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Dell Inspiron 13z

Dell Inspiron 13z

2. The System4. Testing Methodology

The Build

The system is shipped inside a dual layer cardboard box with the laptop itself protected by a felt cloth inner cover – this protects it against possible markings during transport. The bundle is quite comprehensive, with drivers and reinstall discs as well as a manual and the powersupply.

The power supply is a 65w model and it is worth a mention due to its diminutive size – as the images show it is only slightly larger than an iphone 3G.

Even though the machine listed today is priced to include the cherry red finish, ours was the plain glossy black version, which is still very attractive. Turning the laptop around we can see the rather bulky 8 cell battery – Dell claim a life of around 11 hours with this laptop, however we would realistically expect 8-9 under real world conditions, this will be tested later in the review.

Looking at the side of the machine we can see two USB ports on the right as well as the dual layer DVD/CD rewriter. Flipping to the left side we are pleased to see both HDMI and VGA out, as well as a LAN connector and 3rd USB port … at the rear is the power connector port. These shots also clearly show the additional mass of the high capacity 8 cell battery Dell bundle, however if it helps with battery life it should be well worth the slightly larger footprint. At the front there is a memory card slot for transferring your digital camera pictures or movies.

The widescreen screen is an LED design which as we can see in the image above, helps to keep the dimensions of the panel as thin as possible.

The finish of the Inspiron 13z is attractive – the silver style front area around the track pad area helps enhance the appearance and there are no ugly hinges on the screen area, it is a traditionally design machine with a slightly offset (to the left) trackpad.

Both trackpad and buttons are very responsive and are as good as anything we have experienced on a machine in this price bracket. Tracking is excellent and the buttons give a good responsive ‘click’ when pressed.

When the laptop is flipped to the underside we can see the huge 8 cell battery protruding from the rear, removing this is very straightforward, just slide two catches across and pull out.

At the top of the keyboard is a simple silver etched power button and above that you will see the text "SRS Premium Sound" which while impressive to the eye is unfortunately not a reflection on a cutting edge sound system – the speakers are at best slightly better than normal but still inadequate for anything semi serious. Not that I would expect anything else on a laptop this size, but when reading such bold claims it is worth pointing out.

Removing the underside compartments we have easy access to the memory slots and to the wireless card, to get access to the Hard drive or CPU then the lower panel would need to be removed entirely.

About Author


Stuart Davidson is Senior Editor at HardwareHeaven having joined the site in 2002.