LAS VEGAS--Sensing a trend at this year’s CES? While touchscreens may have been an option for rarified Windows 8 products back in October, it looks like there will hardly be a Windows PC product around in mid-2012 without touch in some configuration or another.
The Dell Inspiron laptops of 2012 were largely forgettable: big, ridiculously thick and pre-Windows 8, they felt like a downturn from the previous year. The 2013 Inspiron and Inspiron Rs, codenamed “Oak,” seem like a return to form: slimmed-down bodies, improved specs all around, and--of course--optional touch.
The new 14, 15 and 17-inch Inspiron and Inspiron Rs are thinner and lighter: 0.98 inches thin and 4.3 pounds for the Inspiron 14R (1.0 inches thin and 4.4 pounds for the Inspiron 14), ranging all the way up to 1.4 inches thick and 6.0 pounds for the 17R and 17. (Adding touch to any of these models will add a bit to the thickness and weight.)
There are many configurations on all sized models, starting all the way down at an Intel Celeron 887 all the way up to an Intel Core i7-3517U -- interestingly, an ultrabook-level processor as opposed to a full-voltage one. Graphics options include either integrated Intel or discrete: up to Nvidia GeForce GT640M LE for the 14-inch, and AMD graphics up to an AMD Radeon HD8730 for the 15 and 17-inch lines.
Both series have optional touch, and updated 720p webcams. But many other features are traditional: the Inspiron and Inspiron R series have DVD drives, and hard drives starting at 320GB and climbing up to 1TB.
Dell's also unveiling a refresh to the XPS 13 laptop at this year's CES, featuring refreshed Intel processors, a lighter design, and 1080p display options--but no touch.