Dell unveils trio of slim ULV-based ‘Inspiron Z’ ultraportables

It was no secret that Dell had a ‘thin and light’ ULV notebook in the works thanks to a slide from the company’s ‘ultramobile’ roadmap which leaked out earlier this year.

Then we knew it only by the codename of ‘Argos’ which the slide indicated would have an 11.6 inch screen and be built on a ‘ULV Cel/Pent’ processor.

Now Dell has lifted the covers on a trio of ULV ultraportables spanning from that 11.6 inch footprint to 14 inch and 15.6 inch models – known respectively as the Inspiron 11z 14z and 15z. Each footprint is geared to an HD 16:9 screen format.

It’s not yet known which models we’ll see in Australia nor how the specs will differ from the base US models.

The Inspiron 11z is the closest thing Dell will offer to a replacement for the Inspiron Mini 12 netbook at least in size.

The Mini 12 hit the skids after Microsoft decreed that discounted Windows 7 licences for netbooks would apply only to models with a screen size below 10.1 inches down from the original 12.1 inch ceiling for Windows XP (which Redmond is keen to kill off as soon as 7 touches down).

At first and even second glance the Inspiron 11z could pass as a revamp of the Mini 12 notebook
right down to the similar keyboard

So the 11z which starts at US$449 shifts to the closest replacement: Intel’s 1.2GHz Celeron 723 ULV backed by 2GB of RAM and a 250GB hard drive. Like the Mini 12 this lacks an optical drive.

The standard three cell battery is rated for around three hours between charges and can be replaced by a six cell module for twice the life.

The Inspiron 14z and 15z are almost identical apart from the screen footprint although curiously the 15z sells for significantly less – US$599 for the base spec against the 14z’s US$649.

Both begin with a 1.3GHz Pentium Mobile dual-core although this can be bumped up to a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo. CD/DVD drives are included while hard drives start at 160GB and span to 500GB. The notebooks’ profiles taper from 26.3mm to 29.2mm.

Both systems currently ship with the 64-bit Home Premium Edition of Vista although of course we expect this will be replaced by Windows 7 Home Premium come October 22nd.

The factory-fitted four-cell battery can also be swapped for a six-cell and nine-cell slabs with Dell estimating respective battery life at five hours eight hours and eleven hours. An Express Charge feature is claimed to top the tank to 80% capacity in one hour.