Dell V13 Laptop Review

You have probably seen the Dell Adamo, and after seeing the swanky design you are probably interested in getting one, however the £1099 price tag has put you off right?

What if I could tell you that you can have the vast majority of the design perks of the Adamo for less than £400. This is where the Vostro V13 comes along to play.

Besides starting at £399, the unit I tested racked up to £849; with battery life promising 5 hours and less than an inch thick with the performance to easily fill the needs of the average businessman and coffee shop show off, it certainly seems to be one of the best low voltage laptops out there.

It doesn’t really matter what light you look at the V13, its still apparent that it has looked up to its big brother (Adamo) for design queue’s. It doesn’t have the really cool swipe feature, yet the outer body is coated with aluminium.

Nonetheless, in an obvious cost and weight saving move, Dell hasn’t extended the aluminium around to the palm rests. For such a portable laptop you do get a handful of ports – a USB, combo eSATA/USB, VGA and Ethernet. All these connections are found on the back edge.

You will find a SDHC and an Express card on the right side, along with headphone and microphone jacks on the front.

The thickness of this laptop still stuns me; coming at 0.65 inch it’s actually thinner than the Apple MacBook Air (on the thickest part).

Give it a twist and you will be surprised at how rigid this ultra portable is. This gives an incredibly solid and sturdy design. So combined with the 3.5lb chassis it is certainly going to be easy to lug around the office.

Usually when I come to use ultra portable laptops I tend to try and get out of using them. Small track pad’s and the general layout is poor. Not with the v13. The pad itself is extremely spacious, even for us with fat fingers. My one and only gripe though, is that your finger does seem to grip to the pad, which does become frustrating over time. Two finger scrolling though. All I can say is Yeah baby!

Being provided a full sized keyboard is a real treat on such small laptops, and like most of Dell's laptop range I found it very easy to type on. The one thing that it trumps over the others is the amount of keyboard flex. It’s practically non-existent. It just gives the right feedback when typing, plus it sounds nice too.

Battery life. Well, it’s not going to win any awards here what-so-ever. When streaming video with the brightness set to 100% the laptop only lasted 110 minutes.

Now considering that this has a built in battery, the probability of getting a lot of work done on a journey without a power point is looking slimmer by the second. Nevertheless carrying out basic tasks such as email and web browsing you can expect the battery to last just over 2.5 hours.

By no means is the V13 a powerhouse, but it sure as hell does keep things going when doing productivity work and browsing.

So while it can handle HD video (thanks to the GMA 4500MHD), if you do choose to opt for the lower specification models, I can imagine performance will dwindle.

The Vostro V13 is available from Dell direct from as little as £399 for the base unit while the model we reviewed costs £559. All prices are ex VAT and delivery but Dell is currently running a promotion with free shipping when you spend £429 or more on a single system.