Dell has announced an upcoming refresh to their Inspiron R line, making slight adjustments to the chassis and adding (optional) upgrades to Intel's Ivy Bridge CPU, but largely keeping the notebooks' affordable feel intact. They are available with 15- and 17-inch displays and the chassis are near identical, sporting round frames and a plain, symmetrical design. Dell's optional SWITCH lids let you customize to color scheme, but the relatively bulky heavy design (6.05 pounds, at their lightest) won't be inspiring much gadget envy. We had an opportunity for some limited hands-on time with the new models, and you're ultimately getting what you pay for: the bulk lends the machines a bit of sturdiness, and the keys are squishy, but not altogether disappointing.
The Inspiron 15R starts at $549.99, offers a 1366 x 768 resolution display and is equipped with a 2.4GHz Core i3-2470M. The base model of the Inspiron 17R sports a 1600 x 900 resolution display and offers a 1.4GHz Core i3-2367M. Both models include 6GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, Intel integrated graphics, and Intel Wireless Display. While the base models are packing Sandy Bridge processors, they can be upgraded to latest 3rd generation Intel Ivy Bridge processors — a wise option, if you'd like to take advantage of Intel's latest CPUs.
Each model is flanked by a Special Edition variant, which feature an aluminum finish with a neat honeycombed pattern (at the cost of those nifty swappable-lids). The Special Editions tack a few hundred dollars onto the price but bumpup the specs of each model considerably. The Inspiron 15R Special Edition ($899.99) increases the base hard drive up to 750GB and adds an AMD Radeon HD 7730M GPU. The Inspiron 17R Special Edition ($1,099) a 1TB hard drive, 8GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GT 650M GPU. Both Special Edition models offer Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 processors, Skullcandy speakers with a sub-woofer, and sport 1920 x 1080p displays. If must have all of the trimmings, the Inspiron 17R Special Edition offers a 3D display for an extra $200. If any of this piques your interest, the PCs will be available on June 19th.