Dell Vostro V130 notebook
Dell Vostro V130 review: A 13.3in laptop that's slim, light, inexpensive and well performing
- Only 1.6kg, thin, well-built, HDMI, eSATA, fast hard drive
- Screen is poor, battery is integrated and didn't last as long as we'd hoped, gets noticeably warm, touchpad software was problematic, integrated 3G modem was present in our test unit but is not currently an option for Australian shoppers
Despite a couple of quibbles with its screen and design, the slim and light Dell Vostro V130 is still a top ultraportable notebook that's great for business users. The ultra-low-voltage Core i5 CPU provides much faster performance at a better price than the previous Vostro V13 model. The new unit has a digital video output, which is also an improvement over the previous model.
Price$ 1,099.00 (AUD)
Dell's Vostro V130 business laptop offers a lot more bang for your buck than its predecessor, the Vostro V13, when it comes to performance and it now also includes a handy digital video output. It's well worth a look if you want an ultraportable laptop that's inexpensive, easy to type on and also quite well built. It runs an Intel Core i5 ultra-low-voltage CPU and it has decent grunt for office work and multimedia tasks, but it tends to run a little warm and its sealed battery design is also a drawback.
The 13.3in Vostro V130 is the successor to the Vostro V13 that we reviewed back in January 2010. The V130 doesn't look very different to the V13, but on the inside significant changes have been made. The CPU has been upgraded from a Core 2 Duo ultra-low-voltage model to an Intel Core i5-470UM, which has two cores, Hyper-Threading and runs at a frequency of 1.33GHz. Surrounding the CPU are 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, an integrated Intel HD graphics adapter and a 7200rpm, 500GB hard drive.
Dell Vostro V130: Performance
It's this configuration that makes the Vostro V130 a leap and bound better than the Core 2 Duo–based Vostro V13 — even though the Core 2 Duo-based Vostro V13 ran at 1.3GHz, the 1.33GHz Core i5-based Vostro V130 is a lot more efficient when it comes to processing data. In our Blender 3D rendering test, the V13 notched up a time of 1min 47sec, which is 30 per cent faster than the time of the Vostro V13, while in the iTunes MP3 encoding test, the V130 recorded a time of 1min 40sec, which is 60 per cent faster than the V13. What all this means is that the Vostro V130 will handle productivity applications with ease, and if you were really dedicated, you could also use it for some media creation and encoding work.
A fast 7200rpm, 500GB hard drive is installed in the Vostro V130: it recorded an average transfer rate of 35.33 megabytes per second in our tests, which is remarkable in that it's the identical rate we received from the Vostro V13. There were no such similarities in the graphics tests, in which the Vostro V130's Intel HD graphics recorded a score of 1153 in 3DMark06, double the score of the Vostro V13's Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics.
Dell Vostro V130: Design
While the performance of the unit has improved markedly as the price of the unit has come down, the 13in Vostro's design remains the same. The Vostro V130 has a similar magnesium alloy palm rest to the V13, similar metal hinges, and it has a sealed chassis design in which the battery is trapped and can't be easily replaced. This is one aspect of the Vostro V130's design that we find hard to tolerate, as we like to be able to carry a spare battery on long trips. But the snugly fitting battery inside the chassis is one of the reasons why Dell has been able to make the Vostro V130 so thin — it's only around 20mm thick with the lid closed, and this thickness doesn't vary much from the front to the rear like it does with a MacBook Air, for example.
Because it's so thin, there isn't much airflow in the unit and it tends to get warm after a while. You can use it on your lap for a short time before it starts to warm up and feel uncomfortable. The heat comes from the 7200rpm hard drive primarily, so we'd like to see this unit offered with a solid-state drive. There are vents on the rear through which the accumulated heat can escape, and you have to be mindful of these when you do use the unit on your lap, so that you don't block them.
We think the screen on the V130 could be better. It has a native resolution of 1366x768 and a LED backlight, but its poor contrast and colours make it unsuitable for scrutinising photos and videos.
The keyboard of the V130 is comfortable to hit and the only part of its layout that we don't like is the column of Page Up/Page Down, Home and End keys, which reside to the right of the Enter and Backspace keys. This is similar to the design of the Fujitsu LifeBook SH530 (the Dell is a little better in that the Delete key is placed in the top-right corner). The touchpad is large (80x44mm), and it has soft left- and right-click buttons, but its multitouch software wasn't always reliable in our tests. Even after we enabled multitouch scrolling, the gesture would sometimes cause the pad to stop responding but the buttons would continue to work. We had to restart the system to get it working again.
Dell Vostro V130: Connectivity
Around the edges of the Vostro V130 you'll find almost nothing; it's at the rear where all of the ports make their home. You get three USB 2.0 ports (one shared with the eSATA port), VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, and there is also an HDMI port. One of our criticisms of the Vostro V13 was its lack of a digital video port, so we're glad this has been rectified on the Vostro V130. There is no built-in optical drive, nor is there an expansion slot (unlike on the Vostro V13), but you do get an SD card reader on the right side of the unit. A webcam, Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11n Wi-Fi are also present.
Conveniently — especially for business users — the Vostro V130 has a built-in 3G modem (Dell Wireless 5540 HSPA Mini-Card Network Adapter) and a SIM slot is located at the front of the unit. To insert a SIM card, you'll have to first find a thin screwdriver or bobby pin with which to pry the slot open. Dell's Mobile Broadband Manager software was installed on our system; however, we weren't able to test the 3G capability of the laptop as our review unit shipped with UK Vodafone profiles that we couldn't change. We're awaiting word from Dell as to whether the 3G module will be locked to Vodafone in the shipping models.
Update: Dell told us that while our review unit shipped with a 3G modem, this would not be offered to Australian users at the time of launch, but it might be offered in the future.
Dell Vostro V130: Battery life
The sealed 6-cell battery inside the Vostro V130 lasted 2hr 7min in our rundown test, in which we disable power management, maximise brightness, enable Wi-Fi and loop an Xvid-encoded video. This is a few minutes better than what the 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo–based V13 recorded in the same test, but it's a little short of the 2hr 25min that the 13in Fujitsu LifeBook SH530 recorded, and much shorter than the 2hr 51min of the Samsung Q330-JS03AU.
Even with some drawbacks (the screen, warmth and battery life), the Vostro V130 is still a 13.3in business laptop to be reckoned with. Its slim profile, light weight and reasonably good performance make it a great tool to use while on the road. However, we wish it was easier to access its internal components, that it didn't get so warm and that the screen was better.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 3 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 4 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- HP Omen laptops include a first: Nvidia Max-Q graphics technology
- HP's Omen X Compact Desktop can morph into a backpack VR PC
- HP reboots Omen desktop with more of what gamers love
- HP's Omen Accelerator can give your laptop some guts
- Samsung to detail new Tizen OS for smart home appliances, IoT devices
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
- Ring Video Doorbell review
- Alcatel A3 XL phone: Full, in-depth review
- Sony X9300E 2017 TV: Full, in-depth review
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSenior Business Analyst - MAXIMO Asset ManagementOther
- TPSenior UX SpecialistVIC
- FTUnix/Linux Engineer | 6mth ContractOther
- FTSecurity Engineer - SIEMNSW
- CCJava Developer with Guidewire ExperienceQLD
- FTSenior Siebel Integrator/Developer - Canberra/MelbourneACT
- FTSiebel Design AnalystOther
- FTSales / Account ManagerOther
- FTICT Support OfficerNSW
- FTWeb Developer - VR 3D WebGL - Lake MacquarieNSW
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- FTSenior Business Analyst l GROUP LIFE INSURANCE l SydneyNSW
- FTJava Network DeveloperOther
- FTNetwork EngineerSA
- TPTechnical Business AnalystQLD
- FTHealthcare Integration Support/ Junior DBA - Brisbane BasedQLD
- FTUser Experience Specialist (UX)ACT
- FTDigital DesignerOther
- FTAnalyst ProgrammerOther
- FTVoice Solution Engineer - Telecommunications (cisco)Other
- FTPlatform/Technology Manager | Security & GovernanceOther
- FTLead Business Analyst, MortgagesOther
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTTest AnalystSA
- CCTechnical Delivery Lead - BillingVIC