First Impressions: Dell Inspiron 14R Special Edition

By Vishal Mathur | Published on 06 Jul 2012
First Impressions: Dell Inspiron 14R Special Edition

Dell has recently updated its Inspiron range of laptops, and if you had been following our website closely, you would surely have read the event coverage.

We are happy to report that the Inspiron 14R Special Edition has arrived in our test centre. This is the smaller 14-inch display size sibling of the Inspiron 15R SE, which features a 15.6-inch display.

The Specs
Let us run you through the power package of the Inspiron 14R Special Edition. The review unit sent to us is powered by an Intel Core-i7 - 3612QM processor, clocking in at 2.1GHz. Needless to mention, but this is the third gen Core series processor, lovingly known as Ivy Bridge series. The 14R SE features 6GB of RAM, along with Nvidia GT640M (2GB) and Intel HD 4000 graphics, news that will surely warm the hearts of the gamers out there. The goodness doesn’t end there, with a 1TB HDD as well. Dell preloads the machine with Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit), along with a bunch of Dell branded apps as well as some third party trials.

The Build
Fish it out of the box, and what immediately catches your eye is the anodized aluminum finish. More so, because it looks very similar to the very classy carbon fibre finish we saw on the XPS 13 ultrabook (read our review). The black does have a slightly shiny element to it, but is in no way glossy or potentially maintenance hungry. This finish carries through on the lid as well as the area around the keypad, including the palmrest.

The visual accents don’t end there. On the lid, a silver band frames the black anodized aluminum, and is thicker towards where the lid is supposed to open from - kind of a visual guide, if you may. Mostly because when closed, the Inspiron 14R SE does not give any hints about where the front or the back is. Probably because the display hinges are nicely covered up.

The Dell Inspiron 14R SE carries a very premium build quality throughout. It seems put together quite well, and we didn’t see any rough edges or loose ends anywhere. No matter how hard you type on the keyboard, it just doesn’t dip. No matter how hard you try to flex the lid, it won’t bend more than the most solidly built laptops.

Port Placement
On the right side are the optical drive and a couple of USB 3.0 ports, as well as the Ethernet port. On the left is another USB 3.0 port along with one USB 2.0 port as well. HDMI out sits between the USBs and a pretty large cooling vent. On the front are a bunch of LEDs and the memory card slot. There are no ports on the backside, which is great, as we aren’t fans of poking the backside of our laptops to connect a USB device!

The keyboard does not have a dedicated number pad, acceptable considering this is a 14-inch display, and doesn’t have the space luxury of a 15.6-inch one. Resolution is 1366 x 768 pixels. While it does seem to have the brightness punch and decent colour reproduction, the only niggle is with the reflective nature of the screen. Turn the brightness down, and visibility will be affected a certain bit. Turn up the brightness, and that may just make using it a bit stressful in the long run.

Weighty Matters
The weight scales tip at 2.38kg, which technically isn’t very heavy. But the 14R Special Edition feels heavier than this, probably because the thickness is quite profound – probably to pack in the powerful configuration. Rest assured however, that the 14R SE remains very much portable without any issues. However, the thickness could have been slimmed a bit to make it look less bulky than what it does at the moment.

The specification we have received is listed on Dell’s website at Rs. 61,275. At this price with this configuration, we expect this to go to the top of our laptop score-sheet without a shadow of a doubt.

We will be lining up a review of the Dell Inspiron 14R Special Edition very soon. Do stay tuned for that. In the meantime, you can enjoy the photo-gallery of the laptop.

Unfortunately, the display is quite reflective, taking some sheen away from an otherwise excellent panel.

The evident thickness, but as we said, with the weight, it doesn’t hamper portability.

With not many shortcut keys, the look is quite clean

The dash of silver around the sides teams well with the black elsewhere.

Generous cooling vents. Certainly needed, considering the power that is packed inside.

Just three shortcut keys above the keyboard.

Prominent Inspiron branding!

 There are lots of USB 3.0 ports on the 14R SE.

More ports on the 14R SE.

With not many shortcut keys, the look is quite clean

Aluminum that looks like carbon fibre!

Extremely elegant poise of the Inspiron 14R Special Edition.
Vishal Mathur

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