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New Dell Inspiron R, hands-on

Dell's back-to-school Inspiron R line of laptops starts cheap and has optional Intel Wireless Display, plus a slightly tweaked design. And, they're at CNET's offices.

The Dell Inspiron R has arrived in-house, complete with a subtle redesign. Sarah Tew/CNET

Fresh and ready for a back-to-school push (yes, it's that time already), Dell's new Inspiron R series of laptops has a design that should be familiar to current Inspiron users, with a few new design changes and tweaks. We have two models from the R series here at CNET's offices and will be running our review tests on them, but in the meantime we thought we'd at least give you a few thoughts.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sporting a very glossy and metallic-looking finish, the R series comes in Mars Black, Peacock Blue, Tomato Red, and Lotus Pink, and has screen sizes ranging from 14 to 17 inches. The Inspiron R series does boast an affordable low-end start price of $449, though a check on Dell's Web site confirms that it includes an Intel Pentium P6000 processor, not a Core i3. Core i3 and i5 CPUs otherwise dominate the internal configurations on Inspiron R laptops.

Intel Wireless Display is offered as an optional add-on, a feature we're seeing in more and more laptops heading into the summer.

The Inspiron R also has a "hinge forward" design giving its rear a bulge in favor of a uniform thickness underneath. It's the same design idea we saw in the last batch of Mini 10 Netbooks. The bottom does stay flat, but the protruding battery pack we saw on one of our models was significant. The keyboard on both R models feels similar, but the touch pad has a more matte surface and feels better than glossier previous versions.

The Inspiron R series is available now at and at retail.