Skip to main content

Dell's Inspiron range set to expand

For the uninitiated, Dell's Inspiron laptops come in three flavours. The Inspiron z series is designed with portability in mind, so they are markedly thinner than Dell's other offerings. The Inspiron R series is geared towards everyday use, while the Inspiron R Special Edition is tailored for multimedia creation and consumption.

Today Dell unveiled a grand total of six new laptops, or two for each series, all of which come equipped with Intel's new third-generation Generation Core i processors (Ivy Bridge). A sleek, curved-edge design rimmed by a 'Moon Silver' band is found in all six systems. While they all come pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, they will be eligible for the Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade program. The machines hit US stores later in June.

Those are the common features, but here's a look at the distinguishing characteristics for each series.

Inspiron 14z and 13z

Inspiron 14z marks the Inspiron's first foray into ultrabook territory. Starting at 4.12 pounds and a thickest point of 21mm, the 14z's svelte design complements its brushed aluminum finish, which is available in two color choices - Moon Silver and Fire Red. The 14-inch high definition (720p) WLED display looks promising, and with a purported battery life of seven hours, it can evidently be enjoyed at length. The Inspiron 14z starts at $699.99 (around £450).

Inspiron 15R and 17R

Like the Inspiron 13z, the Inspiron 15R and 17R are customizable via different lids. Both are laptops designed for everyday computing, sporting high-definition displays (15.6-inch 720p for the 15R; 17.3-inch 900p for the 17R). Multiple configuration options regarding processors, memory, and hard drives are available. As an added flourish, the Inspiron 15R and 17R feature Wireless Display (WiDi) technology for wireless HD streaming to an external display. The Inspiron 15R starts at $549.99 (£355) and has a purported battery life of six hours and 46 minutes, while the Inspiron 17R starts at $599.99 (£388) and has an advertised battery life of five hours and 34 minutes.

15R Special Edition and 17R Special Edition

Although the Inspiron R Special Edition series bears some similarities to the aforementioned Inspiron R series, this branch is souped up for multimedia production and consumption. The 15R and 17R Special Editions are decked out in a "Stealth Black" anodized aluminum chassis, and sport a full HD display (15R Special Edition: 15.6 inch WLED, 17R Special Edition: 17.3 inch, 400 nit) as well as optional Blu-ray compatibility. Skullcandy speakers complement the included Waves MaxxAudio 5 audio suite. The 15R Special Edition features discrete graphics from AMD, whereas the 17R Special Edition offers a discrete NVIDIA GPU.

Moreover, the 17R Special Edition is available with an optional Full HD 3D display. The Inspiron 15R Special Edition starts at $899.99 (£582) and has an advertised battery life of five hours and 25 minutes. The Inspiron 17R Special Edition starts at $1,099.99 (£712) and has a purported battery life of five hours and 23 minutes.