When we receive systems from Dell they come with a certain level of expectation attached. Alienware systems we all know are high end kit, the XPS range not quite as gamer orientated and of course Inspiron’s are more mainstream… so it was quite a surprise to find that the Inspiron 14z had such a high quality finish, not only on the lid but on then palm rests and keyboard surround too. The impressive build quality and design continues elsewhere with a system that is less than an inch thick and Dell’s decision to add port covers is a nice touch that only adds to the feel that this system is higher quality than the average machine.
In terms of how the 14 inch form factor feels, we have to say that it seems the ideal mix of size and portability. We never felt cramped as can sometimes be the case on smaller systems and the screen still had a similar feel to 15.6" models. In fact it is very much the ideal compromise that we see in the tablet market where 9" models tend to feel that bit better than 7" and 10" devices.
For performance there was little to fault about the Inspiron 14z. Battery life with the 6-Cell retail model will be decent. The CPU powers through multi-threaded tasks with ease and we could even run some games such as Starcraft 2 with good detail levels and resolution. We would however liked to have seen 2x2GB as the default memory configuration and a 7200RPM hard drive as standard. Back to the positives, power use was also low and temperatures never an issue, even when running the CPU and GPU at 100% load.
Moving on to the value aspect we have a system that doesn’t come bundled with loads of extras, simply the basics however the price is appropriate for the specification and build quality and those who get in fast with their order will currently receive a significant discount on the RRP.