Dell Inspiron 13z Review - Keyboard, Touchpad, Screen & Audio Review


As noted just now, there’s hint of rattle in the keyboard and it’s symptomatic of its performance. Its keys, while large and thoughtfully arranged, lack the bite and positivity we expect. In all likelihood you can adjust to it and use it quite adequately, but for the most part it feels lightweight and unsatisfying to use. One nice touch is the presence of shortcut keys as the primary actions on the F-keys, but it doesn’t make up for the poor overall performance.

By contrast the touchpad is just fine, but then it’s pretty hard to go wrong in this department; it’s well-proportioned, glides smoothly generally works as it should. We’re not particularly enamoured with the two buttons, though, whose sprung actions match the keyboard in being muddy and imprecise.

Such mixed emotions are reflected in the screen, too. Literally, in fact, as the 13z sports a reflective, glossy finish to its screen. Of course the 13z isn’t unique in this trait, but it’s always a consideration if you’re planning to use the machine on the move. More pointedly the viewing angles are particularly poor, making it difficult to watch videos and view photos from anything other than the optimum viewing angle.

It’s a shame, too, as when you are sitting comfortably (and accurately) the 13z’s screen is pretty good. It produces reasonable colours and resolves a decent level of detail in videos and photos. That this can only be experienced in such a narrow range is deeply frustrating, though.

While not quite “deeply frustrating”, the speakers on the 13z are something of an afterthought. This much can be gleaned from their location below the front edge of the machine, so that they point down into the desk and/or your lap. They do a passable job for online video clips, but music and films sound weak and unrefined. Don’t be fooled by the presence of the ‘SRS Premium Sound’ branding just below the screen, it’s not a guarantor of fidelity by a long chalk.

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