Dell Inspiron 11z notebook

This entry-level Dell notebook offers better performance than a netbook but is only slightly bigger and more expensive

Dell Inspiron 11z
  • Dell Inspiron 11z
  • Dell Inspiron 11z
  • Dell Inspiron 11z
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5


  • Thin and light despite reasonable processing power, high resolution display


  • Poor touchpad design, glossy screen is annoying and has minor backlight issues

Bottom Line

Dell's entry-level Inspiron 11z notebook has significantly more power than similar sized Atom netbooks but remains thin and light. A good display and reasonable keyboard size make it easy to use; the multitouch trackpad is our main point of annoyance.

Would you buy this?

The Dell Inspiron 11z notebook has a low price tag, a thin profile and an 11.6in screen — it could easily be mistaken for an Intel Atom–powered netbook. Its dual-core Pentium processor is significantly more powerful than a netbook's CPU, and its high-resolution 1366x768 screen makes it a good choice for Web browsing and viewing high-definition videos.

As an 11.6in laptop, the Dell Inspiron 11z sits in the company of high-end netbooks like the MSI Wind series and ultraportable notebooks like the Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 13".

This laptop only weighs 1.4kg with the standard 3-cell battery and is a little more than 2.5cm thick, making it very easy to slip into a backpack or satchel. Seven colours are available, including cherry red, pastel green and traditional black. The Dell Inspiron 11z notebook's sides are adorned with three USB ports, a 10/100 Ethernet network socket, an HDMI port and a 3-in-1 card reader — there is no optical drive or ExpressCard socket. We were pleased to see the notebook comes with a slimline, compact power brick.

The Intel Pentium SU4100 1.3GHz dual-core processor doesn't have the raw grunt of a Core i5 CPU, or an Intel Core i7 like the one found in the Fujitsu LifeBook SH760. However, it is powerful enough for Web browsing and watching videos, for example. Its media encoding performance was encouraging. It took 3min 37sec to encode 53min worth of WAV files to 192Kbps MP3s, which is on par with other entry-level notebooks and significantly faster than Intel Atom–based netbooks. A Blender 3D rendering score of 3min 5sec also shows mid-range performance.

The notebook's standard configuration includes 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM, but up to 4GB can be installed. The Dell Inspiron 11z's 320GB hard drive is a 5400RPM unit and recorded a transfer rate of 25.3 megabytes per second in our tests. This is a good performance compared to similarly priced notebooks. The Intel X4500MHD integrated graphics chipset features on-board high-definition video decoding, so even the most demanding 1080p MKV video files don't stutter. The Dell Inspiron 11z scored 865 in the 3DMark06 benchmark — while the system has good 2D graphics performance, it would struggle with most recent 3D games.

The battery of the Dell Inspiron 11z notebook is a 3-cell unit, but a larger 6-cell one can be purchased (although it adds considerable bulk to the rear of the laptop). We recorded battery life of 1hr 51min on the standard battery during our battery rundown test (in which we don't use any power saving measures). This is an acceptable if unspectacular result.

The reasonable keyboard size and standard layout makes typing on the Dell Inspiron 11z easy with a little practice; our main sticking point with the design of this notebook is the poor touchpad. It's lets you use multitouch gestures such as two-finger scrolling, swiping and zooming, but its layout makes it difficult to use. The right- and left-click buttons are integrated into the pad, so care is needed to avoid moving the cursor while clicking.

The Inspiron 11z's 11.6in LCD screen has good horizontal viewing angles but we were slightly less impressed when viewing it from different vertical angles — colours quickly wash out and contrast is lost when the screen is not ideally positioned. With a 1366x768 resolution it has plenty of viewing area for Internet browsing, and its 16:9 ratio suits viewing high-definition video content. When we ran through a few 720p YouTube HD clips, we found the screen to be crisp and bright with reasonable contrast. We did notice a slight loss of brightness at the extreme edges of the display, but this is a minor issue and not one you'll notice except with a bright white background.

The Dell Inspiron 11z's good quality screen, decent performance figures and slick design make it an impressive choice for anyone looking for a cheap, portable laptop with a little more power than an Atom-powered netbook. If you spend your time browsing the 'net and watching videos, consider this over a more bulky and expensive unit.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: Dell, notebooks
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >




Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?