When Dell launched the Vostro line of SMB computers two years ago, it basically took its existing consumer laptops and desktops, which were cheaper than the enterprise models, stripped out all the trialware and other unwanted software and released them under a new name.
Now in generation two, the Vostro (Italian for "your," as in, it's yours) line is getting a little individualism. The new Vostro V13 line introduced today has the stylishness of Dell's (NASDAQ: DELL) pricey Adamo line with other features and extras that small and mid-sized businesses will appreciate.
This is the first ultra-low voltage processor for the SMB market, according to Alison Gardner, senior product manager in Vostro marketing. "A lot of our focus was on industrial design from the start, to get as thin and light as possible," she said at a briefing in San Francisco prior to the launch.
The Vostro is just 0.65 inches thick but comes with some rugged elements to it, like the high-quality brushed aluminum with reinforced zinc hinges and magnesium-alloy case. The six-cell battery is not removable, like in most laptops, but that allowed Dell to put in a solid, one-piece bottom, making it less prone to cracking.
It also has a spill-resistant keyboard and a free-fall sensor, so if it's dropped, it senses the fall and parks the hard drive to prevent damage or data corruption. There will also be a new version of Dell's Datasafe Online backup system to protect customer data.
A non-removable battery might give some customers pause; it certainly has been an issue of concern for MacBook owners with the recent designs. But as part of its SMB support, which runs one year from the time of purchase, Dell will send a technician to the customer to do a battery swap if needed, Gardner said.
At 3.5 pounds, the V13 packs quite a bit into its skinny frame. It offers a 13.3-inch, 1366x768, anti-glare screen, Intel integrated graphics, 2GB of RAM, 250GB or 320GB hard drives, Bluetooth, 802.11g/n Wi-Fi and a built-in Webcam and microphone. There are three choices of CPU: a 1.3GHz Celeron M or two ultra-low voltage Core 2 Duo processors.
The Vostro starts at $449 with the Celeron processor and Ubuntu Linux. The Core 2 Duo versions come with Windows 7 and start at $699. All are available now from Dell.