Head over to Dell's shopping site and you'll find the laptop section is a bit confusing. In addition to the premium XPS line and the gaming-centric Alienware brand, there's a vast selection of Inspirons. Some are just called "Inspiron." Some are "Inspiron R." Heck, there even used to be an Inspiron Z (RIP). Fortunately, Dell's trying to clear things up. The company is moving to a "good, better, best" setup, with three lines called the Inspiron 3000, 5000 and 7000 (Dell's enterprise notebooks already have a similar naming scheme). Though the company isn't unveiling all of its new consumer laptops today, it is taking the wraps off the 7000s, along with one of the 3000-series models.
Given that these start at $699 and are way less expensive than Dell's top-of-the-line XPS offerings, it's best if you think of these as mid-range machines; specifically, the best mid-range machines Dell has to offer. Available in 14-, 15- and 17-inch screen sizes, they feature a nicer design than you might expect, with all-aluminum surfaces, backlit keyboards and Gorilla Glass touchscreens (1,366 x 768 is the native resolution, but 1080p is also an option). On the inside, they run Haswell processors, with optional discrete graphics on the 15- and 17-inch models. Battery life, meanwhile, is said to range from eight to 12 hours depending on the configuration and screen size. All three will be available September 26th, with the 15-inch model priced from $699, while the 14 and 17 start at $849.
Dell Inspiron 7000 series (hands-on)
Additionally, Dell introduced the 11-inch Inspiron 11, a $379 netbook-style laptop with a touchscreen. With that price and form factor, it would seem to fall in the same class as the new Toshiba NB15t and the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11, except we see a lot more performance potential. For instance, though you can get it with an AMD chip to start, you can also trick it out with a Core i3 or i5 processor, whereas the NB15t is Intel Celeron-only, and the HP TouchSmart 11 tops out with AMD. All told, the battery life rated at up to eight hours, depending on the configuration. Also, the design appears nicer than those other machines. Here, you get a soft-touch finish on the lid and bottom -- a nice step up from the hard plastic you'll get on Toshiba's NB15t, we'd say. Curious? It lands October 3rd -- a bit later than the others.
Dell Inspiron 11 hands-on
Finally, moving away from laptops, Dell also introduced a revamped Inspiron 23 all-in-one, with a slimmer bezel and a design that puts all the PC guts in the base. This will be available October 1st for $999 and up, with your choice of Haswell processors.