REVIEW DELL INSPIRON 14Z - With the new Inspiron 14Z, Dell renews his line of notebooks for the mainstream consumer market, offering a cheap product but more polished than the average and a hardware platform versatile enough to allow a household type as Small Office Home Office.

Inspiron is the name that identifies the consumer notebook mainstream of U.S. giant Dell, while 14Z is the acronym that indicates the model with a diagonal of 14 incheswithin a range that goes up to 17 inches.

Following the normal rate of refresh of its products at IFA 2011, the American company had also announced an update of this notebook, both in terms of aesthetics both in terms of hardware equipment, now even more powerful, but always with a very low price.

The result is a portable compact yet practical to use (Dell-style) but with a touch of novelty, in this case represented by the body in aluminum alloy, unusual for a mainstream notebook in this price range, and capable of giving greater strength but also a much more elegant look, almost exclusively.


Also now, thanks to an LCD display with LED backlight very thin, the thickness is contained in 2.5 cm and weighs less than 2 pounds, the results are relevant for this type of device that aims to find the best compromise between performance and portability. It should however be noted that, despite the compact volumes, Dell Inspiron 14Z imposes no waiver, even incorporating a DVD recorder (often useful, but now absent on many ultraportables).


Dell has also improved the hardware platform. The Inspiron 14Z can rely on the processing power of multiple processors Intel Sandy Bridge will be possible, choosing Core i3 or i5, whereas for the maximum amount of memory DDR3 RAM installed, you can be up to 8 GB.Finally storage is available hard drives with capacities up to 750 GB.

Among other features, we report the presence of USB 3.0 ports and Mini DisplayPort digital video outputs and HDMI. Already from this first overview, the protagonist of our review is as comprehensive in scope than a notebook, especially if you think that the basic model is priced at just 529 euros. Before andarne to test more in depth features and performance, however, let’s look at packaging, bundle and configuration of the specimen received in writing.


  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2430M 2.4 GHz dual core 32 nm (Sandy Bridge)
  • Chipset: Intel HM67 PCH (Cougar Point)
  • Memory: 1 x 4 GB DDR3 PC3 10700
  • Graphics Subsystem: Intel GMA 3000 HD
  • HDD: Toshiba 640 GB 5400 RPM 8 MB Cache SATA II 3.0Gb / s
  • Display: 14 “1366 × 768 LED backlight
  • Webcam: HD 1 Mpixel
  • Ports: 1x Mini DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0 with PowerShare, combo 1x Line In / Out, 1x RJ-45 LAN, 1x card reader SD / MS / MMC, 1 x Kensington Lock
  • Connectivity: 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN, WiFi 802.11 b / g / n, Bluetooth
  • Battery: Lithium Ion 4-cell 44 Wh
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Dimensions: 346 x 245.5 mm x 25.35/25.87
  • Weight: 1.92 kg with 4 cell battery
  • More: Compact Power Adapter with power cord, manuals and warranty, lithium ion battery, DVD with drivers and utilities


The Dell Inspiron 14Z comes in a pack rather than cured, cardboard white with green sides and a picture on the cover of the laptop. Inside is everything you need to then use the notebook in addition to the standard battery, it is a small power supply, cable for power supply, DVD with drivers and utilities, and various paperwork, which includes a quick start guide , the software license and a handbook on environmental and safety regulations.

Design and general impressions

The design of the Dell Inspiron 14Z is pleasant and modern, with simple clean lines, simple but very present in their stylization. Although this is a budget device, making level and the quality is very good, especially through the use of quality materials for cover, and c-shell, both covered in brushed aluminum.

To interrupt the homogeneity of the metal involved, then some details, such as the circle of chrome Inspiron DELL logo or mark imprinted on one corner of the frame. The editing is flawless, free of burrs and imperfections as shown by the absence of crunches and pushups.

The bottom is made of black polycarbonate and aesthetically looks linear in the complex and with very few details. The rest of the body of our test instead of a beautiful red color, but in the time of writing, on the Dell site is only available version “Espresso Black” which probably tastes better combined both of those looking for a stylish notebook sober for the work both of whom want something trendy leisure.



Another special feature of this laptop is then made ??sure the placement of the cover, instead of having the hinges flush with the back rests farther back, leaving the back free to stay and battery interfaces.


Thanks to a slim 14-inch panel, Dell was also able to limit the overall size, which totaled about 346 x 245.5 x 25.35/25.87 mm, weighing less than 2 kg, a result not uncommon for a notebook belonging to this segment of the market.


However, Dell has also put equal focus on technical and functional profiles. Thus, for example, the keyboard is well organized and, despite the compact size of the notebook, it offers a great layout, with full-size keys that make typing easier and smoother. Impressive, finally, the solidity of the keyboard that does not yield a millimeter under the pressure of the hands.


In short, the Inspiron 14Z, Dell has succeeded in the difficult task of finding the right balance between space, design, material quality and robustness.


The allocation of ports of the Dell Inspiron 14Z is complete and also includes the latest generation interfaces like USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4 and mini DisplayPort.

We also find a memory card reader SD / MS / MMC and a Kensington lock attachment, always useful to anchor the laptop to the desktop when working in places open to the public.

Back side: We have already described the aesthetic choice of Dell to advance the hinges of the cover. The advantage is to provide a greater thickness at the back but not at the expense of the thinness of the notebook. It is a device that allowed Dell to accommodate an RJ45 port for Ethernet LAN standard in a frame height of only 2 cm and a half.


Left side: Very interesting is the arrangement of the doors on the sides, covered with protective door. This is an unusual arrangement not only in the mainstream segment but also in the high-end and that there is liked not only because it protects the doors themselves from infiltration of dust, but also because it contributes to an increased linearity aesthetics of the whole. On this side is home to the mini DisplayPort and HDMI video outputs, USB 2.0 function PowerShare to charge external devices even with the laptop on standby and the slot for SD, MS and MMC, as well as a ventilation grid.


Right: On this side we see the attack instead Kensington security ports, two USB 3.0, headphone and microphone jack combo and a DVD burner, the type-loading tray.


Front: The front hand is completely devoid of doors, except for a few status LEDs, located on the left.


Fund: As already mentioned, the bottom is the battery, a series of smaller grids for ventilation, the two speakers of 2 W each, protected by metal grilles and door to access the RAM and hard disk. The high capacity battery Inspiron 14Z of our projects with respect to the profile of the notebook, forming a step that creates a forward tilt of the base when you place the notebook on the table.

Processor, memory, and platform

Dell has chosen for its Inspiron 14Z a balanced yet powerful enough hardware configuration,which guarantees the right balance between the ability to perform the task working smoothly and the battery life, very important if you want to be able to remain functional mobility for the whole day. As seen in the opening there are two Intel processors to choose from, all of Sandy Bridge generation with 32-nm manufacturing process.

The sample under test is equipped with dual core Intel Core i5-2430M, the successor of the Core i5-2410M against which received a small increase in clock frequency, which is reflected in a slight performance increase. The CPU has a maximum TDP of 35 W, with a clock rate of 2.4 GHz to 3.0 GHz can climb up through the dynamic overclocking technology made by Intel Turbo Boost, depending on the workload of each of the instantaneous two cores.

Alongside the CPU chipset are more exactly PCH (Platform Controller Hub) Intel HM67 Cougar Point, as well as deal with the management of I / O such as USB or SATA channels, and audio features also security features such as Intel Anti Theft, which allows you to completely disable the notebook in case of theft. Unfortunately, instead of the current generation of Intel chipsets do not natively support the new USB 3.0 interface, for which Dell has had to use a dedicated controller.


The integrated memory controller inside the CPU supports up to four slots SO-DIMM DDR3 RAM at 1066 or 1333 MHz 4 GB each for a total of 16 GB. The Dell Inspiron 14Z bench trial, we find a 4GB DDR3 PC3 10700 with Hynix chips, with the following characteristics:

  • Part Number: Hynix HMT351S6BFR8C-H9
  • Module Size: 4 GB
  • Module Type: SO-DIMM
  • Memory Type: DDR3 SDRAM
  • Memory Speed: DDR3 PC3 10700 (667 MHz)
  • Module Width: 64 bits
  • Error Detection Method: None
  • Memory Timings:
    • @ 609 MHz 8-8-8-22 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 30-98-4-10-5-5 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP)
    • @ 533 MHz 7-7-7-20 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 27-86-4-8-4-4 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP)
    • @ 457 MHz 6-6-6-17 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 23-74-3-7-4-4 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP)
    • @ 380 MHz 5-5-5-14 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 19-61-3-6-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP)

It thus remains a second memory slot is completely free for any upgrade (and easily accessible from the door on the bottom of the laptop.

Audio and video

The management is entrusted to the audio controller Conexant Cx20590, which offers a maximum resolution of 24 bit, 192 kHz and an amplification of 2 W RMS per channel. The Conexant also responds to the specific Intel High Definition Audio 1.0, APO supports third-party audio such as Dolby and SRS technology and is equipped with Spread Spectrum Electromagnetic Interference to mitigate the deleterious effects on acoustic signals of electromagnetic emissions (EMI), which abound all ‘ inside of a computer.

To manage the video industry is only the graphics processor instead of Intel GMA 3000 HDintegrated into the CPU. Dell has decided not to install any dedicated video card for his laptop, so as to contain costs. On the other hand, the Inspiron 14Z, with its 14-inch diagonal, certainly is not and vice versa as the gaming notebook Intel GMA IGP 3000 HD is more than enough for normal daily operations in 2D and 3D, but of course no guarantee adequate performance with all the games.

And thanks to the presence of a unit dedicated to decoding hardware, this chip can easily play HD video up to 1080p and even allow to speed up editing and conversion.


The monitor is a Samsung model SEC5441 LCD with 16:9 aspect ratio, LED backlit and features a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The panel provides an acceptable quality, even if the contrast ratio is lower than the average. The value of the luminance of the display is valid, but unfortunately in some situations the colors may seem unrealistic, especially green and blue.

The audiovisual sector is finally completed by a 1 megapixel camera accompanied by a microphone. The webcam comes with the Dell Webcam Central, produced by Creative and allows you to take pictures, record video and special effects used in video chat programs.

Keyboard and touchpad

Lifting the cover we can see the piano keyboard. The keyboard is placed within a molding, whose perimeter is elegantly accentuated by a thin chrome bezel, two details that combine to make a little ‘busier this part of the body, giving it that little bit of dynamism that does not ruin the’ essential elegance.

The layout is chiclet type, using the island, with a broad stroke, but with a comfortable and precise typing response, which reduces the risk that the typing mistakes. We have already alluded to the strength of the keyboard as all notebooks are greatly improved compared to the past in this respect, however, the keyboard Inspiron 14Z still appreciate you for the’exceptional strength.

The touchpad is fairly large and has two separate buttons, two very important for people using the computer for a long time on the move, without the aid of a mouse. The surface offers the right degree of roughness in order to obtain precision without penalizing the scroll speed, however, the two keys have a strong resistance to pressure and require a certain force to be pressed.


If the stiffness is a quality keyboard, but the selection buttons can be frustrating and we are often surprised to use the tap on the membrane instead of the left button. Fortunately, the touchpad is multitouch type and you can compensate with gestures that can be configured using the tools Dell Touchpad.

Along the top edge of the keyboard are lined up for the ignition key, place the top left, andthree quick keys: the first is associated with the Windows Mobility Center, the second to Dell Support Center and the third can be Dell customized via Instant Manager.

Hard drives and storage

The Dell Inspiron 14Z is equipped with a Toshiba Hard Disk Drive 2.5 inch with a thickness of 9.5 cm, rotation speed of 5400 RPM, 8 MB ??data buffer and Serial ATA II 3Gb / s.

It is a magnetic hard disk of a standard type that belongs to the family Toshiba MKxx75GSX, which includes disks from the good qualities of reliability.

Looking at the graph generated by HDTune we can detect overall good performance for a hard disk of this capacity and with this speed of rotation of the plates.

Excellent access the time, especially taking into account the size and rotation speed of this unit.


The storage section is completed by a DVD-burning optical drive and SD memory card reader.The fact that it has adopted a standard DVD burner instead of a more refined Blu-Ray, however, should not surprise, nor diminish the positive assessment to date attributed to this notebook. Adopt an optical drive of the second type it would not have done nothing but drive up costs unnecessarily, without adding significant advantages of a device being equipped with a 14-inch display is not really designed for multimedia entertainment, though the Inspiron 14Z is able to view videos up to 720p.



Going to networking, besides the wired connection of Gigabit Ethernet, managed by the controller Atheros AR8151 PCI-E, there is also the type of wireless WiFi 802.11n and Bluetooth, but it covers the module Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1030. The first is based on the ETHOS-Designed Green Ethernet technology (EDGE) which, with support IEEE 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet and ASP L0 thus reduce fuel consumption, resulting in a lower power consumption and therefore greater autonomy for the handset.

The Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1030 is instead a form of type combo dual-stream (1×2), single-band (2.4 GHz), which as mentioned is the connection supports WiFi 802.11a/g/n that this type of Bluetooth, allowing for the first to reach a maximum speed of 150 Mbps and 300 Mbps downstream transmission. The module also includes support for various Intel technologies, both consumer and business type, such as Intel Widi (Wireless Display), which allows you to stream video in Full HD compatible external displays without cable connections and Intel My WiFi Technology , may be used instead of interfacing wirelessly smartphone, printers, cameras and other compatible wireless device, a handy feature indeed in the home.

Battery and temperature

The battery has equipped the unit test is the extended type, the most spacious available, and is composed of 6-cell lithium ion battery with a capacity of 65 Wh, compared to 44 Wh of the 4-cell standard.

As always we have used the software BAPCo MobileMark 2007 Reader set in the scenario, which simulates a state of constant idle, so you can detect what may be considered the maximum possible autonomy for portable testing.

During the course of this test also always remember that you chose a profile characterized by the maximum energy savings possible, but leaving the luminance of the display to maximum in order to simulate a situation of use as truthful as possible, as in everyday life no one could work or enjoy some leisure time with the brightness at minimum level.


With the high capacity battery, the Dell Inspiron 14Z scored a remarkable autonomy, equal to 417 minutes, or nearly 7 hours. This is an excellent result which allows you to have a range of almost an entire workday, something which is not to underestimate Inspiron 14Z, beneficial both for the professional looking for a laptop powerful enough but still light and compact to carry around, but also for the consumer user, you can count on many hours of entertainment on the move.

Remember however that the 6-cell battery is not supplied with the standard Dell Inspiron 14Z, but that is purchased as a BTO option during configuration. A highly recommended upgrade for all users who have special need for extreme mobility and will not be disappointed by the performance of this battery.


Turning to the measurement of threshold temperatures, the stress test AIDA64 we detected about 73.5 ° C for the processor and just over 28 ° C for the hard disk. Despite the processor of this notebook has 35 W of maximum TDP therefore peak temperatures are decent: Dell is able to insert in the little space available within a body so compact cooling system is efficient and does not excessively noisy, capable of to control the exuberance of the dual core 2.4 GHz, while maintaining an acceptable temperature inside the chassis, as evidenced by the temperature of the hard disk.


As we have already seen, the Dell Inspiron 14Z arrived in the newsroom is equipped with a suitable hardware platform to use domestic and multimedia, thanks to the powerful processor, a good amount of RAM, relative to the category s ‘means, the display can play videos up to 720p natively and outputs HDMI and DisplayPort, allowing the display of video streams up to 1080p on an external monitor with a diagonal.

Obviously the choice to only implement a graphics processor integrated into the CPU excludes the possibility of this notebook will benefit from the latest 3D games, but we must not forget that we are still talking about a compact 14 inches.

We start as usual from synthetic benchmark that Windows returns scores substantially correct and satisfy the expectations were in line with other similar configurations: the scoremigliore is related to the computational power and memory and hard disk are positioned on a lower step.


The benchmark 7Zip confirmed as long as the programs that take advantage of multiple cores, or physical harm, a higher frequency only partially compensates for the lower number of active cores. With SuperPi, which is instead a test that does not exploit the multi-threading, the situation is obviously the opposite.



From the results obtained with the synthetic benchmarks such as PCMark05, PCMark Vantage and PCMark 7 can instead evaluate the ability of the system as a whole. The three tools in question assign scores excellent all’Inspiron 14Z, largely due to the standard voltage processor. The results are very good in all scenarios of use, with the partial even if obvious exception of the services offered PGI Intel 3000 HD that, if on the one hand does not disappoint as regards the operations of decoding of video streams and management of 2D images is not, however, as explained in the Audio and Video, can guarantee the playability with games of last generation, wanting to give the maximum detail or to the use of advanced filters.




This is reflected in the scores reported by 3DMark06 and 3DMark Vantage benchmark. Lack of evaluation of 3DMark 11 because the integrated video subsystem does not support DirectX 11 and therefore is not able to run this test.



In any case, it is a consumer notebook that arises in particular in order to be able to offer a balanced and valuable device in many different contexts, we can not confirm that the excellent work done by Dell, in a notebook so compact, it is managed to integrate a hardware platform that normally would be in a much more 15-inch size and weight.


The Dell Inspiron 14Z is equipped with the operating system Microsoft Windows Home Premium 64-bit, next to which, however, we find the usual broad suite of proprietary software that adds interesting features to this notebook. First is the unified interface Dell Stage, which offers a quick and easy acces to our collections of documents, photos (PhotoStage), music (MusicStage) and video (VIDEOSTAGE), but also the most widely used programs and more, through a bar consisting of large easily identifiable icons.

Instead of Stage Remote allows you to transfer our favorite content from one device to another, such as between two PCs, but also between the PC or notebook and TV or console, without using cable connections, thanks to the support the connection technology DLNA Wireless. Dell syncup rather conveniently allows you to manage and synchronize your files on different devices, from desktop to your smartphone through a unified interface simple and intuitive.


About the administration tools include Dell Support Center, a program that not only allow to contact the service, also offers a very complete diagnostic system, capable of carrying out a test suite to test the health of the notebook and report any problems. Dell DataSafe Local BackUp instead is a program for backing up local data, to be made ??for example on another hard drive or other storage medium such as memory, DVD etc, while his counterpart Dell DataSafe Online is a cloud service which provides a space on the Web, to save our valuable data, which will also be protected with encryption technology available to the service itself.


Rounding out the group and Dell Touchpad Dell Audio. The first allows a single interface to manage both the functions of the touchpad of a possible mouse, while the second is an interesting tool that lets you control all the parameters related to audio playback, allowing also to apply enhancement algorithms or of virtual surround sound, as in the case SRS Premium Sound HD. There is also a function of Reinforcement Microphone Conexant, which exploits the advanced capabilities of the Conexant sound chip which we have already spoken, for example, allows to reduce the background noise captured mainly by low-quality consumer microphones, such as those integrated solitamete in the headphones, or even improve the quality of the recordings.


A view from outside the Dell Inspiron 14Z does not look like a notebook with a starting price of just 529 euros. Studied in detail, aesthetically pleasing, characterized by clean lines and a body almost entirely of aluminum alloy with satin finish, this laptop looks much more expensive. The U.S. giant has therefore not spared in seeking solutions to offer great quality at a low cost, effort that has continued even in the choice of hardware platform components, balanced and sufficiently powerful to allow a profitable use in various usage scenarios, except for gaming, due to the lack of a dedicated graphics card.

Beyond this limit, however small the Dell Inspiron 14Z provides an ’excellent versatility. Thesolid keyboard, powerful processor, the vast amount of available RAM, the size and weight and content ’incredible autonomy, which in our tests has reached 7 hours with 6 cell battery, all combine to make this laptop advantageous for a purchase price that is offered.


If you are looking for a unique notebook Lightweight and compact, with outstanding portability and adequate performance, elegant and well done, is to be used to perform small tasks like Small Office / Home Office for use in leisure, but with a limited budget, the Dell Inspiron 14Z is an opportunity that should not be missed. With prices for the base configuration, is slightly greater than that required for most netbook-equipped Dell Inspiron 14Z offers much more in terms of computing power, quality of materials, comfort and ergonomics of use .

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