  • 10/100
  • 8X DVD±RW
  • HDMI
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 720p
  • stereo
  • Built-in mic
  • Headphone/Mic combo
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • SD/SDHC/MMC
  • 100x50mm, two-button
  • 44Wh, Lithium-Ion, non-removable
  • 347x240x21mm
  • 1.9Kg
  • 1yr, RTB warranty
  • 1.9GHz Intel Core i3-3227U
  • Intel HD 4000
  • 14-inch glossy, 1366x768, WLED
  • Windows 8 (64-bit)
  • 500GB HDD (5400RPM) + 8GB SSD
  • 4GB DDR3
  • 10/100
  • 8X DVD±RW
  • HDMI
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 720p
  • stereo
  • Built-in mic
  • Headphone/Mic combo
  • 2x USB 3.0
  • SD/SDHC/MMC
  • 100x50mm, two-button
  • 44Wh, Lithium-Ion, non-removable
  • 347x240x21mm
  • 1.9Kg
  • 1yr, RTB warranty

OUR VERDICT

The Inspiron 14z does a really good job of cramming a fully featured laptop into a compact, lightweight design. It's no gaming rig, but its good performance and battery life make it an attractive option for anyone on a tight budget.

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