Just sharing some of my inconsequential lunch conversations with you... RSS  

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Trying out Dell Vostro 1510

We are testing the next generation of laptops for our company.

We have been using Dell Latitude D820 and D830 for some time, but this line has been refreshed and we are trying out other options.

I’ve just tried the cheaper Vostro line. Dell has the following lines:

  • the Precision series: hi-end;
  • the Latitude: mid-range business class, focused on reliability, durability and subtlety;
  • Inspirons: consumer-oriented with more powerful media-centric features;
  • Vostro: economy-class;

And here it is, my first impression of the Vostro 1510 after the first day. Let’s start with the configuration I received:

  • 15.4’’ XGA
  • T8300
  • 2GB
  • 160GB 7200 RPM (a must!)
  • Intel GMA X3100 (oops…)
  • 9-cell battery (uau…)

Build and design

What the D830 had in metal, the Vostro has in plastic. For better and for worse. For better on respect to weight (and using them over naked legs, cold metal can be hard :) , for worse on how long can your laptop survive.

The glossy lid if cool, but couldn’t resist 10 minutes until it was fingerprinted like there is no tomorrow. I can only imagine how it will be one year from now, probably full of scratches.

The good news comes when you open the lid: the experience you get over the keyboard is fine, and all the plastics work fine here.


The 15.4’’ XGA display is slightly better than the one I have on  my D830. But this was D830’s  Aquille’s heel.

Ports and devices

D830 was a pain in the back of the laptop, it only had 3 USB. Now we have 4, as expected. <update>Unfortunately they are not conveniently placed – they are too close to us… </update>

DVD is slot-loading – this is cool!

Only a touch pad for mouse input. Oh, well, most people hate the other one on the keyboard, so why complain?…


I received a 9-cell battery. Battery life was a strong-hold of the D830 with a 6-cell battery, but the autonomy is great! I’m getting closer to 7H of autonomy, just incredible!

This comes with a price: a small hatchback on the back of the Vostro, which tends to unbalance the laptop when placed on most stands. Vosto is actually not very stand-friendly, has it holds the memory card reader, audio and mic sockets on the front panel…

Software support

No 64 bit support announced yet. This and the 4GB memory limit is something that makes me very unconfortable…


Performance was something of a surprise. Not that I had any doubt about the mid-range T8300, particularly when  helped by a 7200 RPM disk. What I was surprised to observe was the responsiveness of the Intel GMA X3100, even with Aero on and packed with heavy effects. The only thing I’ve reaaly missed was more graphics memory – when I plugged an external display I couldn’t get more that 1240x800, I am assuming this was memory related, though I didn’t yet tried to allocate more shared memory.


Though not very impressed with the Vostro specs, this configuration ended up better then the lower expectations I had. With some minor changes, it can be a fair desktop replacement for a not very demanding software developer. Though the D830 will be missed, and a Latitude E5500 is more what we’re used to.

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