Despite a couple of quibbles with its screen and design, like many Dell laptops, the slim and light Dell Vostro V130 is still a top ultraportable notebook that’s great for business users. The ultra-low-voltage Core i5 CPU provides much faster performance at a better price than the previous Vostro V13 model. 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. The new unit has a digital video output, which is also an improvement over the previous model.
The 13.3in Vostro V130 is the successor to the Vostro V13. The V130 doesn’t look very different to the V13, but on the inside significant changes have been made. The CPU has been upgraded from a Core 2 Duo ultra-low-voltage model to an Intel Core i5-470UM, which has two cores, Hyper-Threading and runs at a frequency of 1.33GHz. Surrounding the CPU are 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, an integrated Intel HD graphics adapter and a 7200rpm, 500GB hard drive. The original thin and light chassis has been kept in tact, which means there’s still the same old battery issues, but Dell’s freshened up the 13.3-inch magnesium alloy laptop with an HDMI port, extra USB socket, a SIM card slot, new Core i3 / i5 ULV processor options .
The sealed 6-cell battery inside the Vostro V130 lasted 2hr 7min in our rundown test, in which we disable power management, maximise brightness, enable Wi-Fi and loop an Xvid-encoded video. This is a few minutes better than what the 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo–based V13 recorded in the same test.
While Dell’s website 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 under $1000, the V130 could be a great choice for someone in the market for a super-small optical drive-free laptop.