Dell Vostro V131
Most companies strive to create distinctions between their small-business and consumer laptop lines, sometimes to the point of creating whole new designs that aren't available otherwise. Usually, they're nothing to write home about, but every once in a while one emerges that merits attention from even "regular" consumers.
The Dell Vostro V series has been that way for us for well over a year now. The last model we reviewed, the slim Vostro V130, looked like it might be the perfect slim 13-inch laptop, hiding in the form of a small business computer...except that it had a battery life that was far too short, and a low-voltage processor that wasn't fast, either. It was well-designed, however, solidly built, and surprisingly affordable.
The new Dell Vostro V131 addresses and fixes both problems. A second-gen standard-voltage Core i-series processor improves performance, and the included six-cell battery in our Vostro V131 was a great leap forward over the four-cell in the last version. Even better, it keeps a similar price to its predecessor, starting at $499.
Granted, $499 as a starting price for the Vostro V131 doesn't land you a Core i-series CPU; instead, you get a 1.1GHz Intel Celeron ULV 847 processor, which we'd recommend avoiding at all costs. Most people (us included) would choose the $599 model instead, which bumps up to a more reasonable second-gen Intel Core i3-2310M CPU. Our $799 version has a Core i5-2410M processor.
In the field of thin 13-inch laptops, it's hard to find good ones for less than $700. For $599, this slim 13-incher could be a perfect solution for some. At higher prices, it's likely that you'll find equally good options elsewhere.
Read the full review of the Dell Vostro V131.