The Good With a new slim design, the Dell Inspiron 14z impresses by including an Intel Core i5 CPU and discrete AMD graphics, all for a very reasonable price.
The Bad There's still a bit of a budget feel to parts of the body. Battery life, while decent, isn't going to get you through a full day.
The Bottom Line Dell has managed to give a very upscale feel to its mainstream Inspiron 14z, a 14-inch ultrabook that comfortably juggles price, design, and performance.
Dell Inspiron 5423
When it comes to laptop design, you generally get what you pay for. There are, however, rare exceptions when more expensive laptops feel like budget models, and low-cost systems look like they should cost more.
Thehas a bit of that price-bending effect, especially in the form of the Inspiron 14z, a modestly priced ultrabook that looks great, includes discrete graphics, and costs only $899. (Less impressive configurations start at $699.)
Of course, calling this an ultrabook is a bit of a stretch. It technically meets Intel's rules for a 14-inch ultrabook, but at 4.1 pounds, with an optical drive, it certainly doesn't feel precisely like what the ultrabook term has been pitched as -- a Windows version of the MacBook Air (no matter what anyone tells you, that's been the nonstop ultrabook drumbeat since last year). But this is still a fairly slim, very attractive midsize laptop that could even be a cost-conscious alternative to the if your budget is tight.