We'll be honest, we've never been the biggest fans of Dell's colorful, patterned lids -- not because some of them are pretty ugly, but because once you choose one hue, you're stuck with it forever (or at least until you need a new laptop). Well, Dell's finally solved that piece of the puzzle with its new Inspiron R series -- the 14-, 15.6- and 17.3-inch laptops all have swappable lids. Yep, it's sort of like those interchangeable Swatch watch faces from the 90s -- you can snap off the standard black cover, buy a new one for $39.99, and latch it right on. But that's not all Dell's changed with its mainstream laptops -- the rigs now have new chiclet keyboards, HD webcams, and a design that's similar to the new XPS line.

For a budget system -- the 15R starts at $529.99 -- they actually feel pretty solid and the internal organs fit the same description. All three of the machines can be configured with brand new Sandy Bridge Core i3, i5, and i7 processors, Blu-ray drives, up to 8GB of RAM, six or nine-cell batteries, and USB 3.0 ports. Dell didn't forget about the graphics either -- the 14 will be available with AMD Radeon HD 6000M options, while the 15 and 17 grab a hold of NVIDIA's GeForce GT525. All three models should be up for order today on Dell's website with them heading to retailers later this spring. Hit the break for the full PR / specs and don't forget to check out the hands-on shots on your way.

Update: We now have the correct spec sheet after the break!
Update 2: Dell has just told us that the replaceable lids will actually be $39.99.
Gallery | 17 Photos

Dell Inspiron R hands-on


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Switch Into Spring With The New Inspiron R Series From Dell

New InspironTM R line expands Dell's leading-edge portfolio of products with 2nd Generation Intel® CoreTM processors

Inspiron R is fun, stylish and fast featuring the latest technology, a superior entertainment experience, impressive battery life and a new interchangeable lid option
Just pop.click.switch: New SWITCH by Design Studio lids allow for a new look at any moment

ROUND ROCK, Texas, March 17, 2011 – The new Inspiron R series joins Dell's expansive collection of laptops and desktops equipped with the latest Intel processors and are fun, stylish and lightning quick. Available today at Dell.com, the new Inspiron R 14-, 15- and 17-inch laptops deliver incredible mobile entertainment, high-definition displays and outstanding battery life, but that's just the beginning.

The perfect combination of brains and beauty - the latest addition to the Inspiron family also introduces an innovative new design twist: new SWITCH by Design Studio interchangeable lids that switch the look of Inspiron R laptops with just a pop and a clicki. The SWITCH by Design Studio collection includes 25 new eye-popping lids sporting vibrant colors and unique designs. Start the day with a Peacock Blue lid, and switch it out for a design-inspired look at night.

But the Inspiron R shouldn't be judged by its cover(s) alone. Packing the latest 2nd generation Intel Core technology, the Inspiron R laptops benefit from sleek form factors, up to 13 hours of battery lifeii on the Inspiron 15R with the optional 9-cell battery and incorporate the latest USB 3.0 technology to make transferring photos, videos, music and other graphics-rich files faster than ever.

Performance? Check! What about the lids? Carefully selected from Dell Design Studio's curated collections, the contemporary art and graphic designs available from SWITCH by Design Studio offer exclusive selections from outstanding independent artists, designers and partners including OPI and Threadless and charitable partners, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and (PRODUCT)RED™, where a portion of proceeds benefit each organization, respectivelyiii. And new with SWITCH by Design Studio, available today, are four Eastern-inspired designs from the India collection.

"Our Inspiron R models equipped with 2nd gen Intel Core processors deliver the ultimate in entertainment and mobility and because customers value both performance and style, the eye-catching lids are designed to suit your mood or style at any given moment," said Sam Burd, vice president Dell's Consumer & SMB Product Group. "With the Inspiron-R series, we're living up to our heritage of delivering the performance you need to do more, and with SWITCH by Design Studio, you can look good while doing it," Burd added.

Inspiron R: The Dell Difference
With a range of entertainment, storage, productivity and show-stopping design options available on the Inspiron R, Dell makes it easy for people to go online and choose the perfect Inspiron R laptop with confidence, knowing it will be a smart investment that will deliver the ideal technology-by-design for them.

Inspiron R: Key Features
- 2nd generation Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processor options and up to 8GB of memory iv
- Weight starting at 4.94 lbs for the Inspiron 14Rv
- 6-cell battery included with 9-cell battery optionsvi
- SRS Premium Audio and high-definition video performance
- Intel Wireless Display technology for wireless projection of full 1080p video and 5.1 surround sound to your home theater for a breath-taking movie-viewing experiencevii
- Support for Blu-ray 3D movie playback when equipped with the optional Blu-ray drive and connected to your 3D TV (HDMI 1.4 required)viii
- Integrated Dell Stage software, providing one-click access to photos, music, videos, social-networking sites, e-books and more
- HD capable webcam
- ChicletTM-style keyboardix
- Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium with option for Professional
- Optional SWITCH by Design Studio lids featuring the new India Collection and designs from OPI, Threadless.com, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, (PRODUCT)RED™ and various artists

Pricing and Availability
Inspiron R
The new Inspiron R models are available today in the U.S. on Dell.com and will be available through Dell's U.S. retail partners in the coming months.

Inspiron 14R (SWITCH by Design Studio model with black lid): Starts at $579.99
Inspiron 15R (SWITCH by Design Studio model with black lid): Starts at $529.99
Inspiron 17R (SWITCH by Design Studio model with black lid): Starts at $579.99
SWITCH by Design Studio lids: Start at $39.99x

Tweet This: Pop. Click. Switch. New Dell Inspiron R Series w/interchangeable lids lets you change your look at any moment. http://dell.to/gteGEk

Key Links:
Inspiron R and SWITCH by Design Studio Product Images
Read More at Direct2Dell
Inspiron R & SWITCH by Design Studio - Additional Product Information: http://dell.to/gteGEk
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About Dell Design Studio:
Design Studio is an interactive gallery of original contemporary artwork commissioned exclusively for Dell.com that gives individuals more than 200 options to turn their laptop into a work of art. The easy-to-use and intuitive Design Studio was introduced in December 2008 and quickly gained popularity. Featured artists include: Tristan Eaton, Siobhan Gunning, Bruce Maur, Mike Ming, Guillaume Wolfe, Jason Bacon, Brittany Waldner and Derek Welch, among many others. Also included in the design options is artwork for (PRODUCT)RED™, which contributes to The Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa and Susan G. Komen for the Cure which contributes to the fight against breast cancer.

Design Studio also represents a new way to shop for a personal computer and tailor it to reflect personal style. With Design Studio, online shoppers virtually walk through a gallery of portraits where they can select to apply a design, change viewing angles, zoom in on details and read a short bio that explains the artist's work.

About Dell:
Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit www.dell.com.