Dell has slathered a fresh coat of paint on its mainstream Inspiron 13z and 14z notebooks, updating their specifications and aesthetics. Both notebooks are available today, though the 13z is limited to select Asian markets and the system's US product page appears incomplete. Meanwhile, the 14z is shipping worldwide, including the US, with a handful of preconfigured versions ranging in price from $600 to $800.

The 14-incher offers a 1366x768 display, an Intel Core i3-2330M 2.2GHz or i5-2410M 2.3GHz processor, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, 500GB, 640GB or 750GB of storage, a DVD burner, and a four, six or nine-cell battery. The 13z loses the optical drive along with the nine-cell battery and is limited to 320GB or 500GB of mechanical storage, but gains an optional 128GB SSD. Strangely, the 14z doesn't offer a flash drive upgrade.

Both machines are encased in aluminum, versus the plastic chassis commonly found among budget and mainstream laptops. The 13z and 14z also share connectivity options and other features including a built-in media card reader, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, USB 2.0 and 3.0, eSATA, HDMI, WiDi, an HD webcam, a chiclet keyboard, and Dell's "Stage" user interface, which provides one-click access to your media.

Dell has also refreshed its budget business line with the Vostro V131. Pricing ranges from $500 to $800, which gets you a 13.3-inch 1366x768 anti-glare display, an Intel Celeron, Core i3 or i5 Sandy Bridge-based processor, 2GB to 4GB RAM, up to 500GB of storage, and mobile broadband options alongside the usual band of ports and connectors. The system can't house an optical drive, but an external unit is offered.