Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook Review

Software & First Boot

Part of Intel's vision for its Ultrabook platform is that you'll spend less time waiting around for things to happen, and Dell delivers on that concept with its Inspiron 14z. We recorded a mere 28 seconds for a full boot, which is the time that elapses from pressing the power button until Windows is fully loaded and ready to use; a complete shutdown took just 8 seconds. That's a pretty impressive startup time for any system, let alone one that relies on a 5400 RPM mechanical hard drive as its primary storage device. It goes to show how beneficial it can be to equip a system with a 32GB mSATA solid state drive (SSD).

Dell Inspiron 14z Desktop

Dell hasn't completely abandoned its penchant for loading up systems with third party software and utilities. Our test system shipped with an attention-seeking copy of McAfee Antivirus that kept imploring us to register and update the program (right up until we uninstalled it so that our benchmarks could run uninterrupted). We also received popups from Absolute Software's Computrace Data Protection utility, which users have ranked 2 out of 5 stars on Dell's website, a clear indication that customers would rather not be bothered by this program if given the choice.

Popup annoyances notwithstanding, Dell delivers a mostly clean desktop experience on the Inspiron 14z. It isn't littered with icons and shortcuts. There's a weather widget in the upper right corner, and Dell's customizable Stage software along the bottom, which you can disable if you prefer.

By default, Inspiron 14z Ultrabooks come with 90 days of phone support and a 1-year hardware warranty. For less critical issues, Dell's included Support Center software helps keep tabs on your system's vitals and allows you to create backup media, check the status of the battery, and other odds and ends.

Windows Mobility Center is a handy utility baked into Windows that doesn't often receive a ton of attention. It's made even more robust by Dell on the Inspiron 14z, giving users quick access a wealth of knobs and dials related to various wireless technologies and audio, as well as the touchpad.

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