Budget laptops can be stylish too – that’s what Dell’s new Insprion 14R and 15R are trying to prove. With a new design, rounded corners and changeable lids (Moon Silver is the default , but you can choose blue or red too), the new series starts at roughly Rs 35,000. These are full-function laptops — Windows 7 Home Basic is included, as is a tray-loading DVD drive and full-size keyboard.
To differentiate from the previous Inspiron 14R and 15R, Dell is just adding the ‘new’ moniker to the mix. Just as a cursory comparison of the new with the old, the new one has a much better keyboard with rounded keys and better tactility , better screens and an overall more pleasing design. As usual, you can choose to configure your machine, starting with the very basic 2nd gen Core i3/2GB RAM/320GB HDD all the way up to 3rd Gen Core i5/4GB RAM/500GB HDD and dedicated 1GB Nvidia GT630M graphics chip for Rs 43,490.
Depending on the configuration, you can use it for day-today computing, 3D gaming, HD video authoring/editing and image editing. Dell has included one year of their Complete Cover (including accidental damage) with every new Inspiron 14R/15R which can be extended if required. Other welcome additions are the USB 3.0 ports and Bluetooth 4.0. Battery life is a healthy 4 to 5 hours depending on use.
Some of the downsides include excessive use of lightweight plastic. For instance, if you take the lid off, it flexes too easily and seems like it’s made of cheap plastic. The silver painted plastic surround around the machine seems like it will scratch and wear off too quickly. Apart from the build quality, there’s not much else to complain about. If you’re looking for something sturdier at a low price, you can also consider HP’s ProBook 4530s (15.6-inch ) or 4430s (14-inch ) which are only marginally more expensive.
Price: Rs 34,990 (+ taxes) onwards
Specifications: Intel Core i3, 2GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Windows 7 Basic, 14-inch (1366 x 768 pixel) LCD, Intel HD graphics 3000, DVD drive
Pros: Fresh design, switchable lids, USB 3.0, card reader, high quality display, included 1 yr Complete Cover
Cons: No backlit keyboard option, base version has 2nd Gen processor, suspect durability of some plastic parts