The Bottom Line
Sep 23 2011 - Dell's Vostro V131 may be a business class 13-inch laptop but it is one that many consumers should consider as well. With its $800 price tag, it offers some surprising performance and a very stylish design. Battery life is also one of the best for how it is equipped. One major issue with the laptop is the screen that has below average color, brightness and viewing angles. At least it is a matte display but it is still outperformed by many less expensive laptops with glossy screens.
- Strong Performance From Core i5 Processor And Fast Hard Drive
- Stylish And Sturdy Design
- Good Battery Life
- Display Brightness And Color Definitely Subpar
- Limited Customization
- Intel Core i5-2410M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 13.3" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With 1.0 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Two USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 8-in-1 Card Reader
- 13" x 9.4" x .8" @ 4 lbs.
- WIndows 7 Professional, Office Starter, Trend Micro Anti-Virus
Review - Dell Vostro V131
Sep 23 2011 - Dell may have killed off the consumer Adamo ultraportable, but its overall design remains intact with the business class Vostro V131. It shares the same lid and hinge design but they are a different overall type of system. It still offers some surprising performance and thankfully, much more affordable prices than the previous Adamo.
The Vostro V131 is powered by the second generation Intel Core i processors. This mid-ranged model that I am looking at uses the Core i5-2410M dual core processor. This is a standard laptop processor model that offers improved performance over the Core i5 low voltage models that are found in the ultrathin laptops. With the 4GB of DDR3 memory, it should handle most tasks just fine. It may get bogged down in more demanding tasks such as desktop video because of the memory size rather than the processor which also supports Hyperthreading.
Storage on the Vostro V131 is quite good. While the hard drive capacity is an average 500GB that can be found in many ultraportables, it spins at a desktop speed 7200rpm rate instead of the more traditional 5400rpm. This makes the drive a bit faster at access data that much of the competition. It won't be as fast as a laptop equipped with the new solid state drives but it does offer much more space for applications, data and media files. If you still require more storage, Dell also placed two of the new USB 3.0 ports for high speed external storage devices. It does not feature any type of optical drive but DVD players are becoming less of a mandatory option for loading software and are more functional for those wanting to watch the movies on the road.
Most consumer laptops use a glossy coating on their displays. This has the problem of making them difficult to use outdoors or in certain light because of reflections and glare. Since Dell's Vostro V131 is targeted as a business class system, it instead uses a matte 13.3-inch display. This does certainly help with it being used outdoors compared to consumer systems but it is not as nice as some of the other matte displays found on Lenovo or HP business class systems. The viewing angles are also fairly narrow compared to many other displays.
The graphics for the Dell Vostro V131 use the Intel HD Graphics 3000 engine that is built into the Core i5 processor. This is a nice step up from the previous Intel GMA graphics engine. This is particularly true for those that are looking to do video encoding as it can accelerate this process with QuickSync compatible applications. The downside is that it still doesn't offer 3D graphics on par with discrete graphics engines. Then again, many business class users will likely not require such 3D features.
Dell equips the Vostro V131 with a six cell 65 WattHr battery pack. This may not be as large as the eight cell model that ASUS puts in the U36SD-A1 which is its closest competitor in terms of size and features. In video streaming playback tests, it was able to run for just under six hours. This is roughly an hour longer than the ASUS with its larger battery. Much of this can probably be attributed to the fact that the Vostro relies on the Intel HD Graphics rather than a hybrid of discrete NVIDIA and Intel graphics. Still, this is very impressive and should last for over eight hours in more traditional usage.