CES 2013: Dell reveals Touch-Based Inspiron and HD XPS laptops

Dell is updating the majority of its laptops, with new hardware and features coming across the board for both budget and mainstream Inspiron laptops. These upgrades are more than just a refresh, switching out processors for newer models. The Inspiron family is slimming down with a lighter, thinner design, and getting optional touch capability. The Dell XPS 13 is joining in on the act as well, with the already excellent ultrabook gaining an eye-catching 1080p display.

The value priced Dell Inspiron 14, 15, and 17in models are all being updated, with three new models, the Inspiron 14-3421, the Inspiron 15-3521, and the Inspiron 17-3721. These budget-friendly notebook PCs have been redesigned with a thinner, lighter build which is less than 2.28kg and barely 1in thick. The plastic construction has a matte finish, and while the chassis is noticeably thinner than its 2012 predecessors, it still offers all of the features seen before, including an optical drive.

While the Inspiron 14-3421 and Inspiron 15-3521 both offer standard 1,366x768 resolution, the 17in Inspiron 17-3721 bumps up the picture quality to 1,600x900 resolution. An HD Webcam records video in 720p, and Intel's WiDi lets you stream HD video content wirelessly to your TV. Finally, all three models are updated with new Intel processors and optional graphics processing with both Nvidia GeForce GT 640M and AMD Radeon HD 8730M GPUs available.

The budget Inspiron line is getting a different sort of upgrade with optional touchscreen-equipped configurations available. By adding touch capability with 10-finger tracking and enhanced gesture support, the new Inspirons let you experience Windows 8 as it was meant to be used, letting you swipe, tap, and zoom intuitively by simply reaching to the screen.

For those willing to pay more for the mainstream configurations, Dell's Inspiron R series is also being updated. Available in 14, 15 and 17in models, the Inspiron 14R-5421, Inspiron 15R-5521, and Inspiron 17R-5721 models are being updated with new processing hardware, and optional graphics processors. Dell's mainstream Inspiron line is getting dressed up with new brushed aluminium exteriors and a variety of colours, including blue, dark grey, red, and pink joining to the lighter grey of the bare metal.

Like the previously mentioned models, the new Inspiron R line-up will offer USB 3.0 connectivity, HDMI output, wired Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, an HD webcam, and a tray-loading optical drive. Intel's WiDi lets you stream video wirelessly and also offers Bluetooth connectivity. In addition to new slimmer designs, the Inspiron R series is also available in both standard and touch configurations, bringing the touch support necessary to make the most of Windows 8.

Finally, the premium Dell XPS 13 ultrabook has been given a true HD refresh. The slim sliver of a laptop will keep all of the details that made it a top-rated ultrabook, like a CNC-machine milled aluminium frame and lid, magnesium alloy palmrest, and carbon fibre frame. The feature set includes Intel Core i5 processor, a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, mini-DisplayPort and wired Ethernet, and excellent battery life. The big difference is that the edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass now covers a 1,920x1,080 resolution display, letting you enjoy video and graphics in eye-popping 1080p.

A full announcement about the Dell XPS 13, including pricing and availability, is expected later this month.