Dell releases upgraded Inspiron line with Intel's Ivy Bridge

Dell has put MaxxAudio technologies from Wave in the laptops for better audio playback

Dell introduced on Tuesday a refreshed and expanded line of its Inspiron consumer notebooks, some of which have Intel's third generation Core processor, code-named Ivy Bridge.

The three series -- Z, R and R Special Edition -- include audio technology from the company Waves, a developer of software-based audio processing tools. Dell collaborated with Waves to put its MaxxAudio technologies into the laptops. Dell said the laptops have "studio-quality" sound and do not need external speakers.

The laptops, equipped with Windows 7 Home Premium, will be eligible for Microsoft's Windows 8 upgrade program.

The 14Z weighs 1.87kg and is 21mm thick. Dell said its battery will last up to seven hours. It features Intel's Rapid Start Technology, which means a faster boot and resume, a mobile broadband option with Dell's NetReady Mobile and Skullcandy speakers. Colors are Moon Silver or Fire Red with a brushed aluminum finish. It starts at US$699.99 and is available in some Asian countries as of Tuesday and in the U.S. and Canada starting June 19. Some European and Latin America countries will follow later in the year, Dell said.

The 13Z weighs 1.73kg and is 20.7mm thick. Battery life is up to seven and a half hours. Its features include Dell's color switch lids, a mobile broadband option and Skullcandy speakers. Colors are Moon Silver, Fire Red and Lotus Pink. It starts at $599.99 and is available in some Asian countries as of Tuesday and in the U.S. and Canada starting June 19.

Dell said the 15R and 17R laptops are aimed at family computing, with high-definition displays and the Waves MaxxAudio 3 technology. The models have the color switch lids and come in a variety of processor, memory and hard-drive options, Dell said. The 15R is available in some countries in Europe and Asia as of Tuesday, starting at $549.99. The 17R starts at $599.99 and is available in some European countries as of Tuesday and on June 19 in the U.S. and Canada.

The 15R Special Edition and 17R Special Edition models have the Waves MaxxAudio 4 audio suite as well as Skullcandy speakers. The 15R comes with an AMD video card and the 17R has an NVIDIA video card, although Dell did not specify the models of those cards.

Both of the Special Edition laptops, which come in Stealth Black with anodized aluminum exterior, have 1920x1080 HD displays. A Blu-ray disc player is an option. The 15R Special Edition starts at $899.99 and is available in some European, Latin American and Asian countries as of Tuesday and June 19 in the U.S. and Canada. The 17R Special Edition is available in some countries in Europe and Asia, with availability in the U.S. and Canada on June 19, starting at $1,099.99.

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