updated 08:10 am EDT, Thu May 28, 2009
Dell Studio 14z
Dell this morning has launched a new, relatively thin-and-light portable that nonetheless promises to be fast. The Studio 14z is the first notebook in the Studio line to drop the optical drive and does so in the name of both size and weight: unlike the 15 or 17, the 14z measures 1.2 inches at its thickest point while also weighing 4.3 pounds. A 14-inch, LED-backlit, 1366x768 display contributes to the thinness as well as to battery life that can run as long as 6.75 hours with an optional 8-cell battery.
Even so, the Studio 14z builds in a GeForce 9400M chipset to provide better-than-average 3D and HD decoding than most other notebooks in the size class, and it can take up to a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo, 5GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. Home theater use is a concern with both DisplayPort and HDMI for video output; an eSATA link gives it fast outside storage while a 1.3-megapixel webcam handles video chats.
A base model ships for $649 with a 2GHz Pentium dual-core, 3GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive and a 6-cell battery. Beyond performance upgrades, it can also ship with a crisper 1600x900 display, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and internal 3G for either AT&T or Verizon in the US. Orders start today and should ship in roughly two weeks.