OVMumPMekXQW8/uI7JcaqA== A L L 4 M O B I L E: review :Dell Inspiron 14R (Pentium)

review :Dell Inspiron 14R (Pentium)

Just how powerful should a sub-$500 notebook be? Priced at $499, the 14-inch Dell Inspiron 14R includes a last-generation Intel Pentium processor, HDMI output, a 250GB, 5400-rpm hard drive, 2GB of RAM, and a modish, chrome-trimmed chassis. While it won't break any speed records, this version of the 14R has enough muscle for most everyday tasks. But is this machine the best choice for those on a budget? 


The Dell Inspiron 14R has a modern look designed to appeal to a wide spectrum of users. It has a standard glossy lid and display bezel, as well as chrome-colored plastic surrounding the palm rest. Our review unit came in fingerprint-prone Mars Black, but other options include Peacock Blue, Promise Pink, and Tomato Red (all for $45 more). The 14R's edges are all curved and its surfaces polished. The only exception is the plastic bottom that looks just as fashionable despite its rough matte finish.
The Inspiron 14R also sports Dell's signature forward hinge, which means the display meets the deck before the back edge of the system, leaving a small ledge of space behind the screen. Measuring 13.5 x9.7 x 1.3 inches and weighing 4.8 pounds, this notebook was noticeable in our backpack, but not too heavy.



After playing a Hulu video at full screen for 15 minutes, the touchpad, keyboard center, and underside of the Inspiron 14R clocked in at 87, 87, and 89 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The left heat vent, where hot air is pushed out by the fan, was a hot 104 degrees, but we didn't notice it, even after an hour of on-lap use. When the fan kicks up though, you definitely hear it.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Inspiron 14R's keyboard features flat-surfaced keys that offered good tactile response, but we found it to be a bit cramped. For instance, we would try to press the left arrow and hit the nearby Menu button instead, or we would reach for the Enter key and end up with the Shift key. Still, after a bit of practice, our comfort with the keyboard grew. We appreciated that the top row of alternate function keys included buttons for media, brightness, and Wi-Fi radio controls.

At 3.7 x 2 inches, the touchpad was a good size for multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom in web pages or pictures and two-finger scrolling. The surface supplied a comfortable amount of friction and the chrome texture of the separated left and right touch buttons was another welcome touch.

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