You know when two pages of a book stick together and you have a temporary difficulty prising them apart? That’s what happened to me the first time I attempted to open the Dell Vostro V13 netbook; it’s that slim. At 16.5mm thick, it’s easily the most slender and lightweight netbook (starting at 1.59kg) I’ve had the privilege of testing. It sports a 13-3-inch widescreen display, which makes very efficient use of the real estate available to it and ensures that your viewing experience isn’t cramped. Running a Core 2 processor that handles Windows 7 Professional Edition like a dream, the Vostro V13 is also a rather pleasant experience. Unlike many other netbooks that can feel rather sluggish if you’re used to a fully enabled desktop PC, the Vostro V13 doesn’t feel like much of a compromise at all. The keyboard – typically one of the first things to suffer when it comes to netbooks – is actually rather useable, and I didn’t feel cramped whatsoever. Also of particular note is the Vostro’s absolutely outstanding battery life. On average the battery seemed to last in the region of four hours from a fresh charge, apparently owing to its ultra-low voltage (ULV) processors. Speaking of processors, the V13 comes with either Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 (1.4GHz) or an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 (1.3GHz) and with either a 320GB or 500GB hard drive. Topping it all off is an attractive and sturdy brushed aluminium finish.
PROS: Nice 13.3-inch widescreen display. Very useable keyboard. Durable thanks to its brushed-aluminium finish. Very powerful for a netbook. Extremely compact, including the AC adaptor. Multiple customisation options at purchase, as with all Dell computers.
CONS: Despite being fairly powerful for a netbook, you will notice a performance downgrade when compared to a desktop or fully fledged laptop computer. Speaking of which, the price point puts it in the same range as a desktop or notebook computer too.
VERDICT:The Vostro V13 packs portability and performance into one tiny package. It comes recommended to the mobile business person who needs something a little more than a device to check their emails on when they’re on the road. However, at a price that’s in the region of fully fledged PCs, you’d really have to put a premium on the portability aspect.