Hands-on with the new Dell Vostro V130

Dell's thin update to the Vostro V13 adds newer processors to the mix.

Last year, the Dell Vostro V13 was an affordable small-business laptop surprise, a thin 13-incher that amounted to an affordable Adamo for budget shoppers. Dell's holiday update, the Vostro V130, keeps the same aluminum and magnesium-alloy flat design as the V13, but gives the innards a boost. We have one here at CNET, and we've been trying it out leading up to a forthcoming review.

The V130, like many Dell laptops, comes in a variety of configurations starting affordable and ranging up to the pricey. Our V130 has a Core i5 ULV processor, which runs about half the speed as a standard Core i5 you'd see in a regular laptop. The branding is confusing (the sticker says "Core i5" without making a distinction clear), but the performance is a bit zippier than on a last-gen Core 2 Duo ULV.

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The V130's thin, and it's also light: 3.5 pounds, easily gripped in one hand. The matte 13.3-inch screen looks crisp and bright, and the keyboard's pretty comfortable for typing, although the touch pad seems small compared with a MacBook Air.

Though Dell's Web site targets the Vostro V130 for small businesses, there's no reason why this laptop can't be equally good for anyone. The addition of HDMI-out on a rear-facing strip of ports is a small tweak, but a useful one for travelers.

Pricing on the V130 starts very aggressively at $429, which sounds great on paper, but you'll only be getting a Celeron ULV CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, and Linux OS. A whopping 21 other configurations are available, climbing at the high end to $1,073 for a Core i5 ULV CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD drive.

At configs costing less than $1,000, the V130 could be a great choice for someone in the market for a super-small optical drive-free laptop. At higher-priced SSD configs, however, some might be tempted to go with the even smaller MacBook Air instead.

Stay tuned for our review, coming later this week.

Read the full CNET Review

Dell Vostro V130

The Bottom Line: Dell's thin and extremely portable Vostro V130 is an attractive small-business 13-incher, but an unacceptably poor battery life sinks its appeal. / Read full review

About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired, Esquire.com, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.

 

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