Dell Inspiron 15z – Midsized, midpriced budget Windows 8 laptop with touchscreen
When Windows 8 first came out, most of the laptops having it came with smaller screens. Hence, I was waiting for conventional mid-sized laptop and finally got one with Dell Inspiron 15z.
The z in the model number relate to less expensive laptops in Dell’s Inspiron line. On the other end, there is XPS, which is more expensive.
Dell has played a lot with design of their Inspiron laptops. There is plastic used occasionally but other than that, these laptops have the expensive look. Dell has worked on the design and have made these laptops better than the older Inspirons which were clunky and thick.
Dell Inspiron 15z price is $899. That was the cost of my review model and it had Intel Core i5 chip, 5,400 rpm 500 GB HDD, 32GB SSD, and 6 GB RAM. There are less expensive models available but you won’t get touchscreen which is the most important feature of Windows 8.
Frankly speaking, there are plenty of laptops in this price range but not all of them have touchscreen. Hence, this laptop is good and it would have been better if the display was bigger than 1,366×768 pixels.
Just like the 14 inches sibling, the Dell Inspiron 15z is a good looking laptop and it won’t embarrass you at your local coffee shop. I first saw current design of Inspiron laptops in 2012 and the designs looked modern and thin. There was grey on grey, 2 tone brushed metal laptop lid. This brushed metal design was extended on interiors as well with black sunken keyboard tray having black buttons.
There is a mix of plastic and metal for the chassis and due to this, the 15z doesn’t really look like an upmarket laptop. However, the design is certainly improved over its predecessor.
I was impressed by the fact that Dell managed to put in optical drive in such thin chassis. Optical drives aren’t seen in most ultrabooks now in order to maintain the thin size. This laptop is made for people who still want optical drives.
Dell Inspiron 15z keyboard is the same as other Dell keyboards. It was widely space, flat topped keyboard having island styled buttons. On this laptop, the buttons are rounded and function buttons on top are half heighted.
There isn’t a number pad here but there is a column on right side for buttons like Page up/Down, etc.
Touchpad of the Dell Inspiron 15z is large and it has right and left mouse buttons. Most laptops have button less click pad and Dell should have put it here. In my testing, the multitouch gestures were working well however, 2 finger scrolling was often sluggish. It was a chore to use this touchpad for navigating through Windows 8 OS; fortunately, the touchscreen made things easier for me.
Dell Inspiron 15z screen is 15.6 inches big and the screen is spread edge to edge. This screen has native 1,366×768 pixels resolution and icons and text appear a bit too large. Some games and apps don’t have enough detail and clarity due to lower resolution. If the screen size is 14 inches or big, then we expect resolution of 1,600×900 or more. It won’t be unfair to expect 1,920×1,080 pixels. My review model had a price tag of $900 and Dell could have given better resolution at this price.
Dell Inspiron 15z has all the connections and ports that you’d expect for this price. All the 4 USB ports are 3.0 and there is also optical drive at right side. However, I was disappointed to see a combo jack instead of separate mic and headphone jacks. HDMI too is present.
There are less expensive configs available but they don’t have touchscreen and Windows 8 is no fun without a touchscreen. For $200, you get Nvidia GeForce GT 630M graphics card and get faster Core i7 chip and 2GB extra RAM.
Dell Inspiron 15z isn’t the fastest laptop out there having low voltage Core i5 CPU inside but the performance was good. This Core i5 chip is good for all basic tasks from basic productivity to media consumption. It is good for even heavy multitasking. You won’t find it sluggish for everyday tasks.
My review model had Intel HD4000 integrated GPU which is good only for basic gaming. However, with a resolution of just 1,366×768 pixels, this isn’t a gaming laptop anyways.
Dell Inspiron 15z comes with 6 cell 44 WHr battery inside and in my tests; it ran for four hours and forty five minutes. This battery life is decent for 15 inches laptop and this isn’t a travel friendly laptop so you won’t be taking it with you too often.
Dell Inspiron 15z is a good midpriced, midsized laptops having Windows 8 touchscreen. The inclusion of optical drive makes this laptop different from other who are increasingly skipping it for keeping the chassis slim. For a price of $899, this laptop is good but if you are willing to spend more like $1000 or more; then there are better options available.
- 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5-3317-U processor
- Intel HD4000 GPU
- 6GB RAM (1,600 MHz DDR3)
- Intel HM77 chipset
- Windows 8 OS
- 15.6 inches diagonal screen size
- Six pounds weight with adapter
- 500 GB 5,400 rpm HDD, 32GB SSD
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