Dell Vostro V13
A business box to get your pulse racing - surely not?
Upgrading is a potential problem as well. It's unlikely you'll want to change the spacious 320GB hard drive, but getting at the Ram and battery is a real challenge. Both are concealed under a solid slice of aluminium, and even with all the visible screws removed we couldn't figure a way to get the bottom plate off without employing a small crowbar.
Nice looks, shame about the performance
Those who have fallen for the V13's slim charms shouldn't despair, however. True to form, Dell offers a number of configurations for the system, starting at a 1.2GHz Celeron (shudder) and going as far as a well-specced 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo SU7300 with 4GB of memory for around £105 more than the review unit.
The V13 isn't flawless. The features list is rather bare – Dell says an optional HSDPA 3G module is “coming soon”, and a fingerprint reader is standard issue on most business laptops but absent here. The top-end model begins to look distinctly pricey at a shade under £600, but you’re getting a laptop with capable performance, good looks and excellent portability. The single-core models may be cheaper than the dual-core V13, but we'd pick the latter every time for its greater performance.
Business PCs aren’t supposed to evoke a little shiver of pleasure each time you pick them up. In the V13’s case, the pleasure is doubled: there’s usually a significant premium attached to this kind of design and it’s pleasing to see that you can spend – at the bottom of the range – almost netbook money on a machine with looks that give Apple and Sony’s finest a run for their money. And it comes from Dell. Who would have imagined? ®
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