The Vostro series by Dell has been going strong, for quite a while now, enticing both seasoned business professionals as well as newcomers. Dell have recently launched their Vostro V131 model, which looks eerily similar to the Vostro V3350, we reviewed earlier. But, does this business minded cousin of the Inspiron series mean all work and no play? Let’s find out. 

Design and Build Quality

Like its other sibling, the V3350, the V131 comes in a lucerne red finish on the exterior, which is quite prone to fingerprints, because of its shiny coating. The interior has a more demure matte black coating. The only bit of steel that’s visible is on the hinges and the rest of the laptop looks and feels quite compact and light. 

Slim and stylish

Slim and stylish

The V131 has all the major connectivity options covered. The ports on the left include the card reader, an HDMI slot and the USB port, along with a pretty effective heatsink. The right consists of two USB 3.0 slots, a VGA port, the Ethernet port and a 3.5 mm jack. The power slot is located at the back. The stereo speakers are located at the front of the bottom panel, along with the notification LEDs. However, the absence of a DVD slot may be a problem for some. 

In terms of the build, we weren’t exactly impressed. The first problem was the hinges. Though the hinges themselves are pretty sturdy and ensure that the LCD doesn’t wobble, the area between the hinges is extremely fragile. Just a slight press from the outside and we could see impressions forming on the other side of the screen, which was a big disappointment. The LCD itself left a lot to be desired, in terms of better reinforcing, because even a slight touch would cause smearing of pixels on the screen. There’s a slight elevation from the back, with the battery pack, which facilitates long hours of typing. There’s a lot of armrest under the keyboard as well.

The connectivity ports on the sides

The connectivity ports on the sides

The design of the V131 may be appealing, but we weren’t overly impressed with the build quality of this Vostro laptop. 

Features

The V131 is powered by the Intel Core i3 – 2330M processor running at a clock speed of 2.2 GHz. The other specs include 2GB of RAM, a 500GB HDD and the integrated Intel Graphics HD 3000 graphic card. It has also got the usual stuff like Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, an integrated webcam and a fingerprint reader. Everything is held together by the Windows 7 Professional operating system. 

Dell generally don’t fill up their laptops with bloatware and this one is no different. The only software that comes with this notebook is the data backup and recovery software.

Performance

Boot up times for the V131 were pretty quick, so you’ll be up and running in no time. The brightness levels, however, didn’t really impress and hence features as one of the cons of this laptop. Video playback, as a result, wasn’t something we really liked about this laptop, because colours didn't appear bright or vivid enough. The speakers, though are loud enough for personal usage. 

Good keyboard and trackpad

Good keyboard and trackpad

Typing on the normal sized chiclet keyboard is a pleasure and the soft keys on the touchpad make for easy manoeuvring. The touchpad itself is pretty smooth considering how often this part of the laptop makes or breaks its usability. The heatsink is on the side and we ran the laptop through a few performance intensive programs to guage its heat dissipating capability, and the Vostro passed with flying colours. 

Gallery

Heatsink does its job well

We put the V131 through our standard synthetic and real world tests and the results for the tests are in the chart below. In terms of performance, the V131 directly competes with the similarly spec’d Lenovo G570. Aside from a few tests, where the V131 wins, the competition between the two is pretty even. Another important thing to note is that the G570 lacks a USB 3.0 port. 

Performance Chart

Performance Chart

Battery Life

The V131 comes with a 65 Wh battery and in our Battery Eater test, the laptop lasted for a full hour and forty minutes. Under normal performance mode, you will be able to crank out around 4 and a half to five hours easily. Plus, it has an integrated graphics card, so it will be able to last that wee bit longer than those with dedicated graphics cards. All in all, the V131 has a good enough battery life; a plus, if you’re a frequent traveler. 

Worth a buy?

Worth a buy?

Verdict

The Vostro V131 is priced at Rs. 43,990 (MOP). It follows the trend of the other expensively priced Vostros, but does fall a little short in terms of build. With the specs, it compares straight to the Lenovo G570, we reviewed earlier. However, with the price, it’s definitely not better than the Vostro V3350, we reviewed earlier. The earlier model packs in more RAM, a better processor and a DVD writer for the same price, and we’d surely recommend that one over this. 

Publish date: January 18, 2012 9:35 am| Modified date: December 18, 2013 9:23 pm

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