Dell Inspiron 14z (Core i5) Review

Posted by The Best Review Monday, October 17, 2011 0 komentar

The Dell Inspiron 14z (Core i5) ($750 direct), a mainstream laptop has a boat-load of features, sports a thin, attractive chassis, and breezes through any task. The eight hours of battery life only adds to the allure. Aside from some minor annoyance—the stiff-clicking mouse and irksome port covers—it should be at the top of your list for laptops to consider. As such, it earns our Editors' Choice in the mainstream laptop category.
Dell Inspirons are considered entry-level laptops, yet the days of cheap, bulky plastic enclosures seem to be behind them. Indeed, the Inspiron 14z (Core i5) is fitted with a brushed aluminum top, which makes that of its predecessor, the Inspiron 14z, look like a relic. Moreover, the chassis is a complete redesign. The protruding strip from the back—which we've previously seen on the Dell XPS 15z ($1,534 direct, 4 stars)—conceals the big 65WH battery, and it measures only an inch thick, despite its built-in optical drive. The Gateway ID47H02u, Samsung QX411-W01's ($899.99 list, 3.5 stars), and Asus U46E-BAL5 ($699.99 List, 4.5 stars) sport similar designs—metal tops and inch-thick frames—putting the Inspiron 14z (Core i5) in pretty good company.

It weighs 4.5 pounds, which is similar to the Gateway ID47H02u (4.4 pounds), and lighter than the Asus U46E-BAL5 (4.9 pounds) and Samsung QX411-W01 (5.1 pounds).

Spec Data
Type General Purpose, Media
Processor Name Intel Core i5-2410M
Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Processor Speed 2.3 GHz
Weight 4.5 lb
Screen Size 14 inches
Screen Size Type Widescreen
Native Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 3000
Graphics Memory 64
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 640 GB
Rotation Speed 5400 rpm
Networking Options 802.11n
Primary Optical Drive DVD+R DL
Wireless Display Capability (WiDi) Yes
WiMax No
Battery Type 65 Whr (Watt hours)
Tech Support 1 year parts and labor.
MobileMark 2007 – Standard Battery Productivity Load (hrs:min) 8:38
MobileMark 2007- Performance score 275
PCMark Vantage 2308
3-D BENCHMARK TESTS - 3DMark06 - 1,024 x 768 - Default 4759
3-D BENCHMARK TESTS - 3DMark06 - Native – 0X/4X 4053
Crysis - Medium quality - 1,024 x 768 - AA/AF=Off/Off 17.8
Lost Planet 2 (DX9) - Middle quality - 1,024 x 768- AA/AF=Off/Off 18.1
Lost Planet 2 (DX9) - High quality - Native - AA/AF= 0X/4X 6.6
MULTIMEDIA TESTS - Handbrake 1:58 min:sec
MULTIMEDIA TESTS - PhotoShop CS5 4:10 min:sec
MULTIMEDIA TESTS - CineBench 11.5 2.56

The 14-inch widescreen is as vivid as the one found in the Asus U46E-BAL5. The Samsung QX411-W01, on the other hand, uses a TV-like glass screen, which also produces vivid images but reflects more light. Like every other 14-inch laptop in its class, the 14z's screen resolution is limited to 1,366 by 768. Higher-resolution screens can be found on the Sony VAIO VPC-SA2FGX/BI($1,199.99 list, 3.5 stars) (1,600-by-900) and Dell XPS 15z (1,920-by-1,080).

The typing experience is just lovely, because it uses the same chiclet-style, slightly scalloped keys as that of the Dell XPS line—a big improvement from the previous Inspiron 14z iteration. Underneath the keys are LED backlights, which make the keyboard even more invaluable lightless rooms. It's a feature you won't find in many mainstream laptops. My only pet peeve here is that the mouse buttons gave my thumb an extensive work-out; you really have to press into them to get a response.

Like every other 14-inch laptop I've mentioned so far, the 14z (Core i5) integrates a DVD burner, yet kept its dimensions as svelte as that of the Asus U46E-BAL5 and Gateway ID47H02u. It's the only one that omitted a VGA port—a forward-thinking move—and instead opted to have both HDMI and mini-DisplayPort technologies. Both connectors can transmit digital audio and video to an external display. There is one USB 2.0 port; the other two ports are USB 3.0, which transfers data at 10 times the speed of USB 2.0. Port covers, which are a pet peeve of mine, have to be peeled off to access any of the ports. Concealing ports is done for aesthetic reasons, moreso than for protection, and having to remove a port cover to get to a USB port is annoying.

The 640GB 5,400rpm hard drive isn't the biggest one available (options go up to 750GB), but it is bigger than the 500GB one found in the Gateway ID47H02u. In addition to 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connections, the 14z (Core i5) is equipped with Wireless Display 2 (WiDi 2.0), which, like HDMI and DisplayPort, transmits video and audio, but without pesky wires. You will need the Netgear HD Push2TV receiver, though, a $49 add-on from Dell's website.

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