Today, Dell introduced an update to its mainstream business line, the affordable Vostro brand of business notebooks. The new laptops start at just $599 and promise to bring affordable Ivy Bridge processors to the small business segment of the market.
To be fair, the new Vostro line isn't the sleekest set of new laptops we've ever seen, but they're really not too bad, either. Looking at the side, the notebooks look awfully thick for a machine made in 2012, but it's deceiving. The port selection and venting make them appear much thicker than they are, which is a shame. This is especially true of the new Vostro 3360, which is quite slim for a entry-priced business notebook.
Speaking of ports, there's certainly no dearth. Multiple USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and VGA out, SD card slots, analog audio jacks - well, you get the idea.
Like other recent Dell business models, the Vostro 3360, 3460, and 3560 utilize a Chiclet- or island-style keyboard. Said keyboard's quality is reasonably impressive: there wasn't too much flex, which is nice to see in such an affordable model.
Above the screen is a built-in HD webcam as well as microphone array - Dell wants these laptops to be used for video conferencing and calls; there's an increasingly large market for equipment used for telepresence solutions.
The hinges on the new Vostro are impressively robust - they fit well into Dell's recent design themes of setting the screen further up from the rear of the notebook. A chromed plastic strip surrounds the keyboard and matches both the hinges and the silvery underside of the notebook. This chrome is probably the only negative that I talked to Dell about - compared to the rest of the laptop, the chrome feels and looks a little cheap. It's unfortunate, really, because the rest of the notebook feels surprisingly nice.
New Vostro 3000 Series Specifications:
The Vostro 3560 is available from Dell.com right now, starting at $599. The 14-inch Vostro 3460 starts at the same $599 while the sleeker, smaller 3360 starts at $649; both of these will be available from Dell.com starting on June 21st.