Today, Dell announced the Vostro 1310, the newest addition to the company’s small-business notebook line. (Check out our full review here.) Unlike previous Vostro models, which closely resembled Dell’s Inspiron line, the 1310 sports a complete redesign, featuring a 13-inch display (compared with 14 inches for the Vostro 1400) and an overall thinner and lighter chassis, complete with a slot-loading optical drive. On the security front, Dell preloads McAfee Total Protection for Small Business, plus you get a fingerprint reader and TPM 1.2. Users still have easy access to Dell’s 10GB of online backup, the Network Assistant, and PC TuneUp. The 4.8-pound notebook comes with a starting price of $749, but the unit that arrived in our offices was configured to $1,357 and came packed with the following features.
Design and Aesthetics We like the Dell Vostro 1310′s handsome black body, and its wedge-shaped design (0.9–1.6 inches) makes it look more svelte than the Vostro 1400 (1.5 inches). A free-fall sensor helps protect the 160GB hard drive by parking the HDD when a drop occurs, while a sealed keyboard protects against dust and spills. The keyboard itself is spacious and conducive to a comfortable typing experience, but the touchpad is relatively small. We’re not fans of the mouse buttons, which feel a bit mushy. Above the keys resides a glossy strip that houses several responsive capacitive-touch multimedia buttons that let us skip chapters and raise/lower the volume of our Cloverfield DVD without a hitch. The glossy finish extends to the lid and sides of the system, which gives it a touch of flair over the standard business notebook. A mono speaker delivers enough sound to fill a small cubicle, but not enough audio punch to fill a small conference room. Viewing angles on the 13.3-inch display were limited, but the anti-glare display made the screen legible in direct light. A Wi-Fi switch on the right side of the system toggles the 802.11n connection on and off. Software The Dell Vostro 1310 comes completely crapware free, so new purchasers don’t have to worry about a slew of unnecessary trial software impacting system performance. Microsoft Works is the productivity package preinstalled on the machine, but that shouldn’t be a huge loss to most users, as it’s compatible with Office formats. Sweet Small-Business–Friendly Features As with past Vostro notebooks, the 1310 is backed by Dell’s comprehensive small business services designed to keep companies focused on business and not on IT. These include Dell Connect (which lets a Dell technician remotely access your system to diagnose and repair problems), Dell Automated PC TuneUp (a maintenance tool that performs 32 routine tasks designed to keep your system running at peak performance), Dell Network Assistant (which helps connect your Vostro to your network and simplifies connecting peripherals to the wireless network), and 10GB of DataSafe online backup. Verdict All in all, the Dell Vostro 1310 looks to be a solid small-business notebook. It’s easier to carry (and a bit easier on the eyes) than its predecessor, and it provides the security and other helpful tools small-business customers need. Watch the video below and check back shortly for a full review.