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Dell gets thin: Inspiron 11z debuts for only $399

For $399, the Dell Inspiron 11z is instantly one of the cheaper thin-and-lights out there.

The Inspiron 11z: Dell's affordable thin-and-light (or, Netbook Plus?) Dell

While much was made of Dell killing off its Mini 12 Netbook recently, one question raised was: what might fill that 11-to-12-inch void in the future? That question is answered, in part, with today's announcement of the Dell Inspiron 11z, an 11.6-inch thin-and-light weighing only 3 pounds. How thin? At its thickest point: 1.02 inches, according to Dell's specs. This is Dell's first real entry into thin-and-light, a category that's been gaining momentum recently (the Acer Aspire Timeline 3810T, MSI X340, and Lenovo IdeaPad U350 to name a few).

Inside, there's no Atom processor, but instead a single-core 1.2 GHz Intel ULV Celeron 723. Equipped with a three-cell battery, Dell promises long battery life in a chassis that's "24 percent smaller than 14-inch laptops" (but this is an 11.6-inch laptop, so how is that fair?). Unfortunately, that "long battery life" equates to 3 hours in the press release, but we'll remain optimistic. The keyboard is 92 percent standard-size, close to a regular laptop experience (although sometimes we've found that small differences in ergonomics can be disorienting). Like a Netbook and most thin-and-lights, the 11z has no optical drive.

One of the best features is the price: Dell's Web site lists the Inspiron 11z as $399, the same cost as a Netbook.

So, you might ask, why get this over a Netbook? For one, it runs Windows Vista SP1 Home Premium--while Windows 7 is just around the corner, this OS qualifies for a free upgrade. And the 11z also breaks through the XP Netbook barrier of RAM/hard drive space, with 2GB and 250GB respectively. Other notable features include HDMI-out and a 1.3-megapixel Webcam. The Inspiron 11z comes in Obsidian black with silver tones.

Full specs below, as well as more product shots after the break.

  • Intel Celeron 723 processor (1.2 GHz)
  • Intel GS45 integrated graphics
  • 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 HD TLF WLED screen
  • Three USB 2.0, SD card reader, headphone jack, mic-in jack, HDMI-out
  • Three-cell lithium ion battery
  • 250GB 5400rpm hard drive
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM, 800 MHz
  • 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi
  • 1.3 megapixel Webcam
  • 11.5 x 8.43 inches, 0.92-1.02 inches thick
  • 3.05 pounds with 3-cell battery

Now, is this a more appealing purchase than a Netbook to you?