Basic. Dell now has a 15.6 inch laptop made for corporate use called Vostro 1540 available. The device is not up-to-date with an Intel Core i3-370M processor. It's supposed to be a simple typewriter for smart savers. The price starts at 369 euros plus VAT and shipping.
Communication isn't a problem with the Vostro 1540. It supports Bluetooth 3.0 +HS in addition to Gigabit Ethernet and WLAN standard 802.11 b/g/n. Except for an integrated 3G UMTS module, which would go beyond the price range, everything that complies with state-of-the-art is installed. A UMTS dongle with a prepaid SIM card would be a low-priced alternative to a built-in module.
The scope of delivery isn't very extensive ex-factory. Apart from the laptop, there is a 65 watt power adapter (cord length: 175 + 80 cm / 68.9" + 31.5"), the 6 cell battery, a bit of documentation and a recovery as well as two software DVDs. Thus, there aren't any extras included and they would have to be bought additionally. In comparison to a genuine B2C device (end customer), this step is logical for a corporate device. In return, the preinstalled software bundle is a lot bulkier, but the motto "quality and not quantity" should be focused on here. Besides Office 2010 Starter and Adobe Reader X, the usual trial versions as well as an anti-virus program trial version is installed. A clean Windows installation would likely not only have pleased us.
The warranty period also varies according to the retailer for this business device. A 12 month warranty with service for the next business day is offered directly by Dell ex-factory. An extension of up to 36 months is available, but it is important to note that the right of return for this B2B offer is not applicable. Other online stores sell the notebook with the standard 24 month warranty including return policy.
The Vostro 1540 has good prerequisites for outdoor use due to an acceptable screen brightness and matt surface. However, the weak contrast ratio proves to be a stumbling block in the practical test. Working is still easily possible indoors or in a shady place. On the other hand, the image fades in direct sunlight or light incidence and you'll have to look for another position. Overall, the screen scores considerably better than most glare-type screens found in this price range, though.
The viewing angle stability is on the standard of a low-cost TN screen. Horizontal viewing remains stable up into narrow angles of around 150 degrees. But only a slight vertical deviation of about 10 degrees is enough to cause the reference picture to invert or over-illuminate. In addition, we noticed a fairly quick brightness decrease in both directions of motion negatively.
The Intel Core i3-370M achieves 7536 points in Cinebench R10's (64 bit) multi-thread processing and is on a par with the newer Intel Core i3-2310M. The Acer Aspire 3750 or the Sony Vaio VPC-EH1M1E/W is for example in its immediate vicinity. Overall, it shows a good computing performance, whereby efficiency also plays a role. But more about that in the course of this review.
The processor-incorporated Intel GMA HD Graphics finds its limits in the synthetic gaming benchmarks. The notebook moves in the lower third of our database with a result of 1559 points in 3DMark 06. Current Sandy Bridge notebooks with the advanced Intel GMA HD 3000 Graphics score twice as well on average. Lenovo's ThinkPad Edge E320 manages 3098 points and therefore bids a performance advantage of 199%. Both solutions aren't suitable for gamers. However, in particular multimedia applications are possible with the faster GPU.
The cross-component system benchmarks, PCMark Vantage and PCMark 7, confirm the lower midfield performance image that lacks performance reserves. Nevertheless, the given performance is more than sufficient for simple office applications.
The built-in case fan, the memory medium and the DVD drive are potential noise makers in the Vostro 1540. The noise level is consistent with 30.5 dB (A) in idle mode, whereby the fan is inactive. Merely the hard disk is noticed in this scenario with 31.2 dB (A). Basically, a satisfying result as you would expect in an office notebook. The device attracts attention during load and when the DVD drive is used. It is very audible with a maximum of 39.1 dB (A). The fan's fairly rapid decrease in speed after finished work is positive.
|Idle|| 30.5 / 30.5 / 30.5 dB |
|HDD|| 31.2 dB |
|DVD|| 35.7 / dB |
|Load|| 32.5 / 39.1 dB |
|30 dB |
|40 dB |
|50 dB |
min: , med: , max: Voltcraft SL-320 (15 cm distance)
The temperature development on the case's outsides is acceptable for this configuration. The case remains within a pleasant range with a maximum of 30.7°C in office mode. Subjectively, these rates are perceived as lukewarm. Of course, the components' temperatures increase during load. We measured the peak rate of 38.5°C on the bottom, in the fan's area. This fact could get unpleasant during longer use on the lap. The inside, around the keyboard, only heats up marginally compared to idle mode. Criticism would be inappropriate here.
|Maximum: 35.1 °C |
Average: 26.9 °C
|Maximum: 38.5 °C |
Average: 29.2 °C
Two stereo speakers for audio playback are located beside the display hinges. They supply a weak and unilateral sound. The trebles are reproduced well and the maximum volume is sufficient. There are no low pitches and basses, though. But this is basically not a drawback for an office laptop because external solutions can be used via the HDMI out or the 3.5mm stereo jack.
|Off / Standby||0.2 / 0.3 Watt|
|Idle|| 9.0 / 13.3 / 17.2 Watt
|Load|| 34.1 / 51.6 Watt
Key: min: , med: , max: Voltcraft VC-940
The battery life, in combination with the included 6 cell battery, suffers under the consumption rates. Overall, it results in a weak range between 4 hours and 40 minutes in idle mode (BatteryEater's Reader's test) and 82 minutes during load and maximum screen brightness (Classic test). The assessment "Surfing via WLAN" represents a realistic average. But the resulting battery life of 3 hours and 27 minutes isn't really satisfying, either. The HP ProBook 4530s, with newer Intel hardware, reaches a battery life of about 8 hours, whereas there are configurations that manage up to 10 hours.
|Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)||4h 40min|| |
|Surfing with WLAN||3h 27min|| |
|DVD||2h 51min|| |
|Load (maximum brightness)||1h 22min|| |
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