Dell Vostro V131 review

Slim business laptop with powerful second-gen Core i3 processor
Photo of Dell Vostro V131
£449.99

Dell’s Vostro range of notebook computers is squarely targeted at small to medium business executives who need a lightweight laptop with enough oomph to handle multitasking effortlessly. The Vostro V131, successor to the V130 we tested earlier this year, may be towards the bottom end of the line, but it still manages to pack a significant punch. It’s also a very smart, slim notebook that weighs in at a highly portable 1.82kg and measures a tidy 329x16x238mm at its narrowest, although the six-cell battery at the back raises the height slightly to 21.0mm.

Dell Vostro V131 side

Core specification
Available in two chic shades of ‘Aberdeen Silver’ and ‘Lucerne Red’, the Vostro V131 is housed in a tough aluminium casing with a firm hinge that ensures the lid snaps shut without the need for a retaining clip.

Circling the sides, you’ll discover two USB 3.0 ports enabling fast data transfer at a theoretical top speed of 5Gbit/s, one USB 2.0, an HDMI out, VGA, Ethernet, an 8-in-1 card reader and a headphone jack. What you won’t find, unfortunately is a DVD or Blu-ray drive – a casualty of Dell’s quest to keep the notebook as slim as possible.

Decent screen, excellent keyboard
Inside the lid is a 13.3in HD anti-glare LED display with a standard native resolution of 1366×768 and an HD webcam complete with Dell’s current collection of fun special effects. The chiclet-tyle keyboard is full size, squeezing every inch out of the available space but omitting a separate number pad. It’s extremely comfortable and firm to the touch – partly helped by having slightly concave keys and also thanks to the variable backlighting.

Dell Vostro V131 keyboard

The large touchpad and mouse buttons are equally responsive, and as well as the inclusion of a fingerprint reader for added security, there are three rapid access buttons above the keyboard for Windows Mobility, Dell Support Centre and the customisable Launch Manager. As well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, you can also attach WiDi-enabled digital projectors for conference room presentations.

Powerful performer
We mentioned power at the beginning, and the Vostro V131 has plenty. The model we tested is at the bottom end of the available spec, but still boasts a dual-core second-generation Sandy Bridge Intel Core i3-2310M processor clocked at 2.10GHz and 4GB RAM (expandable to 8GB) – though options are available right up to a Core i5-2430M closked at 2.4GHz. Let’s just say that with any of these models, you won’t have any problems with business multitasking.

Battery life
Battery life is also impressive, with the Battery Eater test measuring two and quarter hours minimum at flat-out usage and nearer to seven hours at very light activity. Although the 500GB hard drive should prove more than sufficient, the one major oversight on this machine is the absence of an optical drive which will prove inhibiting for many business folk on the move.

Company: Dell

Website: http://www.dell.co.uk/

Contact: Dell on 0844 444 4699

Positives
  • Improved battery life and performance.
Negative
  • No optical drive.

Verdict

The Dell Vostro V131 shows a notable improvement over its predecessor the V130, especially in terms of battery life, processor performance and exceptionally friendly keyboard - but the lack of an optical drive might make some think twice.