The VGA port on the back is the only 'serious' disappointment - we'd have preferred an HDMI port, but those business types like VGA to hook up their presentation projectors to. The meagre external features are rounded off by a media card reader compatible with SD, MMC and Memory Stick cards, and an ExpressCard 34 slot.
MacBook Air skinny - but not MacBook Air curvy
The thrill of the V13's exterior palls somewhat when you open it, as the interior is standard Vostro fodder. The shiny metallic finish of the shell gives way to a sea of matte black - it isn't ugly per se but it hardly quickens the pulse.
The keyboard is good rather than spectacular. The base doesn't feel incredibly solid but it's not spongy, and the keys feel a little on the flimsy side.
The back is the business end
The 13.3in screen is left un-glossed, which means no distracting reflections while you work. It's bright and sharp, and the 1366 x 768 resolution is fine for the kind of jobs the V13 will be doing. Vertical viewing angles appeared a little tighter than normal, but colour reproduction was top-notch and our gradient tests revealed no stepping between shades.
There's a handy webcam nestled in the bezel at the top, too.
Spec as reviewed - other configurations available
Acer Timeline 8371
I would take a look at the above (or 8471 if you want a DVD drive). Battery life is great, the specs are better and the price is lower. Importantly, it comes with w7 pro - the Dell comes with Home edition which I think excludes it from being classed as a business machine especially when doing comparisons.
Presumably Dell will be doing one of their external optical jobbies
which it seems every Dell shop has about a bazillion of kicking about doing nothing. I swear, when humanity's time on this Earth is done, it'll be the insects and the Dell optical drives that take the reigns
"We couldn't figure a way to get the bottom plate off"
It's a Dell business laptop - the service manual is on the Internet: