With Intel's Haswell chips still many months away, system vendors seem to be holding back their major notebook overhauls until later this year, showing what could be considered incremental Ivy Bridge-based refreshes at CES instead. Although Dell's not exactly an exception to that trend, the company has done more than simply tweak the internals of its updated 14, 15 and 17-inch Inspiron laptops.
On the budget side of things, Dell is preparing three new models (the Inspiron 14-3421, 15-3521 and 17-3721) with a revamped chassis design that grants savings in thickness and weight. The 17-incher, for example, is said to be 15% thinner, while the 15-incher is 17% thinner (or roughly an inch thick) and weighs less than five pounds, whereas its predecessor tipped the scales at about six pounds.
Despite those size reductions, the company hasn't removed any base features, such as the optical drive. All three systems have a matte plastic body, options for various Core processor, discrete Nvidia or AMD graphics, up to 8GB of RAM and as much as 1TB of storage, though adding such hardware will push the price well above the starting prices of $430 for the 15-inch system and $500 for the 17-incher. We haven't seen pricing information for the 14-inch model, which will only be offered in select regions.
If you're willing to splurge a little, the Inspiron 15R and 17R start at $550 and $700 with an aluminum case in several colors as well as more display options. The standard Inspiron 15 and 17 come with 1366x768 and 1600x900 displays, while the R series will let you upgrade to 1920x1080 or a touchscreen for a premium. As a separate note, Dell also announced revealed ahead of CES that it would add a 1080p Gorilla Glass-protected display option to its XPS 13 sometime later this year, but no word on pricing yet.