In the two year that we have been seeing them, Ultrabooks have been pretty much all over the place. They have been ultra-thin, they have been slim, they have bulky and they have been light. But companies have really struggled to nail the Ultrabook brief. They all made portable devices, but when all of them had ultrabooks at different sizes and prices, it only became harder for consumers to pick a standard. The confusion over the size, weight and price prevails, but if you wanted to set a template for Ultrabooks, then the new Inspiron 7000 series from Dell can fit the slot perfectly. Here is my experience with the Dell Inspiron 14 Ultrabook.
If I could, I would have just written about the design of this device and left it at that. It is that kind of device. It is that kind of design. It reminds me of the MacBook and Dell’s XPS devices. It also reminds me of a Teppanyaki board. It is that solid that you can bang a cleaver on it and evoke no response.
The full aluminum body flows seamlessly all though, with the edges getting a diamond-cut edge that adds to the overdose of chrome.
The screen side is not as thin as we have seen in Dell XPS Ultrabooks, but has the same sharp feel about it. The keyboard side is thicker, but slimmer that most of its rivals. At 15.3 mm, it is no the thinnest device ever, but it is definitely as thin as it needs to be become a top-notch Ultrabook. It is also not the lightest, at a shade under 2 kg. But you would feel the extra weight anywhere.
While the design is all stunning, I was not all that sure about its practicality. For instance, the keyboard does not use the full 14-inches available to it and is about the size you would find on an 11-inch device. So you would need some getting used to if you are upgrading from another 14 or 15-inch notebook. Plus, I am not sure the metal finished is required here too. The keys, however, are very responsive and are backlit.
There are some new dedicated Windows 8 keys to open settings, search and share, which is great. The trackpad is smooth and good when you are using the Windows 8 gestures.