Dell updates laptops, drives a bargain

Dell’s Vostro series is known for providing excellent value for enterprise, but given the latest upgrades we think the revamped line-up is going to attract more than just small business.

Updated overnight, the new Vostro 3300, 3400, 3500 and 3700 laptops how have faster processors and better video cards. The upgrades shift the Vostro line-up from Intel’s Core 2 Duo processors to the newer Intel Core i5 chips, providing more speed and better battery life. The video has taken a jump too, with most laptops trading up from an Intel integrated graphics chip to an Nvidia Geforce 310 with 512MB graphics. Dell’s new 17 inch Vostro not only benefits from a larger screen, but also a graphics boost in the form of a Geforce GT330 with 1GB memory.

Speaking of screens, in Dell’s naming scheme the second number in the model name indicates the screen size. These means there are now options for 13 inches (3300), 14 inches (3400), 15.6 inches (3500) and 17.3 inches (3700).

And considering these models have just been updated, it’s surprising they’re so inexpensive. The 15 inch starts at $999, which is great value, especially given that decent spec’d computers are harder to find. And given the lack of 13 inch competitors to the Apple MacBook, Dell’s offering in this space stands as a great alternative for students.

In addition, unlike netbooks that almost always lack an optical drive, Dell’s Vostro computers don’t want for DVD playback with an 8X DVD+-RW included. We’re also seeing that a four-cell battery comes standard, but users looking to get the most power out of their laptop might want to upgrade to the eight-cell for better life.