Dell packs 4G LTE in new Vostro V131 laptop

The laptop will be one of the few available with built-in LTE broadband

Dell has announced the ultrathin Vostro V131 laptop, which will come an optional LTE card for 4G mobile broadband connectivity.

Starting at US$499, the V131 is the latest addition to Dell's Vostro line-up for small and medium-sized businesses. It has a 13.3-inch screen and is just 0.63 inches (1.6 cm) thick. It weighs 3.6 pounds (1.5 kilograms).

The spec sheet lists an optional Verizon 4G LTE card, but the purchase options listed only 3G and WiMax at the time of the story.

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A Dell spokeswoman said LTE will be available as a configuration option, but she couldn't say when it will be added. The laptops are due to ship Sept. 1.

Very few laptops today come with LTE broadband, which is offered in the U.S. by Verizon, Metro PCS and, soon, AT&T. Verizon offers two Hewlett-Packard laptops with LTE connectivity, and USB dongles that allow laptops to connect to LTE networks.

The V131 processor options range from Intel's new Core i5 processors to the low-end Celeron 847 low-voltage processor. Both are based on the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture. The laptop includes other new technologies such as USB 3.0 ports.

Dell says the laptop offers up to 9.5 hours battery life, which would be a significant upgrade from its predecessor, the Vostro V130, which topped out at 4.5 hours with a six-cell battery.

In Dell's lab tests, the new laptop with a Celeron processor and a four-cell battery achieved 6.5 hours of battery life, while a system with a six-cell battery, Core i5 processor and solid-state drive achieved almost 10 hours, Dell's Lionel Menchaca wrote in a blog entry.

"Overall battery life is much improved compared to the V130. Thanks in no small part to Intel's second-generation Core technology," he wrote.

The battery in the V131 can be replaceable, which is another improvement over the V130, whose battery was integrated in the laptop chassis and hard to replace.

The V131 comes with up to a 256GB SSD or 750GB hard disk drive. An HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port connects the laptop to high-definition TV sets. Like the V130, the new laptop has Intel's hyperbaric cooling technology, which uses an internal fan to suck in outside air to keep the laptop from overheating.

The Vostro V131 will be available in the U.S., Canada and some countries in Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Japan and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Dell said.

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