Dell Inspiron 14z Review
// November 28th, 2009 // Gadgets
It has been a month we got New Dell Inspiron 14z laptop. Many people have been behind me for a review article on Dell Inspiron 14z. Before I start writing the about the Dell Inspiron 14z I would like to give a Flash Back!
Around 2 months back, we decided to get a new laptop. Our usage was supposed to be multi-purpose – starting from development to business presentations. With a hell lot of laptop models available in the market, choosing the one right for us was really a difficult task. We noted down the things we were looking for in the laptop and started the screening process. I’m listing out the steps I think ideal for anyone choosing a laptop:
This is pretty simple question. Just think and answer yourself, why do you want to buy a Laptop? What do you want to do on the laptop? I think laptop market is mostly occupied by education and business field. Although everyone wants to use it for study/work purpose, entertainment stuff has also become elementary requirement. It may be movies, games or anything else.
As I have said, our purpose was multitasking. We required the laptop to perform well with all our web development tools. We wanted it for business presentations as well as for guest talks in educational institutes. We also required it to act as backup computer in case of emergency. We wanted it take along when we are going outstation to make efficient usage of time this post was in fact typed on bus in my journey from Sirsi to Belgaum!
After you are clear about your need for laptop, deciding configuration is not a big deal. The basic thing to focus here is on the Processor, since it cannot be upgraded easily. Then choose a suitable motherboard to your processor. RAM has become pretty cheaper these days and choose the memory accordingly. Estimating your storage requirement choose your hard disk size, If you are looking for Gaming or Graphic requirement then you have to opt-in for an graphic card.
For our usage we required at least a dual core processor, so we decided for Intel core-2-duo processor. We left the suitable Intel motherboard to the manufacturer. We estimated our memory requirement to be around 2GB RAM and 250 GB Hard Disk. Being in development field we required a good graphics card with at least 256MB memory to render quality graphics.
· Size and Weight
This may be an important factor for some like us, while not at all be under consideration for some other. There are different screen widths available may it be 14.1”, 15.6” and other. Screen resolutions are feature like WLED may be also taken into consideration. In the same way weights of laptops vary a lot from one model to another. If you are looking to carry around your laptop then you should be concerned about the size and weight of laptop.
For us we did not want a bigger screen or a too small one. The 14.1” screen size seemed to be ideal for us. With portability as one of the requirement the weight of laptop was also our concern.
This is the critical factor while choosing a laptop for most one of us, otherwise everyone have gone for MacBook ! It’s like weighing your requirement on one hand while the money you are willing spend on the other hand. One may even require to compromise on the configuration of the laptop when it comes to fitting into the budget.
In our case we could afford maximum up to Rs. 45,000 for the laptop. We just want it to be as low as possible. With configuration as primary concern we were looking around for the best deal.
· Battery Life
This again may not be that important factor for many. Ultimately it depends on how comfortable you are plugging in your charger to power point all the time J
We us this factor was of concern due to some amount of business usage and the portability issues An 3-4 hour battery life was sufficient for us. Adding extra battery cells (say a 9 cell model instead of 6 cell) was what we weren’t looking, since it will increase the weight and make laptop bulky.
This is one of the most neglected things in Indian scenario at least. This is of major concern when it comes to issues and quality support. The battery running 3 hours properly for 6 months may start getting exhausted in 1 hour after that. Some factors like heating to looks of the laptop may vary from brand to brand. One should be careful not to be taken way by price, varies offers and recommendations of dealers (Most of the time they recommend models with higher margins). Ultimately your laptops lifetime also depends on the brand.
After a deep analysis we choose “Dell”. The key factors were Wide Range of Models with Easy Customization, Quality Support and Budget.
It’s all about what are extra makeups or add-ons you want to your laptop. Here is a list of accessories is never ending to name a few: additional Keyboard/Mouse, Additional battery cells, Headphones, Pen drive, External Hard Disk etc
Our accessories requirement was pretty simple one. We needed a Back Pack Bag and an wireless mouse.
There are also some other factors which may be taken into consideration while choosing a laptop. One of such factor may be the operating system. While the market being dominated by Windows Operating Systems a laptop with Linux or No Operating system pre-installed can save you a few bucks. Although most of the models come with inbuilt webcam, microphone and DVD writer, yet you should cross verify once. Features like number of USB ports, HDMI Ports, Memory Card reader etc may vary from model to model.
We were looking for looking for a model with Ubuntu, DOS or without any operating system.
With weeks of analysis, all these process took us almost a month to find the best suited model. Our final choice was “Dell Inspiron 14z”. The technical specifications of our Dell Inspiron 14z are as follows:
We ordered the Laptop at Starnet Computers, Belgaum (http://www.starnetbelgaum.com) and waited one more month for this laptop to arrive. Ours was the first Inspiron 14z in Belgaum & whole of North Karnataka, while the 3rd Model to be shipped in Karnataka. But we believe it was worth watch !
After using the laptop for one month I’m surely in a position to tell about the in and out of Dell Inspiron 14z laptop.
Dell Inspiron 14z Specifications:
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo CULV SU7300 (1.3GHz, 800MHz, 3MB)
- OS: Windows 7 Premium (64-bit)
- Memory: 3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 at 1066MHz
- Storage: 320GB 5400rpm HDD
- Graphics: ATI Radion 512Mb
- Display: 14.0” HD (1366×768) WLED Display and webcam
- Optical Drive: 8x CD/DVD burner (DVD/-RW/R) with Dual-Layer
- Wireless: Intel Wireless 5100n
- Battery: 6-cell Lithium Ion battery (48.8 WHr)
- Dimensions: 1.0″-1.5″ x 13.3″ x 9.4″ (H x W x D)
- Weight: 4 lbs, 9.9 oz
Build and Design
In design and looks the Inspiron 14z is similar to the Inspiron 14. There are, nevertheless, some differences between the two models. The 14z is more power efficient than the Inspiron 14 due to its CULV processor and WLED display.
The notebook is made of relatively thin plastic, but build quality is good. The display lid, however, does suffer from minor flex: you can create ripples on the screen by pressing the back of the display. Other than that, there are no major problems with the build quality.
The bottom of the notebook provides easy access panels for the hard drive and RAM.
Screen and Speakers
The 14-inch display has 1366×768 pixels. Colors are good but contrast isn’t very impressive. The WLED backlighting is even and provides a wide range of brightness settings. Horizontal viewing angles are pretty good, but vertical viewing angles are average.
The stereo speakers are located beneath the front edge of the notebook palm rests so you will only hear a muffled sound when you put the laptop on your lap. Put the device on a desk and you should be able to hear better audio. Sound quality isn’t particularly good or bad. Audiophiles will definitely find a pair of headphones useful and the headphone jack produces clear, distortion free sound.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard has full-sized keys. It is very firm and shows absolutely no flex at all. The only problem with the keyboard is probably the lack of backlighting.
The touchpad is a Synaptics model using Dell’s proprietary touchpad drivers. It supports multi-touch controls. Sensitivity is good with very little lag.
Ports and Features
Port selection is average for a notebook of this size. There are 3 USB ports, HDMI video out port, VGA, a multi-format memory card reader, Ethernet and a standard 8xCD/DVD burner with dual-layer support. The Inspiron 14z doesn’t have an ExpressCard slot, eSATA or FireWire.
The Inspiron 14z runs on an Intel Core 2 Duo CULV SU7300 processor with ATI Radeon 512Mb graphics. Performance is good for daily activities such as surfing the web and processing Office documents. You can also make simple edits to your photos or videos.
The CULV processor is highly power efficient but it does affect the overall performance of the notebook. That said, the machine is still good enough to serve your basic needs as a family notebook. But if you want to play the latest 3D games or run high-end photo editing applications, this is not the laptop to buy. The price tag, too, seem a bit odd.
The Inspiron 14z has a 6-cell 48.8 WHr battery. At around 8 hours, battery life is impressive for a notebook of this size, but still it falls short of Dell’s promise of 66% better battery life.
Heat and Noise
The cooling system does a good job and keeps the heat and noise levels well within normal limits.
· Awesome Looks
· Light Weight & Thinner
· Comfortable Keypad
· HDMI Port
· Long Battery Life
· Windows 7, 64 Bit
· WLED Screen
· Less Heat
· Average Performance
· No Keyboard Backlight
· Slightly over priced
Considering all these pros and cons, I’m still satisfied with my choice of Dell Inspiron 14z. I don’t say it is the best model available in market, but surely I could say it is a model you can consider for comparison if you are looking for a longer battery life. I hope this article would have provided a user review of Dell Inspiron 14z laptop as well as few tips on choosing a laptop. I would love to receive your comments/queries.