Dell Vostro 3350 review

Previous Dell Vostro business laptops have been Jacks of all Trades; Tom Morgan looks at the new Vostro 3350 to see if it is now a master of everything combining features and performance with battery life and portability.

Beyond the internal DVD re-writer, there are two USB3 ports and a single shared eSATA/USB2 port which are all useful, but without an ExpressCard slot or docking station port there's little room for further expansion. The multi-format card reader is within easy reach in the front lip of the main chassis, opposite the power, hard disk activity and WiFi status LEDS which are visible even when the laptop lid is closed.

The BIOS provides administrators with the ability to disable all of the connectivity ports and DVD re-writer should they choose.

Dell knows their business customers well, so it comes as no surprise that the Vostro 3350 includes a decent array of security features. The fingerprint reader below the keyboard tray recognised our prints after just a few swipes, which is testament to how much the technology has improved from when it first appeared. The BIOS provides administrators with the ability to disable all of the connectivity ports and DVD re-writer should they choose.

There's not a huge amount of pre-installed software, but Dell's own backup suite helps create disk images for quick system restores. The basic one year next business day warranty that's included in the price is the minimum we would expect, but it can be upgraded to a three-year plan for a further 50. If you need an on-site service, 80 will buy three years' worth of coverage.

We could find very few faults with the Vostro 3350; it performs well, the screen quality is above average and battery life is excellent. It's incredibly versatile if you customise its specification using Dell's website, making it suitable for much more than general office tasks should you require it. It might not be as svelte or powerful as Apple's 13in MacBook Pro, but it's definitely a close contender.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

Frequent travellers looking for a portable laptop that doesn’t sacrifice an optical drive for mobility will appreciate the Vostro 3350; it combines superb battery life, fast performance and excellent styling into a compact package at a reasonable price.

SPECIFICATIONS Processor: Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz Memory: 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM Graphics: Intel HD Graphics Hard disk: 320GB Display: 13.3in 1,366x768 pixel, LED-backlit screen Features: two megapixel webcam, microphone, stereo speaker Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Ports: 2 x USB3, 1x eSATA (shared with USB2), 1 x 8-in-one card reader, 1 x HDMI, 1 x VGA, 1x 3.5mm headphone output, 1x 3.5mm microphone input Dimensions: 329x229x30mm (WxDxH) Weight: 2.04kg Warranty: 1 year next business day warranty OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit BENCHMARK RESULTS Image editing 77 Video encoding 51 Multiple apps 49 Overall 54 Light usage battery life – 11h 26m POWER CONSUMPTION Sleep 1W Idle 8W Active 43W

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