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Dell Inspiron 15z review

Dell's latest family-friendly Windows 8 Ultrabook

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Comfortable keyboard
  • DVD drive
  • 6GB RAM
  • Discrete graphics

Against

  • No touchscreen
  • Poor battery
  • Only 720p HD
  • Too large to be portable

Dell's Inspiron range of laptops is almost a byword for solid, family-friendly machines that strike an entirely reasonable balance between price, performance and construction.

The latest refresh of the line, the Dell Inspiron 15z Ultrabook, continues this trend, and stands alongside the likes of the Acer Aspire S5 and the HP Envy 6 as an example of a middle-of-the-road laptop done right.

One of the main reasons for Dell's refresh is the presence of Windows 8. Unfortunately, the Dell Inspiron 15z doesn't come with a touchscreen as standard - it's an optional upgrade. Despite the update, our gut reaction is that if you have a family laptop less than a year and a half old, there isn't enough that's new here to merit a purchase.

Dell Inspiron 15z Ultrabook review

However, if you're fresh to the laptop market or have been waiting for Microsoft's new upgrade to replace that ageing four-year-old laptop, then there's plenty to be said for the Dell Inspiron 15z.

Dell frequently offers different specifications of its laptops and Ultrabooks at different prices, and the Dell Inspiron 15z is no different.

There's the usual Intel Core i3/i5/i7 choices, as well as the option to add extra RAM and a dedicated graphics chip.

Dell Inspiron 15z Ultrabook review

Our Dell Inspiron 15z review model came at the higher end of the spectrum, with an i7 processer, 6GB of RAM and a discrete Nvidia GT630M graphics chip (though the Australian and US versions come with 8GB RAM).

Predictably then, performance was a highlight, and certainly adequate for the £799/ AU$1,499/ US$999.99 price tag that comes with this specification.

Build quality is the usual high standard, with no flex on or around the chassis, and a couple of nice touches - such as a backlit keyboard and a DVD drive - thrown in for good measure.

Dell Inspiron 15z Ultrabook review

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In a market now dominated by devices sporting unique and costly USPs, such as the Asus Padfone 2, Sony Vaio Duo 11 or the Macbook Pro with Retina Display, the Dell Inspiron 15z is a reliably standard consumer Ultrabook.

It doesn't blow us away in terms of specifications or design, but for a family computer that needs to handle a range of different applications - office work, light gaming or heavy internet use - it passes the test comfortably without breaking the bank.

The Dell Inspiron 15z isn't trying to fit a specific type of performance such as gaming, multimedia, portability or style - instead it offers a jack-of-all-trades approach to all these options. We see it instead being suited to a modern family where each member can have a separate profile and use this machine for a variety of tasks.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Hard Drive Capacity160 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelGMA X4500HD
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time4.38 Hour
Solid State Drive CapacityNo
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyInspiron 15z
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelSU4100
ColourBlack
Brand NameDell
Processor Speed1.30 GHz
Processor TypePentium
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells4-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory2 GB
Cache2 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelGS45 Express
Optical Media SupportedDVD±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTrueLife
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-800/PC3-6400
Height26.4 mm
Width380 mm
Depth247.9 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Series15z
ManufacturerDell, Inc
Product NameInspiron 15z DNCWKF1 Notebook
Product LineInspiron
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDNCWKF1
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.dell.co.uk
Marketing Information

Introducing the new thin, light and ultra mobile Inspiron 15z laptop. Packed full of mobile features like a 15.6¨ Hi-def display, up to a 500GB hard drive with 7200RPM and a built-in, 7-in-1 media card reader, the 15z gets you through your day with everything you need. And with long-lasting battery options, you can take on your on-the-go lifestyle without any hesitation.

Maximum Memory6 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Limited Warranty1 Year
Bus Speed800 MHz