Dell Vostro 131 review

Ultrabooks may be hogging the limelight for now, but Dell’s new Vostro 131 is a solid business ultraportable that costs considerably less. Julian Prokaza assesses its suitability for life on the move.

The amount of give in the wrist rest just below the track pad was more worrying. A small amount of pressure was enough bend the middle of the case so that it touched the desktop beneath and the whole bottom half felt flexible enough to crack in half with both hands.Battery life was rather more notable and with Wi-Fi disabled and the screen at 50% brightness, the Vostro 131 lasted for a very impressive six hours and 20 minutes.

This isn't something likely to happen in normal use, admittedly, but this is a potential weak spot nonetheless. It's perhaps unreasonable to expect lightweight magnesium alloy trusses inside a laptop at this price, but it's still a shame Dell didn't beef up this part of the chassis using some other means.

The trackpad itself is large and responsive, with two large, separate buttons with a positive action. The trackpad can also be disabled with a Function key shortcut to avoid accidental activation while typing.

Vostro 131 prices start at 431 inc VAT for a model with an Intel Celeron processor with 2GB RAM and rise to 767 for a Core i5 chip and 4GB RAM. The mid-range model we reviewed had a 2.4GHz Core i3 chip and 4GB RAM the other specifications are essentially the same across the range (the is the only model with a 7200rpm hard drive, for some reason), but an internal 3G modem is standard issue on the two top-end models.

The Core i3 processor means the Vostro 131 is far from an ultraportable powerhouse, but performance, as measured by our typical-use application benchmarks, is in line with other Core i3 laptops.

Battery life, however, was rather more notable and when running the same tests with Wi-Fi disabled and the screen at 50% brightness, the laptop lasted for a very impressive six hours and 20 minutes.

Verdict

Although not without some issues, the Dell Vostro 131 is a solid business ultraportable and its shortcomings are largely mitigated by its low price and long battery life. The lack of a desktop dock or port replicator option will limit its use to some and we have a few reservations about build quality, but these don’t detract too much from its excellent value.

Operating system: Windows 7 Professional

Processor: Intel Core i3 2330M (2.2GHz)

RAM: 1x 2GB DDR3 (2x 4GB max)

Storage: 500GB SATA (7200rpm)

Screen: 13.3” (1366 x 768) LED-backlit with anti-glare coating

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n (dual-band), Bluetooth 3.0 + High Speed, Gigabit Ethernet, WiDI

Ports: RJ45, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 3.5mm mic, 3.5mm headphone, memory card reader, HDMI, VGA

Other: Web cam (720p), fingerprint reader

Battery: 6-cell, 65Wh lithium ion

Size: 329.3 x 21 x 237.7mm

Weight: 1.82kg

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Recommended

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Intel no longer considering UK chip plant following Brexit
components

Intel no longer considering UK chip plant following Brexit

7 Oct 2021
To manage or not to manage
Sponsored

To manage or not to manage

6 Oct 2021
Rise to the challenge
Whitepaper

Rise to the challenge

1 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
What is cyber warfare?
Security

What is cyber warfare?

15 Oct 2021
Windows 11 has problems with Oracle VirtualBox
Microsoft Windows

Windows 11 has problems with Oracle VirtualBox

5 Oct 2021