All business, all the time.
Boring. Staid. Plain. These words can all be used to describe Dell’s latest Vostro laptop, but they’d be missing the point. This is a business workhorse first and foremost, designed to deliver the goods at the most affordable price point and get the job done. It’s not flashy or designer-delivered; this is a pure business laptop that stacks in some very healthy hardware for a great price.
The 15-inch display dictates the size of the chassis, which appears to be built from solid aluminium. It’s only 25mm at its deepest point, and the entire machine weighs just 1.98kg, making it rather mobile. There’s no flex whatsoever to the screen or keyboard. The panel is standard with no rotating hinges, so it can’t be used as a convertible. It uses a backlit LED panel so the colours don’t pop like an IPS panel, and is rather dim compared to those we’re used to of late. After testing so many IPS screens of late, the difference in quality really is noticeable. However, the 1920 x 1080 resolution is just right, with zero pixel structure evident. Unfortunately the screen isn’t touch-enabled, but again, that’s to be expected at this price point.
Given that this laptop is designed to work in an office environment, it’s no wonder Dell has stocked it up with plenty of inputs and outputs. We’re talking more than two laptops combined, with one VGA, one HDMI out, a single Ethernet port, twin USB 3.0, one USB 3.0 with PowerShare and a final USB 2.0. There’s also the obligatory SD card reader that Dell packs into most of its laptops. If you want to plug a lot of peripherals into your laptop, Dell has you covered with the Vostro.
The backlit keyboard has rather small key travel, yet remains comfortable to use thanks to its larger key size. The touchpad is one of the better ones we’ve seen of late, and there’s a full numpad for fast data entry.
Powering it all is Intel’s 7th Gen Core i7-7500U processor, which is a twin-core CPU with four threads. This includes Intel’s HD Graphics 620 integrated GPU, but there is an external GPU as well, in the form of Nvidia’s GeForce 940MX 4GB GDDR5. This is about as slow as you can get for a discrete GPU, so don’t expect to do any graphically intensive work with this machine; it’s designed more for Excel than Battlefield.
Our review sample came with just 8GB of DDR4-2400MHz memory, which is scratching the bottom of the barrel these days. We’d highly suggest going for the 16GB upgrade come purchase time. Long term storage is also lacking, with a single 256GB SSD. Only 187GB of this is usable at purchase time, due to the large array of pre-installed software that Dell includes out of the box. There’s room for another drive though, and again we’d suggest going for this upgrade come purchase time.
An optional finger-print reader is available to boost security, while the hardware TPM 2.0 provides the ultimate in commercial security, encrypting the contents of your hard drive.
As our benchmarks show, this is a very decent performing machine for the price. It might not be sexy or showy, but it does exactly what it sets out to do – deliver business level performance at an excellent price and in a very sturdy package.