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Friday, 13 March 2009 12:05

Dell Vostro 1310 at first glance

Written by Nermin Hajdarbegovic


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Preview:
A sensible 13-incher


Over the 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.

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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.

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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 week.


Supplied by Disti Sarajevo
Last modified on Friday, 13 March 2009 12:08
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