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Dell refreshes its mainstream Inspiron R laptops with optional touchscreens

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So far at CES, Dell has announced that its XPS 13 Ultrabook will finally get a higher-res screen. Now it's shifting its attention to the lower end: the company just refreshed its mainstream Inspiron R line with optional touchscreens and a slimmed-down form factor. All told, the line includes three screen sizes: 14, 15 and 17 inches. Now that they've all gotten a bit of a makeover, the smaller two measure about an inch thick and weigh in at less than five pounds. Still, they're all just thick enough to accommodate a tray-loading optical drive, and the 15R and 17R also have enough room for a numpad on the keyboard.

Spec-wise, you can trick them out with Core i7 processors, up to 8GB of RAM, Intel Wireless Display and discrete graphics (either a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GT640M or a 2GB AMD Radeon HD 8730M). Still, there's a considerable gulf between the top-end options and the base specs. Though you can choose a Core i3, i5 or i7 CPU, for instance, they actually start with Celeron. Ditto for storage: you could get 1TB, but you'll get just 320 gigs at the entry level. The 14R and 15R top out at 1,366 x 768, while the 17-incher comes standard with 1,600 x 900 resolution. 1080p displays are also available for the 15- and 17-inch models. Sounds reasonable to us: these systems are mid-range at best. Speaking of the sort, prices start at $430 for the Inspiron 15R and $500 for the 17R. However, if you want that touchscreen, the prices start at $650 for both the 14R and 15R.

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