Can you blame Dell for deciding its laptops needed a makeover? After suffering some serious market share losses and earning a reputation for bland designs and questionable customer service, we can see why the company would be keen on revamping its lineup as a way of distancing itself from its not-so-sunny rap. That seems to be precisely what the outfit's doing with the Inspiron 13z and 14z, which Dell unveiled today. Both laptops move to aluminum lids and palm rests, available in a small (and fairly toned-down) color selection, with black and red being your only choices. The two have also whittled to under an inch thick, with the beefier 14z leaving enough room for an optical drive. Not surprisingly, the resolution's 1366 x 768 -- precisely what you'd expect in a $600 laptop. Also predictable: this generation of Inspirons offers USB 3.0 and Sandy Bridge, with a choice of Core i3 and Core i5 processors. Both models start at $599.99, with the 14z available in the states today, and the 13z launching in "select" Asian countries. Curious? We've got a handful of hands-on shots below and the full PR after the break.

Dell Inspiron 13z / 14z hands-on

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Dell Unveils the Inspiron 13z and Inspiron 14z – the Latest in Thin and Powerful Computing

- Sleek, stylish and fun to use with Dell Stage's one-click access to your favorite music, videos and photos

- An extension of Dell's thin and powerful suite, the Inspiron 13z and Inspiron 14z deliver what's important, to you

- Available on Dell.com, the online destination for the latest technology for back to school and the holidays

Tweet This: Great style is now more accessible with the introduction of Dell's new Inspiron 13z and Inspiron 14z. http://dell.to/rsbsXq #DellInspiron

ROUND ROCK, Texas, August 11, 2011 – Dell today announced the new Inspiron 13z and Inspiron 14z laptops, extending the company's emphasis on thin and powerful computing, and broadening the ultra-mobile "z" distinction to Inspiron, Dell's best-selling Consumer laptop brand. The new Inspiron 13z and 14z combine sizzling performance, rich features, and chic design in a sleek, take anywhere laptop, whether it's for taking notes in class, or communicating with family across the country.

No matter the application, the new Inspiron z laptops are packed with some of the latest technology, and can handle the task. Combining 2nd generation Intel® CoreTM i3 and Core i5 processor options, HD (720p) display, and excellent battery life, the Inspiron z series is ideal for school papers, company reports, mobile entertainment, keeping in touch with friends and pursuing your passions.

The Inspiron 13z and 14z are the latest in a series of rolling introductions of Dell's thin and powerful mobile products launching through the end of the year. Beginning with the XPS 15z, an ultimate blend of performance and style, the Inspiron z series makes this "uncompromising" concept more accessible than ever, with prices starting at just $599.99 for the 14z. Visit Dell.com to read product reviews and get more information about the new Inspiron z series, and browse the latest technology, whether for school, play, or work.

Accessible Style On-the-Go

When it's time to kick back and relax, the Inspiron z laptops are the perfect portable entertainment devices. Both the 13z and 14z feature brilliant high-definition displays and built-in SRS Premium Sound HD. For a theater-like experience, they can stream full HD movies and video wirelessly with Intel Wireless Display technology or by connecting via HDMI cable to a compatible big-screen HDTV.

All of this is packed into a stylish design that's thin, lightweight, and is available in standard Diamond Black or optional Fire Red LCD back and matching plamrest, full-size chiclet-style keyboard and HD webcam.

Inspiron z models are available with blazing fast 2nd generation Intel Core i processors, Microsoft® Windows 7 operating system, and high-performance on-processor graphics allowing for long battery life. A built-in media card reader, WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0 and the newest USB 3.0 technology for faster content transfers are also available as standard.

The Inspiron 13z comes with a bright, 13.3-inch widescreen HD (1366-768dpi) display. Other optional features include up to 8GB of memory, a choice of a 320GB or 500GB hard drive or 128GB of solid state storageiv. The Inspiron 14z is equipped with a 14-inch widescreen HD (1366-768dpi) display, and optional features including up to 8GB memoryv, choice of a 500GB, 640GB or 750GB hard drivevi, along with an internal tray-load DVD combo for playing and recording DVDs/CDs.

Dell Inspiron laptops also come with the Dell Stage user interface, which offers one-click access to your favorite content including music, photos and video, and SyncUP powered by Nero can keep content and personal information synched with other Stage-enabled Dell PCs and mobile devices within your home Wi-Fi network.

Availability and Pricing

The Inspiron 14z is available beginning today on www.dell.com for $599.99 and in select geographic regions worldwide. The Inspiron 13z is launching today in select countries in Asia.

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Dell intros slimmed-down Inspiron 13z and 14z laptops with aluminum lids, USB 3.0