Screen and Speakers
The Dell Vostro V131 has a 13.3-inch anti-glare (matte) 720p display (1366×768 resolution); higher resolutions are not available. While measuring it for its contrast, the peak luminance was 195 nits in the very center. Its backlighting is somewhat off; it’s about 20 nits brighter in the center than in the bottom-right corner of the screen. The contrast rating ended up being a very low 126:1. The overall color of the display will appear very washed out.
Horizontal viewing angles are not good, and vertical viewing angles are no better than average. Images begin to invert after about 5 degrees off-center when tilted forward or backward and about 15 degrees off-center when the notebook is moved from the left or to the right. Honestly, the only thing we really like about the display is that it’s matte; we believe non-reflective surfaces are required for business notebooks because most offices are brightly-lighted and glossy notebooks reflect that brightness easily.
The notebook has Conexant HD audio and two speakers, each located on the front of the notebook below each palmrest. The audio is surprisingly good for a business notebook. The notebook reaches very high levels and sounds good at medium levels as well; no distortion when turned up to 100 percent. We do have two complaints, though: the bass is almost non-existent (no subwoofer), and the speakers’ locations are not conducive to sound traveling up and out the way it should. If you have it on your lap the audio would get muffled. Still, we’re pleased with the audio, especially for it being a business notebook.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard is full-sized and has an attractive blue backlighting. The keys are flat and rounded off at the corners and feel smooth and soft to the touch while providing a comfortable typing experience. The keyboard also barely makes any noise while being used. At first, key travel seemed off because this notebook has a little more space between the keys than usual, but once you get the feel of it, the slight awkward feeling while typing goes away. We found the backlighting to be more than sufficient to use in order to see the keyboard better in a dark room or area.
This Synaptics Dell touchpad is everything a touchpad should be. It has a smooth surface that works very well even with moisture on the fingers, and is big enough that even people with large hands should have enough room to use it comfortably. It has two separate left and right mouse buttons instead of the integrated button design some manufacturers have adopted, as well as multi-gesture support.