Conclusion: If you don't demand the best gaming rig, or even the lightest laptop, but you do want a solid value for a second or third PC or a student's system, the Dell Inspiron 14R is more than worth a look. It's not a glamorous prize, but it's an affordable way to catch up with Windows 8.
Pros: Terrific battery life, Aluminum finish, USB 3.0 ports
Cons: Somewhat bulky and heavy, Finicky touch screen and touch pad, Keyboard not backlit
Summary: Ho-hum. The $649 Dell Inspiron 14R certainly has the right amount of endurance we want in a touch-screen notebook. The nearly 9-hour battery life is sure to be a hit with mainstream users and students that regularly burn the midnight oil. However, the design is a little chunky for a 14-inch laptop, and the keyboard is somewhat mushy.
Pros: Excellent battery life, Runs cool, Aluminum lid and deck
Cons: Somewhat bulky and heavy for 14-incher, Shallow keyboard feedback
Excerpt: The Dell Inspiron 14R hits many of the right notes on its way to finding the sweet spot between cheap netbooks and mainstream budget laptops. Its design and specs are sure to appeal to any budget shopper.
Pros: Pleasing, functional design, Big hard drive, Two USB 3.0 ports, Intel WiDi, HD Webcam
Cons: Middling performance in labs testing, Glossy display causes glare and reflections
Summary: The Dell Inspiron 14R proves that Intel's Pentium processor is still powerful enough for those who need a basic notebook for surfing the web, watching videos, and working on Excel or Word documents. Though it scored low on some benchmarks, this 14-inch laptop handled everyday computing tasks fairly well. Those who want more oomph can spend just $50 more to get a Core i3 version of this machine.
Pros: Sleek design for price, Strong audio quality, Comfortable keyboard and touchpad, Runs cool
Cons: Lackluster battery life, Lid picks up fingerprints
Summary: Dell's next-generation Inspiron laptops have arrived, and while it doesn't reinvent the wheel, the Inspiron 14R presents a very solid package of Core i3 performance and ATI dedicated graphics for a fair price.