Dell hasn’t traditionally been renowned for producing good-looking laptops – but all that has changed recently, first with release of the rather attractive Latitude 13 and Adamo, and more recently with the Vostro V130 which emulates the others’ sleek lines.
Choice of spec
An ultraportable laptop with a 13.3in 1366×768 pixel anti glare screen, the Vostro V130 comes in a wide range of configurations, with online prices starting as low as £399 + VAT and going up to £619 + VAT (that upper price includes a substantial online discount). And you can customise the standard configurations, further upping the price depending on the features you require.
This vast range of prices and customisation options means you can match the look of the Vostro with the features you need. For example, you can choose an OS from Windows 7 Home Basic right up to Windows 7 Professional with a hard disk of between 320GB and 500GB – with a 128GB solid-state option thrown in. You can also choose from Intel processors ranging up to a Core i5-470, and opt for mobile broadband. For some, the range of options may be daunting.
Whichever configuration you go for, the one thing you won’t get is an internal optical drive. This is a pity, as other 13.3in-screened notebooks still do manage to fit an optical drive into their chassis.
And speaking of the chassis… this is arguably what the Dell Vostro V130 is all about. The sleek metal outer shell looks lovely and provides a solid casing for the lid. The laptop is tidy in dimensions being 330x230x19.7mm (wdh). The starting weight is 1.59kg, which is very respectable for a laptop of this size.
Headphone and microphone sockets sit at the front. The sides, which are sculpted with an inward curve, are clear apart from a card reader on the right side. This is a little tricky to access because of that curvature. This arrangement means that all the ports and connectors are, very unusually arranged around the back where they’re ergonomic for desktop use, but less so for the lap.
There are two USB ports, a combined USB/eSATA port, HDMI, Ethernet, VGA connector and mains power connector. It is a small selection. If you opt for 3G the SIM port is on the front edge, hidden behind a discreet panel. The battery is locked away inside the chassis and not swappable. A webcam sits above the screen.
The keyboard is comfy to use and well sized, with no fancy extra buttons to disrupt its clean lines. But the battery life is poor. We managed a little over two hours of continuous video playback, which in this day and age is shameful. You aren’t likely to get a day’s usage between charges.
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