The Dell Inspiron 14 laptop computer is one of Dell’s many fine entries in this category. It represents an exceptional balance of the most needed laptop features with reasonable cost. Our review is based on what we believe to be an optimal configuration for a wide array of consumers but just about everything on this computer can be customized to the individual user’s needs and desires. Some of those choices add to the cost while others will actually reduce the final unit cost. We appreciate the Build It Your Way feature of Dell’s web site precisely because it makes customization simple and lets the consumer know exactly what effect any given choice has on the purchase price.
• 14-inch High Definition Widescreen display
• 4GB RAM memory
• Windows 7 64 bit OS
The processor for the version of the Dell Inspiron 14 that we selected is the Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 running at a snappy 2.2GHz with a 2MB L2 cache and 800MHz front side bus speed. For users who need more computing power there are a couple of upgrades available culminating with the Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 with a 2.53GHz clock speed, 3MB L2 cache and 1066MHz front side bus speed. For those who wish to economize a bit, the processor can be downgraded to a still respectable Intel Pentium Dual Core T4300. The computer comes with a healthy 4GB of DDR2 RAM memory.
The Inspiron 14 used for our review comes with a 320GB hard drive which is upgradeable to 500GB. There are lesser versions of this computer that have hard drives as small as 160GB. It also includes an 8x CD/DVD burner. That can be upgraded to a combo drive that will read Blu-ray discs and write to DVDs or CDs.
Battery life is always an issue for laptops and this one comes standard with a very respectable 85 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion battery. You can save $40 by downgrading to a 48 WHr, 6-cell battery but we wouldn’t recommend that for anyone except those who don’t expect to be away from a plug very often.
Microsoft Windows 7 is the included operating system on the Inspiron 14. It also comes with Microsoft Works and a trial version Microsoft Office. A 15-month subscription to McAfee Security Center is also part of the package. The standard warranty is a one year parts and labor and includes mail in or in home service following remote diagnosis. The warranty can be expanded to two or three years at additional cost.
The standard Inspiron 14 configuration supports Wi-Fi “G” wireless networking. Most wireless network users would do well to upgrade to the Wi-Fi “N” network card for much faster data transfer and better range. Bluetooth connectivity is available as an option.