Head over to Dell’s shopping site and you’ll find the laptop section is a bit confusing. In addition to the premium XPS line and the gaming-centric Alienware brand, there’s a vast selection of Inspirons. Some are just called “Inspiron.” Some are “Inspiron R.” Heck, there even used to be an Inspiron Z (RIP). What’s more, all those models are highly configurable; the same laptop might potentially be offered with either a crusty Celeron CPU or new Core i5 chip. Fortunately, Dell’s trying to clear things up. The company is moving to a “good, better, best” setup, with three lines called the Inspiron 3000, 5000 and 7000 (Dell’s enterprise notebooks already have a similar naming scheme). Though the company isn’t unveiling all of its new consumer laptops today, it is taking the wraps off the 7000s, along with one of the 3000-series models.
Given that these start at $699 and are way less expensive than Dell’s top-of-the-line XPS offerings, it’s best if you think of these as mid-range machines; specifically, the best mid-range machines Dell has to offer. Available in 14-, 15- and 17-inch screen sizes, they feature a nicer design than you might expect, with all-aluminum surfaces, backlit keyboards and