Dell Inspiron 15z review

Dell's latest family-friendly Windows 8 Ultrabook

Dell Inspiron 15z review
The Dell Inspiron 15z Ultrabook runs Windows 8 but lacks a touchscreen

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The chassis on the Dell Inspiron 15z doesn't have the same edge of style as Dell's more premium XPS range or other Ultrabook titans such as the Asus Zenbook UX32A, but it does the job.

The metallic grey finish and the rounded corners are fit to purpose and the interior is refreshingly devoid of stickers. There's a centrally-placed chiclet keyboard that has an attractive white backlight.

Although the Dell Inspiron 15z is an Ultrabook, we wouldn't hold it up as the poster child for portability. Measuring 382 x 250 x 21mm (15.04 x 9.84 x 0.83 inches) and weighing 2.17kg (4.78lbs), this wouldn't trouble you if you threw it into a backpack for a day, but there are much more portable PCs around.

Dell Inspiron 15z Ultrabook review

The trouble isn't really the weight or depth of the chassis, but the fact the Dell Inspiron 15z boasts a traditional 15.6-inch screen makes it much more unwieldy than the 13.3-inch or 14-inch Ultrabooks that are beginning to dominate the shelves.

The benefit of choosing a larger 15.6-inch laptop, though, is the extra screen real estate. The Dell Inspiron 15z has a bright, crisp display but the standard 1,366 x 768 resolution will look average if you've grown used to a Full HD laptop or tablet.

And the fact that it isn't a touchscreen does remove a large part of the Windows 8 interface from the equation. Cheaper machines such as the Acer M5 Ultrabook offer touch controls, and we feel the Dell Inspiron 15z would benefit from having one as standard.

Dell Inspiron 15z Ultrabook review

For a family laptop, there's no shortage of power inside the Dell Inspiron 15z. The Intel Core i7-3517U Ivy Bridge processor is clocked at 1.90GHz clock speed and backed by 6GB of RAM.

It's no surprise that Windows 8 runs very well here, and you can multitask with several apps snapped to different sides of the screen without any lag.

Boasting an Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated graphics chip and a discrete Nvidia GT630 GPU, the Dell Inspiron 15z produced a reasonable score in our graphics benchmarking test.

Dell Inspiron 15z Ultrabook review

Recent AAA game titles such as FarCry 3 or Black Ops II will only be playable with diminished detail settings and vastly reduced frame rates, but older titles will run without a problem here.

Connectivity and battery life are both about par for the course when it comes to a laptop in this price range. The Dell Inspiron 15z's larger size means there are 4 USB ports rather than the usual two found on an Ultrabook, and there's also a DVD optical drive built in.

Other ports include HDMI, Ethernet and an SD card reader. The lack of a VGA port means this won't connect to older TVs or monitors.

Dell Inspiron 15z Ultrabook review