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Dell Vostro 3400

Jayesh Shinde 2010-08-27
82 Very Good
Price: Rs 35,250

Full Review

The Dell Vostro 3400 is a 14-inch business laptop with an Intel Core i3-350M processor and stylish, all-metal exterior. It offers mainstream laptop performance in an attractive shell, making a strong case for an office or SMB laptop.

Looks & Design
The Dell Vostro 3400 is a larger 14-inch sibling of the 13-inch Vostro 3300 business laptop. The Dell Vostro 3400 has a fine aluminum finish on its screen lid and along its side edge, and the laptop’s surface feels rich and premium on touch. The HP ProBook 4520s is a smart and stylish business laptop, so is the Lenovo Thinkpad Edge but the Vostro 3400 feels and looks even better than both. If you don’t like the Vostro 3400’s silver screen lid, you can customize it to a metallic red or bronze color.

The Dell Vostro 3400 also comes with a 3G-ready SIM card slot for WWAN support.


The Vostro 3400 business laptop is very well built and weighs 2.2-kg with a six-cell battery -- just the right weight for a 14-inch business laptop, and easy to carry around. The laptop, however, lacks the extended spine design element of the Dell Vostro V13.

Usability
The Dell Vostro 3400 business laptop has a 14-inch LED-backlit widescreen display with 1366x768 pixel resolution. Tailored to the laptop’s business audience, the Vostro 3400 rightly chooses a non-reflective, matte screen surface which is ideal for reading text -- not too great compared to visual cinematic experience of glossy screens from Dell’s consumer Inspiron or Studio laptop line. The Vostro 3400’s screen has decent viewing angles and its 1.3-MP webcam is very good for videochats.

No complaints with the laptop’s keyboard -- the Dell Vostro 3400 has closely-packed, springy keys that are great to type on. The keyboard layout is similar to the Vostro 3300 and Vostro V13 laptops, and different to the isolated, chiclet-styled keyboard sported by the HP ProBook 4520s. The HP business laptop manages to squeeze in a number pad on its 15-inch keyboard, something the 14-inch Dell Vostro 3400 doesn’t offer. The Vostro 3400’s touchpad is quite responsive and its two mouse buttons are nice to work with. The laptop has a convenient row of touch-sensitive multimedia buttons above the keyboard, pretty unique for a business laptop. It also has a Wi-Fi on-off toggle switch at its front edge.

Hardware Specs & Features
The Dell Vostro 3400 has a decent hardware configuration for an entry-level business laptop. It’s equipped with an Intel Core i3-350M 2.26-GHz processor, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 250GB (7200rpm) hard drive, and onboard Intel GMA HD graphics. Dell allows you to customize and upgrade the laptop’s RAM, hard drive capacity, and opt for discrete Nvidia GeForce 300M series graphics, should you feel the need. But the Vostro 3400’s base configuration should suffice if you’re looking for a regular office or business laptop.

The Vostro 3400 has an in-built tray-loading 8x DVD writer drive. In terms of connectivity options, the Dell Vostro 3400 business laptop offers four USB ports, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, multicard reader, ExpressCard slot, headphone and microphone jacks around its chassis. The laptop also supports high-speed eSATA and HDMI connectivity ports -- can’t say that with a lot of business laptops. Wireless connectivity standards like Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1 are also featured on the Dell Vostro 3400. The laptop also comes with a 3G-ready SIM card slot for WWAN support. If anything, the Dell Vostro lacks a fingerprint reader -- disappointing omission -- but that’s about it.

Nothing much in terms of business software on the Vostro 3400, apart from a useful Dell Backup and Recovery Manager tool -- it also lets you create recovery discs and other bootable media. The laptop comes with 32-bit Windows 7 Home Basic operating system.

Performance
The Dell Vostro 3400 performs well for a business laptop. With a WorldBench 6 score of 95, the Vostro 3400 scores just shy off some of our Top 5 Mainstream Laptops. The Vostro 3400 performs well compared to the HP ProBook 4520s but not as good as the Vostro 3300 which had superior hardware. Rest assured, working with office productivity suites, accounting tools, and surfing the Web simultaneously won’t be a problem for the Dell Vostro 3400.

In fact, you can even watch a 720p or 1080p HD movie on the Vostro 3400’s native resolution, should you need to take a break from work -- the laptop plays HD files smoothly. However, the laptop’s onboard audio isn’t the best among laptops -- the speakers are tiny slits situated at the top of the keyboard. They’re loud but not the clearest; we recommend headphones or external speakers (for office presentations).

The Dell Vostro 3400’s six-cell battery lasted 1 hour 31 minutes through our battery tests -- at full screen brightness and high performance mode. Easily expect over 3 hours of browsing the Web over Wi-Fi on a conservative battery plan before recharging the Vostro 3400’s battery -- this is pretty good for a 14-inch business laptop.

Bottom Line

The Dell Vostro 3400 business laptop sells for a price of Rs. 35,250. For that price, you certainly get a stylish, premium-looking 14-inch business laptop with very good performance and feature set. You also have the choice of customizing the laptop to your taste on Dell’s website -- music to the ears of SMB orders or individual purchase, no doubt.

If you want a slightly more compact, ultraportable business laptop, look for the Dell Vostro 3300. And if you want a 15-inch business laptop below Rs. 50,000, consider the HP ProBook 4520s. The Dell Vostro 3400 sits right in between and makes very good sense for a stylish 14-inch business or office laptop.

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