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Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook review

Ardjuna Seghers



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Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook
  • Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook


Our Score:



  • Affordable
  • Flexible specs
  • Good usability


  • Average design
  • Average screen
  • Average battery life
  • Heavy

Key Features

  • Windows 8 Ultrabook (no touchscreen)
  • 14-inch 1366 x 768 TN display
  • Brushed metal and silver plastic finish
  • Up to Core i7, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD
  • Optional AMD Radeon HD7570M graphics
  • Manufacturer: Dell
  • Review Price: to be confirmed


Dell can usually be relied upon to give the consumer a wide choice when it comes to laptops, and is now doing the same with Ultrabooks (slim laptops with decent performance). It started out with the premium Dell XPS 13 and XPS 14, but now we’re looking at the budget end of the company’s Ultrabook range: the new Dell Inspiron 14z.

With a starting price of £479, the 14-inch Inspiron 14z is definitely one of the cheapest Ultrabooks going. Yet it still manages to come clad in metal and offer some decent features, and it’s one of the few Ultrabooks on the market to sport a built-in optical drive.

Dell Inspiron 14z 7

Specs are also very flexible. You can go all the way from the base config of a Core i3 with 6GB of RAM and a 500GB hybrid hard drive, to a Core i7 with 8GB of memory and a nice 256GB SSD, along with dedicated AMD Radeon HD7570M graphics.

Dell Inspiron 14z - Design and Build

Compared to the lovely and clean design of Dell’s XPS range, the Inspiron 14z comes across as rather lacklustre despite all that lovely brushed metal. This is mainly because Dell has used various bits and panels rather than offering a unified, harmonious whole.

The Inspiron 14z’s lid is actually fairly attractive. It consists mainly of a brushed gunmetal-grey aluminium panel with the Dell logo embossed in chrome and a matt silver outer surround made of solid plastic.Dell Inspiron 14z 8

It’s when you open this laptop up that things start going downhill. Inside the Dell Inspiron 14z offers a matt black screen bezel with the silver trim from the lid changed to a matt dark grey.

However, the surround on the base is back to silver, which contrasts with the keyboard surround and palm rests in the same gunmetal grey aluminium as the lid. This in turn doesn’t gel well with the glossy black keyboard with its matt black keys. To add insult to injury, there’s a massive chrome power button to match the chrome-finish hinges.

Dell Inspiron 14z 13

That’s probably more types and colours of finish than we’ve ever seen on a single laptop, and we can’t help but wish Dell’s design department had held the creed that “simplicity is beauty” a little closer to mind when it came time to create the Inspiron 14z’s looks. Having said all that, this 14z isn’t ugly, but it looks a little too much like ‘my first laptop’ to earn plaudits in the design department.

Build quality on the good side of decent. Overall there’s a bit more give and creak in parts of the chassis than we would like, but none of it feels fragile. Our main concern would be the give in the keyboard, which is especially galling if you buy the maxed-out Dell Inspiron 14z for over £800.

Dell Inspiron 14z 2

It’s also worth noting that the Inspiron 14z is rather thick and heavy as Ultrabooks go. The extra thickness of just over 20mm is largely accounted for by the optical drive, but at 1.87kg (for the hard drive version), the Inspiron 14z is really getting far too weighty for a 14-inch ultraportable.

Dell Inspiron 14z – Connectivity and Webcam

Connectivity is good for such an affordable Ultrabook. On the left you’ll find a Gigabit Ethernet port, full-size HDMI and USB 3.0 port. In an effort to maintain a premium aesthetic, Dell has hidden these left-most ports behind sturdy plastic flaps, which seem quite robust and are easy to open. However, even if they’re handy for keeping dust out we aren’t big fans of these kinds of contraptions, as they get in the way more often than not.

Dell Inspiron 14z

On the Inspiron 14z’s right, there’s an SDXC card reader, headphone/microphone jack, second USB 3.0 port and of course that optical drive, a tray-loading 8x DVD rewriter. Thankfully, the USB port here is left bare – which arguably balances out our earlier complaint, as the average consumer for this laptop won’t usually need to insert more than one USB peripheral/cable at a time.

On the wireless side of things you’ll find nothing fancy, just the usual Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth combo. As with every laptop worth its salt these days, the Dell Inspiron 14z sports a HD 720p webcam for video chatting, and it works as well as most.


March 31, 2013, 11:57 am

I have been using the dell 14z ultrabook for the past 2 months and think it's about time to give a review. One of the worst features about this ultrabook, and not pointed out, is the utterly horrible quality of the bulit in webcam. I read many reviews complaining how heavy this ultabook is, but honestly the weight isn't a problem for me. It's light enough to carry around where ever I go, very slim too. The graphics are excellent and I really love the island-style keyboard even though there is no back lighting Like any other laptop, you can change the touch pad settings and sensitivity so the touch pad is no biggie. It doesn't heat up like those hp laptops which burn your thighs. In fact, this laptop keeps pretty cool. Of course, this depends on what programs you're running. I usually only use this pc to surf the net, do assignments, watch videos and stuff like that. Once I tried to run XCOM and it heated up really fast. So, yeah, for all those gamers out there, this is most definitely not for you. I hope this review helped:)


August 21, 2013, 8:57 pm

I love this laptop! I got mine about 3 months ago, and totally love it. I agree that the webcam sucks, but so what. It has GREAT battery life, is very light, and does everything I need it to do and more for school. Definitely reccomend! (If you're thinking of getting one, there are student discounts on Dell's website, and also check out some coupon sites for further discounts, I got mine for a steal!!)


October 4, 2013, 6:31 pm

I've had mine for about 2 months now and I hate it! First of all it is not as fast as I expected it to be. As I said it has only been two months but my "escape" button fell out the other day and I had to put it back in. The "inspiron" on the front below the screen has the "n" missing and I have no idea how that happened so this laptop is physically not strong at all, it's poor quality. And it's not at all because I'm careless, I used my previous laptop for 4 years and it still works and in good shape. Yes the webcam really sucks but I don't mind that half as much as when my mouse pointer just freezes for the longest time and I have to sit there and wait for my "ultra-responsive" ultrabook to start working again. Another thing is when it goes into "sleep-mode". Sometimes if I leave it on for a while the screen switches itself off but the on button does not switch it on again like it should when you wake it from a normal sleep mode. The on button stays on (does not flash on and fade off like it does when it's in sleep mode) but the screen is black. Pressing any button on the keyboard doesn't help nor does pressing the on button. The only remedy is to press and hold the on button to switch it off completely and then press again to restart it. And then lastly, my battery capacity, even with such good care is already reduced from about 5 hours initially to 2hr 15 min. I can't believe it! I feel as if I have a second hand laptop. I've been terribly disappointed. I hope Dell will solve all these problems because at the moment I'm not happy at all!


October 21, 2013, 6:28 pm

This is an awful computer! DO NOT BUY. Super slow. About 2 months into owning my 14z, the screen got damaged and needed replacement. Turns out these screens are so poorly designed that Dell has already stopped producing them, which has made it a pain to replace. Computer also freezes up a lot. Not wroth your money, and CERTAINLY not an ultrabook.


October 30, 2013, 6:07 pm

Its a nice laptop i am saying because i used allot of different laptop brands for more then 6 year now i bought Dell inspiron 14z which seems to me a cool one due to it design ,weight and battery life and price as compare to other models in the market .Some people know nothing about laptops they bought a laptop for internet surfing and when Youtube video stop buffering they just stat blaming that this Laptop is a piece of shit.So be careful while reading any such review .
The battery life of this laptop on light use is 3 hours and 40 min almost and with heavy use its 2 hours 30 min appox.

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