Dell's new thin budget laptops: Inspiron 13z, 14z

Dell's latest upgrade to the Inspiron line includes some surprisingly affordable and considerably thinner 13- and 14-inch laptops.

Dell Inspiron 14z
The Dell Inspiron 14z. Dell

When reviewing the Dell XPS 15z this summer, it was hard not to notice how comparatively slim it was to the normal XPS 15--and how thick so many of Dell's laptops are by comparison. While the Inspiron R series is hardly as large as the XPS, it's miles away from anything one would call thin and light.

Dell's newly unveiled Inspiron 13z and 14z laptops are a continuation of the thinner laptop trend, but they're a bigger deal for most consumers: they're 13- and 14-inchers, and they're relatively budget-oriented mainstream machines as opposed to high-end. It's a repeat of what Dell did just a few years ago with the Inspiron line , but revisited on the latest-generation laptops.

U.S. consumers, your hand has been chosen: the Inspiron 14z is the only model currently available here. Models start at a surprisingly reasonable $599 on Dell's site, which gets you a second-gen Intel Core i3-2330M processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. It also has Intel Wireless Display, a potentially useful feature dropped off of most laptops in this price range.

At nearly an inch thick, you'd hardly confuse the Inspiron 14z for a "thin" laptop, but it's far closer to what people are expecting now in terms of overall laptop size. It's good news that Dell's passing on the chassis-slimming to the budget-shoppers, too. The Inspiron 14z has an internal DVD drive, whereas the 13z doesn't.

It's a shame the Inspiron 13z isn't available in the U.S.--it's in select Asian markets only--because, frankly, it seems like the perfect size, although this slimming-down of the Inspiron design is much appreciated.

About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired, Esquire.com, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.

 

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