The Dell Inspiron 14z is a fairly lightweight, 14" portable notebook computer that's geared toward users that want battery life over top-of-the-class performance. Unlike other similar notebooks, the 14z comes with an optical drive and a larger 14-inch widescreen display.
The Insprion 14z from Dell is very similar to the Studio 14z, but this model includes an optical drive and Intel integrated graphics. Because of this, the 14z is slightly larger and a little heavier too, weighing in at 4.4 pounds. The added weight is just another thing to keep in mind as this can limit portability to a certain degree as similar models are sub-4.0 pounds. Its total thickness is 1" with the 4-cell battery installed. However, we feel that the inclusion of the DVD+-R dual-layer optical drive is well worth it if you think you'll often use and need it. The other possible downside to the optical drive is that Dell needed to make the chassis out of plastic instead of metal, which has become the "hot trend" in ultra-thin notebooks. Dell offers two fingerprint magnet finishes, Obsidian Black (standard) & Cherry Red ($40 extra).
One other difference between this model and a few others by both Dell and other manufacturers is the 14-inch widescreen HD WVGA display. The added one inch makes a really big difference if you ask us and our advice is if you feel you want the extra screen real estate, go for it. The resolution on this model is the usual 1366 x 768 despite the slightly larger display. The keyboard is the other difference between the 14z and Studio 14z, where the 14z doesn't have the Studio 14z's back-lit keyboard, which is a downside. Other than that, the keyboard is excellent, both in layout and comfort. The keys are large, which is rare in an ultra-portable notebook. The trackpad is also extremely user-friendly and the buttons are both extremely usable and responsive as well.
The Dell Inspiron 14z's array of connections include three USB 2.0 ports, VGA-out, HDMI-out, Ethernet, audio jacks, and a 7-in-1 multimedia card reader as well. There's also wireless connectivity built-in for 802.11 a/b/g/draft-N and an optional Bluetooth 2.0 is also available. A 1.3-megapixel webcam is also standard on the 14z. Some of the more meaty specifications include 4 GB of DDR3 RAM (supports up to 6 GB), a 320 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.3 GHz CPU, and the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X4500HD. There is an option available to upgrade to a 512 MB dedicated ATi Mobility Radeon HD4330 graphics card.
In terms of performance, the Dell Inspiron 14z can be rather disappointing, especially with tasks like video encoding and benchmark tests. This notebook feel well-behind other similar systems when it came to video encoding tests and other similar benchmarks. While using Adobe Photoshop CS4, it became sluggish when editing large files. The Intel integrated graphics card was no match for any 3D gaming, so this is definitely not the computer to use with any modern 3D games. With all that said, however, it performed beautifully while performing easy and moderate tasks, like Web browsing and productivity use. This is an excellent notebook for a college student or a business person looking to have a computer at the ready while away from home.
While using the 6-cell battery 60Wh battery, the 14z's battery life was extremely good at up to around 8 hours on a full charge.