Update: Looks like both models actually do have an HDMI option, presumably by way of the graphics card upgrade (thanks to JasonCE for pointing us in the right direction). Good news. The only way you'd know that HDMI is available is if you bothered to click on the design tab on Dell's product page. It's not mentioned anywhere in the actual configurator. We encourage Dell to update accordingly, so a customer might actually be able to tell that he or she has selected the HDMI-enabling option.
The rainbow of new Dell Inspirons we wrote about at the end of March goes on sale today at Dell's Web site. The minitower Inspiron 537 and the slim tower Inspiron 537s each start at $299, and you can choose from eight colors for their front panels.
You can check out Dell's own product page, but the options for each system are basically identical. Intel CPUs range from single core Celerons to Core 2 Quads, with upgrades to Blu-ray, low-level ATI graphics, wireless networking, and hard drives up to 750GB. Those all drive the price up, of course. You also have to pay an extra $20 for any color other than basic black.
Despite the low prices, these are, in fact, full-fledged Windows PCs. We're wary of the basic $299 system with Vista, 2GB of RAM, and only an integrated Intel graphics chip, but it's also hard to argue with that starter price tag.
We find Dell's upgrades respectable for the most part, but we're sad to see Dell continues to offer a Blu-ray option but no apparent HDMI video output on the slim tower. HDMI on a slim tower makes it that much easier to install in your living room. Even without Blu-ray, Acer's competing Aspire X1700 is a good example.
The Inspiron 537 and 537s are on sale now. You can also get older Inspiron 530 or 530s configurations for as low as $269, an offer we assume will disappear once Dell's stock is depleted.