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Dell Vostro 131 laptop

Dell Vostro V131 13.3in Core i5 notebook

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Deal or no deal

Of course, all the performance in the world is no good if the battery dies in half an hour, but the rather bulky, 65Wh battery in the back of the system proved its worth. Left idle, with the screen on at half brightness, and connected to a wireless network, the V131 ran for a highly impressive eight hours and 45 minutes.

Dell Vostro V131 laptop

If the styling appeals, there are configuration options across a wide price range

Left looping on PCMark Vantage with the screen at full whack it ran for nearly two hours, so most users should see a result somewhere in the middle. Combined with the V131’s barely-there weight of 1.82kg it makes for a beautifully portable machine.

The cheapest Core i5 system, for instance, with Dell's current on-line discounts costs £660 - typically £800 - with 4GB of Ram and a 320GB hard disk – its practical specification and good looks are decent value. It’s worth bearing in mind that the Sony Vaio SB is another good-looking machine that also includes an optical drive and discrete GPU that pushes up its price. Having used both, the Sony is marginally more elegant in terms of its build, although its noisy fan detracts from these plus points somewhat.

Verdict

If you tinker with the configuration options you can get a Dell Vostro V131 for an attractive price – the top-end somewhat slightly less so, but only because the silver finish and light weight invites unflattering comparison with Apple's MacBook Air. Without the current spate of Dell discounts, the top-end Vostro costs £960 – which then puts a 13in Air within reach and the 11in model for less, although they run a slower Core i5 chip. Yet at the mid-range, the Dell Vostro V131 certainly holds its own as a portable day-to-day work machine. ®

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Dell Vostro 131 laptop

Dell Vostro V131 13.3in Core i5 notebook

Speedier version of the Vostro line-up's selection of 13.3in notebooks.
Price: £800 (list), £660 (current on-line offer) RRP

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