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Dell Vostro V131 review

Verdict

Dell’s 13.3in Vostro V131 combines power and stamina in a business-friendly package

Review Date: 12 Aug 2011

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £829 (£995 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

Aimed squarely at the small and medium business market, the Dell Vostro V131 is a 13.3in ultraportable capable of tailoring itself to the tightest of IT budgets. Now, with the addition of Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors and a newly removable battery, the latest update to the range aims to be faster and longer-lasting than ever.

It might look somewhat understated in its palette of dark grey and silver, but the Vostro V131 is a lovely looking business laptop. The attractive chassis measures a dainty 19mm thick, apart from the slight bulge of the six-cell battery propping up its rear. The extra bulk of the battery sees it tip the scales at 1.8kg – 170g heavier than last year’s model, the Vostro V130.

Dell Vostro V131 - front

Given the extra battery capacity on offer, we’re happy to suffer a little extra weight. Indeed, where its predecessor was hamstrung by poor battery life and crippled by a non-removable battery, we’re glad to see that Dell’s redressed the issue. And with its 65wh battery clocking 7hrs 56mins in our light-use battery test, the Vostro V131 now has the stamina to match its go-anywhere proportions. It’s a huge improvement.

Application performance has improved dramatically too. The previous generation had to make do with low-voltage processors, but the new model now gives the choice of a low-voltage Celeron 847 processor, a Core i3-2310M or a Core i5-2410M. Our model sported the fastest Core i5-2410M processor, and it flew through our application benchmarks with an overall result of 0.68. For a light, compact business laptop, the Vostro V131 is packing some serious power.

Dell Vostro V131 - keyboard

It doesn’t mimic the flex-free brawn of Dell’s Latitude range, though. The base gives noticeably when you tug on it hard, and the display’s slender lid also feels a little weak. Still, the backlit keyboard makes for comfortable typing: the wide channels around the Scrabble-tile keys keep mispresses to a minimum and, despite a little bounce in the base, the overall feel is crisp and responsive.

The multitouch touchpad is excellent, giving accurate cursor control, and its two buttons offer a soft yet positive click. And the amber LED light above is a nice touch, clearly indicating when the touchpad’s been disabled.

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User comments

Hmmm

Why is the first image a Lenovo machine?

By monotok on 12 Aug 2011

The Tight-Uns of Swing

How many "tight IT budgets" can afford a laptop at £1000 when there are perfectly decent ones available at £400-£500 (such as the Lenovo G570 M5134UK, which is on your A list)?

By JohnGray7581 on 14 Aug 2011

@monotok

2nd that, whats up with lenovo

By mobilegnet on 14 Aug 2011

Tight IT budgets

JohnGray7581, the Vostro V131 we reviewed costs nearly £1000, but it's possible to configure a basic model for around £400. Depends whether you really want that Core i5 CPU and integrated 3G.

As for the incorrect picture, it seems some gremlins were scampering around our CMS. The correct picture should now be in its place. Apologies!

By SashaMuller on 14 Aug 2011

Screen Criticisms

Most of the latest Vostro laptops (including this model) have an anti-glare screen which may be responsible for the screen criticisms in the article.

I've set up a lot of consumer laptops and have done several of the Vostros over the last few months and I know which I'd rather have - the anti-glare matt screen of the Vostro.

The VAIO's come with so much crapware installed that I personally wouldn't want one.

I've ordered the V131 for my own use and am currently awiting delivery.

By MalcolmHegarty on 16 Aug 2011

@MalcolmHegarty

Same here but I've ordered the Celeron model for maximum battery life. (Will be fitting a Crucial C300 SSD)

What sealed the purchase for me? Style, no. Thin chassis, no. Back lit keyboard, yes.

By rhythm on 16 Aug 2011

Keyboard & Fan

Looks like a winner but does it have the same issues as other Dell laptops where it has a bouncy keyboard and noisy always on fan?

By kcm67 on 18 Aug 2011

@kcm67

The new Vostros I've set up (mostly 3750 and 3550) don't have bouncy keyboard and noisy always on fan.

Ditto consumer models such as the Inspiron 15R.

By MalcolmHegarty on 18 Aug 2011

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