Dell slims notebook line with Inspiron 13z, 14z

Dell's newest Inspiron 13z and 14z notebooks are budget-minded consumer laptops that are both thin and capable.

Thinner. Lighter. The familiar drumbeat of laptop advancement continues with Dell's latest offerings, the improved Inspiron 13z and 14z.

Both the 13z (denoting a 13.3-in. widescreen display) and 14z (14-in. display) are offered with your choice of an Intel i3 or i5 processor. Both displays are rated at 720p HD resolution.

At slightly less than an inch thick, the 14z isn't as thin as it could be thanks to a tray-loading DVD combo drive. (One could only guess how much thinner the device could have been if Dell opted to include a slot-loaded drive -- or remove the thing entirely. Does anyone still use these things?)

As for the 13z...well, you can't buy it: it's only available in "select Asian countries," not North America. That's a real shame, because with a design that eschews an optical drive and an option for a 128 GB solid state drive, the smaller "Z" model sounds a lot more compelling than its larger sibling.

But hey, at $599, the 14z is no slouch in the budget category.

[Dell Inspiron 14z]