Preview: A sensible 13-incher
years Dell made a name for itself shipping affordable, yet
quite powerful and reliable notebooks, mostly aimed at the business
market, or the average budget oriented consumer. Its Vostro series,
introduced last year, is no exception. The 13-inch Vostro 1310 is
probably the most appealing, mainly due to its rather low price and
compact design. While most vendors put a hefty premium on business
oriented 13-inch machines, Dell manages to keep its prices reasonable
without leaving us much to nag about.
The Vostro 1310 ships with a variety of Core 2 Duo CPUs, up to the
T9500 clocked at 2.60GHz. However, we're testing the more sensible,
entry level SKU, which still packs a 2GHz T5870, 2GB of memory and
160GB of storage. As Dell offers a number of hardware configurations to
choose from and customize, we will leave the specs at that and focus on
more important things instead.
The first thing we liked about it was its 1280x800 non-glare screen.
Although glare screens have their advantages, we don't think they are
well suited for small, portable notebooks, and the Vostro 1310 is just
that. Measuring 317x243x23-37mm and weighing 2kg, it's a relatively
compact unit, with a footprint you would expect from a low-end 12-inch
notebook. It looks a bit thick, mainly due to its edged design. Most
vendors these days go for sloping edges, especially on the lid, which
go a long way to making a notebook look slimmer.
Unlike the screen, the lid finish is glossy and fingerprint friendly.
Luckily, the base of the lid is made out of matte plastic, which helps
keeping some dirt away when you carry it around. This is a nice touch,
it's quite useful, and it looks rather good. The quality of the plastic
used on the body is mediocre. Some parts feel very solid, while some,
such as the palmrests are quite thin and not as sturdy as we'd like.
All in all, the Vostro 1310 looks fairly stylish. It's simple, the
designers didn't go overboard with the glossy finish, and it looks like
a traditional business notebook should look - serious and discrete.
The keyboard feels right, and although there's a fair amount of flex,
it still feels quite robust. The layout is good, everything is in its
place and there's no guesswork needed even if you're using it for the
first time. The touchpad is rather small, and if you've used a notebook
with a larger one (and you probably have), it will take some time to
get used to. The touchpad buttons are very soft. Don't get me wrong,
they don't feel flimsy, just soft, and the fact that they're recessed
doesn't help either.
So far things are looking up for the little Vostro, and a quick glance
at Dell's pricelist reveals a tempting $599 price tag for the entry
level SKU. This is beginning to look like a very nice deal, and if
you're interested in our verdict, stay tuned for the full review next
Supplied by Disti Sarajevo