Aiming for users on a budget , the Inspiron 14R Touch may not look like much, but it should please the layperson with decent specifications that prove to be more than enough for general usage. The notebook is rather thick compared to similarly-equipped offerings, but it also comes with its own perks, namely an optical drive and a removable battery – two rarities in the realm of portable computing. The review unit comes in a dark gray textured metal finish, which makes it a good fit for most situations.
The size increase is not exactly a bad thing, since it allows for a keyboard-trackpad combo that has a “deeper” feel to it, which is a definite boon. The keys don’t retaliate with harsh feedback when typing, and the trackpad lacks the more tactile “click” found in slimmer notebooks, instead being awfully silent when pressed. Personally, I miss the “click”, but the setup is less harsh compared to other offerings, which results in a more comfortable typing experience. The keys are not backlit however, so working in a dark room is not feasible. The screen is a mere 1366 x 768 pixels, which is starting to show its age when manufacturers are showing off devices with Full HD screens.
Taking a gander at the innards, the Inspiron runs on an Intel Core i5-4200U processor, which makes it the first Haswell-equipped notebook to have graced our premises. The “U” suffix does mean that this is a low-voltage part, meaning that you get significantly longer battery life than non-”U” offerings. 8GB of DDR3 RAM come with this unit, which should let you perform most tasks without issue. A 750GB hard drive should meet the needs of most users, and a DVD drive provides decent multimedia viewing opportunities. Put all these parts together and you’ve got yourself a rather potent workhorse.
If you look through the benchmark scores, you can see that this unassuming piece can actually deliver the goods. In PCMark05, the Inspiron performed well within expectations, barring Graphics. Dell’s website has listed variants with discrete graphics units, so you might be able to find a gamer-friendly one in the wild.
In PCMark 7, it also managed to do quite well, particularly on the Computation and Creativity scenarios.
Battery life is where the Inspiron 14R shines, or to be more specific, the new Core i5 processor tucked within. In Powermark’s “Balanced” preset, it managed to last an impressive 6 hours and 6 minutes. Of course, you can stretch that by doing some power-saving measures of your own but the Inspiron 14R should satisfy the frequent Starbucks loiterer.
In terms of connectivity, the Inspiron 14R comes with a pair of USB 3.0 ports; a lone US 2.0 port next to the optical drive; Ethernet and HDMI – That’s all the essentials covered. If you’re looking for bang for buck, the Inspiron 14R is your best bet. The combination of a 4th-gen Intel Core processor, ample amounts of RAM and storage make it a great all-rounder enough to satisfy your computing needs.