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Jewish World Review
Oct. 31, 2008
/ 2 Mar-Cheshvan 5769
Dell Vostro A Good Business Laptop
For around $1,000 before the $50 discount offered online Dell Computer will
send you a Vostro 1310 notebook. It runs Microsoft Windows Vista, has a 160 Gigabyte
hard drive that's supposed to resist damage in a fall, a DVD-burning optical drive
and 2 Gigabytes of memory, though it's now shipping with 3 GB, I believe. It's nice
looking, but some would call it mundane or pedestrian. It's not a super-flashy
machine whose screen pivots, or is equipped with flashing lights around the edge,
nor does it sport reverse osmosis water cooling for the processor.
There's something to be said for mundane or pedestrian, however. Especially among
people who work in business, or in school, perhaps. You don't want something that's
too flashy. You want something that will stay operational.
The Vostro shows every sign of doing just that. It's a solidly built portable
computer. It doesn't way too much I could easily carry it around an office
setting and the 13.3-inch screen is large enough to open while seated in coach
on an airline flight. The keyboard is very solid, reminiscent of the ones IBM used
to put on their laptops, back when IBM made laptops. All around, it's a good looking
That's important, because Dell remains one of the dominant brands in business
computing. Companies everywhere have contracts with the firm, and legions of road
warriors (and even desk jockeys) use Dell notebooks every day. If I had a dollar for
every Dell notebook I saw daily ...
I was also impressed with the number and kinds of options Dell offered for the
Vostro at its Web site, www.dell,com. You can up the processor speed, hard disk
type, upgrade the operating system, go to 4 GB of RAM (something I'd recommend) and
get more battery options. All these cost money, of course, but the customization
aspect of online ordering from Dell is something that'll appeal to many people. This
isn't a Model T, after all, even if, as with that car, black is the "basic"
color (others are just $25 extra).
My demo unit came with Wi-Fi built in, although Bluetooth wasn't; it's a $20 option.
I'm guessing there's some "business" reason for this, that the bean counters in
corporate offices, or the minions in IT don't like seeing Bluetooth on all their
machines for some odd reason. Unless there's a security concern say you're the
Pentagon or the NSA I'd guess that not having Bluetooth will be more and more of
a liability than an asset. Spend the $20, Jenkins, and keep your users happy. Trust
Other than the MIA situation for Bluetooth, however, the Vostro 1310 is a solid
system, as I've said. While there doesn't seem to be a "downgrade" option to
Microsoft's Windows XP, a far less vexatious OS than Vista, I imagine that many
users can either make their peace with the newer system or grab a copy of XP
somewhere and restore greater sanity to their lives.
In testing the computer, I relied on OpenOffice.org's 3.0 release of its
productivity suite, and everything ran well. Ditto for Google Chrome, my
new-favorite Web browser for Windows machines. The computer didn't balk, it
performed its tasks well, and I could see myself traveling with and working with
this computer if the need arose.
And other than the Bluetooth conundrum, I found little to dislike here. The sound is
not stereo, but that's why there's headphones sold everywhere, I guess.
Nope, this isn't a flashy computer. It won't have people running up to you as you
walk down the street. But it'll help you get your work done, and at a reasonable
price. That's not bad at all, you know.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2008, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com
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