Dell Vostro 3360 review

£599
Price when reviewed

It’s rare for a business laptop to set the pulse racing, but Dell’s latest addition to its Vostro range, the Vostro 3360, is a little bit special. This compact 13.3in laptop crams an Ivy Bridge processor into a sleek, brushed metal chassis and rounds it off with an unusually sensible price tag. If you’ve been fighting the temptation to sneak an Ultrabook through on expenses, this business-friendly lookalike could be just the ticket.

Measuring 21mm thick and weighing in at 1.63kg, the Vostro 3360 is just a mite too chunky to make the official Ultrabook grade. It’s still portable, though, and rather lovely to look at. The slim silver and grey chassis looks smart and understated, and the metal lid and base make for a laptop that feels far pricier than you’d expect for £599.

Dell Vostro 3360 from the front

Dell has taken full advantage of the Vostro 3360’s slightly chunkier body by including plenty of ports and sockets. There are three USB 3 ports, D-SUB and full-sized HDMI outputs, Gigabit Ethernet and an SD/MMC card reader. Flip the Vostro 3360 upside down, and you only need remove a single screw to gain access to the two sticks of RAM, the Wi-Fi chipset, BIOS battery and an empty mini-PCI Express/mSATA slot. The only thing lacking is an optical drive.

Despite the lean physique, the Vostro 3360 is no slouch. With one of Intel’s low-voltage Ivy Bridge processors at the helm, not to mention 6GB of RAM and a 7,200rpm 320GB hard disk, it has a healthy performance kick. The processor in question is a 1.7GHz Core i5, capable of boosting up to a heady 2.6GHz, and this helped the Dell return an overall score of 0.65 in our Real World Benchmarks – highly respectable for a 1.63kg laptop.

With no dedicated graphics to sap the Vostro’s stamina, it lastS. The battery is sealed away inside the Vostro’s chassis, so requires dismantling to replace, but in our light-use battery test, it survived for 6hrs 54mins. That’s some way short of the best Ultrabooks, but it’s ample for most purposes.

Dell Vostro 3360 from rear

There are disappointments, however. The 13.3in display is the first, with a bog-standard resolution of 1,366 x 768 and a TN panel that delivers average image quality. Colours appear muted, vertical viewing angles are narrow and brightness reaches a mediocre 201cd/m2. Contrast isn’t a forte either, with a measured contrast ratio of 214:1 producing blacks as a dull grey. It’s perfectly usable for business duties, but those after a top-notch display will need to look elsewhere.

The Vostro’s ergonomics are equally middling. The Scrabble-tile keys have a nice light spring to each stroke, and there aren’t any unduly shrunken keys to worry about. Carry on typing, however, and the right-hand side of the keyboard bounces noticeably with each keypress, giving the keyboard a rather spongy quality. The touchpad works well, but we can’t help wishing it was a little larger.

Yet, despite its average ergonomics and display, the Vostro 3360 is a solid all-rounder. Good performance is married with reasonable reserves of stamina, and the asking price is low for a laptop of this specification. Small businesses, students and just about anyone seeking an inexpensive ultraportable would do well to put the Dell Vostro 3360 on their shortlist.

Warranty

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions332 x 233 x 21mm (WDH)
Weight1.630kg
Travelling weight2.0kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-3317U
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM77
RAM capacity6.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetIntel HD Graphics 4000
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity320GB
Hard disk usable capacity298GB
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/600
Hard diskSeagate ST320LT007
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical drivenone
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks1
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetCirrus Logic HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating1.0mp
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 54min
Overall Real World Benchmark score0.65
Responsiveness score0.78
Media score0.67
Multitasking score0.51

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Professional 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition

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