Review of Dell Vostro 1400 laptop
Review of Dell Vostro 1400 laptop
Introduction And overview
The Dell Vostro 1400 is a 14.1” widescreen offering in the Dell Small Business lineup of laptops. The Vostro 1400 is very affordable, but at the same time a very good quality notebook. You don’t pay much, but you get a lot with this plain looking but high utility notebook.
The Vostro 1400 is considered a portable size laptop, slightly smaller than the mainstream 15.4” screen you get with the Vostro 1500. The 14.1” screen is big enough for comfortable viewing, yet the overall laptop size is small enough that it’s quite easy to carry
The Vostro 1400 is in fact very much similar to the consumer line Inspiron 1420 notebook. The main difference is that the Inspiron 1420 has a brushed paint finish available in 8-different colors. The added benefit with the Vostro 1400 is you’ll get 30-days satisfaction guarantee for returning the laptop, no questions asked and no restocking fee. With the Inspiron line it’s a 15% of the initial cost of the laptop restocking fee.
Specs of Vostro 1400 under review:
* Intel Core 2 Duo T5470 1.60GHz processor
* 14.1 inch Wide Screen XGA
* 1GB 667MHz RAM
* Intel Integrated Graphics X3100
* 80GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
* Windows Vista Basic
* 24X Combo CD-RW/DVD optical drive
* Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Mini Card
* 56WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion battery
* 1-year warranty
I’m very impressed by the overall build quality of the Vostro 1400. It’s just very solid. The entire case is made of a magnesium alloy that does not flex anywhere. Pushing in on either the lid or the main chassis presents no give. The downside to Dell using such a solid material is that the notebook is heavy for its size.
Worth mentioning is the fact the Vostro 1400 keyboard is sealed to protect from liquid spills and the hard drive is shock mounted to protect it should the laptop be dropped.
The keys on the Vostro 1400 keyboard are well placed, I have no complaints there. The feel of the keys is nice too, they have a bit of a grip to them. The travel is a bit shallow and light touch typists will prefer this keyboard over those that like to pound on a keyboard and get a ton of travel with a key. There's no sag to the keyboard anywhere, it's very firm. The keyboard is also sealed to prevent any liquid from going into the notebook.
The touchpad works fine, it has horizontal and vertical scroll areas and the mouse buttons are quite nice. It would be nice if there were an on/off switch for the touchpad.
vicinity. It can also be used to turn wireless on/off.
Dell offers up to WXGA+ (1440 x 900) resolution on the Vostro 1400, it's nice to have extra viewing real estate but not have resolution so high that you can't read text. Your options for the screen include a WXGA glossy, WXGA non-glossy or WXGA+ glossy screens.
The screen is very bright, I'm very pleased with that factor. Unfortunately, just like with some of the Inspiron notebooks, there's a bit of graininess on this screen if you stare hard enough -- it's more noticeable on a white background screen. I used Astra32 to detect who the maker of the screen was and it appears it's made by AU Optronics.
With the glossy screen colors are bright and bold, but you will get reflection from strong lighting. Viewing angles are so-so, about average among other notebooks.
The speakers for the Vostro 1400 are located above the keyboard. I was quite amazed by the loudness and quality of these speakers, I watched a movie using the Vostro 1400 and was stunned by how loud it got, it was completely audible from across my apartment and the quality was good -- not at all tinny. A big plus in this area for the Vostro 1400!
As usual with Dell notebooks, the Vostro 1400 can be configured until your hearts delight. That said, this is an Intel based notebook so a selection of Core 2 Duo processors is your only choice. That’s good news though since this is the top mobile processor family on the market. If you’re just going to be using this notebook for business tasks then a low to mid-range Core 2 Duo like the T5470 1.60GHz will be fine. If you know your needs are a bit more demanding, then you can pay more for a faster Core 2 Duo such as the Intel T7700 2.40 GHz processor – be aware you always pay a bit of a premium just for having the fastest processor, even if the speed gain isn’t really that much.
The Vostro 1400 stays mostly cool, the left touchpad does get slightly warm when the notebook is being pushed hard, but the right palmrest stays cool. The bottom of the notebook also warms up a bit, but nothing drastic by any means. Under normal usage processor temperatures seemed to remain around 50C and never went past 65C during any benchmarking tests. Heat will not be an issue with this notebook for the average user.
The 6-cell battery gave me about 2.5 hours of battery life while it was mostly idling but with wireless on and the screen at about medium brightness. My guess is you could maybe stretch the 6-cell battery to 3 hours. More realistically you'll get about 2 hours of battery life under normal usage. Not bad overall, but definitely not the best.
The Vostro 1400 is definitely a great notebook for the price. I got mine for around $600 after using a coupon, which is an insane deal. The build quality is quite excellent and the though the look is kind of bland, it's not horrible. Some people might even prefer the all black look over the more flashy Dell Inspiron color options. Another really nice thing about the Vostro 1400 is the fact that you get a 30-day return policy, no questions asked by Dell, if you decide it's not what you want.
Though the configuration Vostro 1400 I got was fairly budget and on the low end, the performance can be really amazing if you get a high-end processor and Nvidia 8400m graphics card. Options for built-in Verizon EVDO is certainly nice to have for those that want to be connected while on the road too. The only problem with being on the road with this laptop is that, for a 14.1" laptop it's kind of heavy and chunky, so it's not the easiest thing in the world to lug around.