I keep referencing computer meltdown I had in February. It did influence both my hardware and software setup as well as coincided with purchase of my first notebook.
That would be Dell Vostro 1310 and after things calmed down and I had time to get acquainted with it – it is time for review.
What I was looking for
- hardware comparable with good non-gaming desktop;
- good portability so it would be no effort to take it to work and programming courses, since I still drool about HP 2510p I estimated 1,5-2kg range and dimensions that don’t require separate bag – sub 15” screen;
- and I wanted that for under $1000.
Luckily I was also smart enough to understand that notebooks are all about compromises and I am not getting super-all-you-can-dream-about deal. Ever.
Notebook market around here is dominated by Acer (over 60% share) but it had no clear match except newest Centrino2 models which started bit expensive.
I try to stick with my own 1-year formula. Tech product reaches peak of value for price in one year after initial release. Can be more or less than year for other places but still it is rarely wise to overpay for novelty.
From there it was several hundreds of models and some time eliminating unfitting till I ended up with Dell Vostro 1310 small business class notebook.
- 13.3” 1280x800;
- 2GHz Core2Duo T5870 (seems to be OEM version of T7250);
- 2Gb DDR-2 667;
- Nvidia GeForce 8400M GS;
- 320Gb Western Digital;
- 317x243x37/24 mm;
- 2150g (according to my kitchen digital scales).
Spec range for Vostro is pretty wide and my model doesn’t have some additional features such as extra-bright display, fingerprint reader and TPM module.
Aside from power brick it came with nice Bluetooth mouse (Dell-branded Logitech) and external USB 56k modem (first step to notebooks moving on from those I guess).
Optical drive is slot-load DVD writer from Optiarc. Not too good at reading scratched discs but is very handy to use. And looks cool.
Multimedia aspect took a hit. Single speaker is in front of notebook and is very weak.
Since it is my first notebook I had hard time predicting how would I interact with computer that can be easily moved. Being spoiled by N810 tablet I hadn’t expected too much.
I can say that at 2.5kg of total setup Vostro is perfectly transportable but not something I am willing to drag around daily. Still clearly much easier to handle than usual 2.5-2.8kg 15” models.
Under 2kg of weight prices really soar (at least until new generation of Core ULV processors hits the market some time this year) so this is still as good as I could get for my money. Spending too much for first notebook didn’t sound like a good idea.
Notebook looks heavier than it is with dark and edgy design.
Between Dropbox, SyncExp over Wi-Fi (see my recent router review) and my love for portable software I set up notebook to be mirror of my desktop. I can hop between two seamlessly.
13.3” screen is in perfect balance being big enough for everything and small enough to handle easily.
I hadn’t bothered to time exact battery life (use it plugged in 95% of the time) but BatteryBar usually puts it at 2:45 in portable mode.
Vostro 1310 has reasonable price, dimensions and computing power. It can be called mediocre for that but that is exactly what makes it great. There is no sacrifice to make here, everything is carefully balanced up to it being ugly enough to not be overtaken by girlfriend.
I think it is best first notebook I could possibly buy.
Again I am in bit of a trouble with providing good link because Dell had recently updated model to 1320 and scraped old specs off site. Check up new Vostro lineup (very similar but slightly thinner and lighter) at:
Acer eMachines G520 – cheap 17" notebook | Rarst.net #
HP ProBook 4510s – nice small business notebook | Rarst.net #
How do you drag notebook around? | Rarst.net #
The DataRat #
Dicota BacPac Run notebook backpack | Rarst.net #