On Tuesday, Dell rolled out a new laptop aimed at mobile entrepreneurs, the 13.3-inch Vostro V13. With a starting price of $449, Dell is sending a combined message of value and innovation with the latest addition to its small-business line of Vostro laptops.
The Vostro V13 is less than an inch thick and weighs 3.5 pounds. The laptop is equipped with ultra-low-voltage (ULV) Intel processors, encased in brushed aluminum with reinforced zinc hinges for durability, and has a suite of features to make mobile entrepreneurs more productive.
"Ultrathin laptops with processors in the ULV class compare favorably with netbooks," said Roger Kay, principal at Endpoint Technologies Associates. "The value proposition for small-business travelers is simple: For slightly more money, you get all the portability you want but a lot better experience."
Mobility and Affordability
The V13 offers an integrated webcam and microphone so users can make Internet calls, conduct video conferences, and remotely exchange files. Users also have multiple wireless options, including 802.11g/n wireless, Bluetooth and WWAN mobile broadband.
The laptop runs Windows 7 and offers 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM memory and data-encrypted hard drives. Dell is also offering entrepreneurs remote on-call support through DellConnect or Dell ProSupport to troubleshoot IT issues that road warriors may face.
"Not long ago, business travelers like me had to choose mobility and affordability at the expense of performance. That's no longer the case with the V13," said Sam Burd, global vice president of Dell Small and Medium Business. "This 13-inch small business laptop is in a category all its own, as entrepreneurs now have quality performance, battery life, and security combined with a thin and lightweight design sturdy enough for today's business."
Dell's Place in the Markets
According to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, the PC market has been roiled during the past 18 months by a pair of continuing trends: Apple's ability to succeed in multiple markets despite the worst economic downturn in a generation and the public's apparently insatiable desire for low-cost/low-performance netbooks.
As King sees it, the Vostro 13 is the latest example of Dell's design renaissance, which began with the redesign of the Latitude family earlier this year. Once excoriated for clunky utilitarianism, he said, Dell's Latitude models have become slimmer, shinier and more colorful. The new Dell Latitude Z and Adamo laptops, he added, are as slender and snazzy as anything in Apple's stable, proving the company is perfectly comfortable playing at the high end of the market.
"The new Vostro V13 demonstrates that Dell is taking that same 'no prisoners' attitude down market to small businesses, and by doing so seems ready and willing to challenge HP's traditional leadership position," King said. "While the V13's lightweight yet sturdy features and performance specs make it an excellent choice for business travelers, its eye-catching design shows that the company can successfully deliver stylish yet substantial business laptops at price points that press the netbook envelope."
Most importantly, King said, the Vostro V13 demonstrates that Dell understands the sometimes-conflicting needs of mobile small-business owners and employees who need to be careful with their budgets but don't want to be saddled with laptops that look and work as if they were rescued from a bargain bin.