Dell Vostro 3300 - Mind This Business

Launch SRP: S$1866

Power, Productivity and Panache

Power, Productivity and Panache

Business notebooks have come a long way since the stalwart days of the IBM ThinkPad. While manufactures still propose dependable features like a fortified physique, data protection and respectable specs, one thing has changed dramatically - the steep prices associated with the business class. Given the growing demand for affordable packages, laptop makers are now eying the ultraportable and entry-level space, slated right alongside the premium genre which offers more comprehensive features for those with deeper pockets. Most of all, essential hallmarks of a business notebook have been retained against a dieted price plan.

Aside from their exorbitant Adamo series, Dell's namesake has been associated with dependable yet affordable mobile platforms for years. Have they outdone themselves this time with the new Vostro 3300? Let's find out.

Speaking of which, that's exactly where Dell is headed with the slim Vostro 3300 series after the considerable success of their V13 offering. However, make no mistake into thinking the two suites are alike. Unlike the V13, the 13.3-inch Vostro 3300 makes a departure from low-voltage CPUs, which translates into more processing muscle for your daily tasks. Yes, Dell has harnessed the power of standard-voltage mobile Core i3 and i5 workhorses based on the Calpella platform for their latest Vostro candidate. Typical of the new Arrandale CPU family (Core i3/Core i5) based products, Dell is also offering a choice of integrated or discrete graphics, depending on which configuration suits you best. More on its performance levels when we place it through our series of benchmarks later.

For now, let's assess the Vostro's cosmetics first. Our review unit is suited up in a silver coat, one of the three colors Dell is dishing out aside from red or brown alternatives. Judging from it exterior, we'd have to say its aluminum shell is nondescript, compared to a brushed-metal finish as worn on HP's EliteBook. On the bright side, the Vostro 3300 is fashioned with a matt  texture instead of a tacky glossy coat. The materials used are mostly fingerprint-free and yet somber enough to mean business to your associates. On top of that, there are plenty of ports and slots to keep you happy, including a 5-in-1 card reader conveniently mounted in front. An LED battery indicator sits on its front lip, so there's no need to flip open its screen just to check out its charging status. This Vostro isn't wimp, thankfully, for build quality is robust with nice and firm hinges as part of its durable package. Compared to the V13, the Vostro 3300 has gained a DVD drive but lost a HDMI port in the process unfortunately. For now, do enjoy these photos of its bodily functions before we take a peek at what's underneath.

Don't let the Vostro 3300's unassuming looks throw you off. For what it's worth, this baby comes with a sweet and matt aluminum coat that's not afraid of your grimy fingers. Best of all, it also packs the new Core i5 processor within its durable shell.

 Keeping it simple and uncluttered, a VGA and two USB connectors can be found on its right flank, of which one is a combination of an eSATA and USB port.


There's slightly more action on the left panel of the Vostro. A power jack, USB port and LAN connector can be seen next to its DVD writer. It's a pity the Americans have dropped the HDMI port though.

Some manufacturers don't have the habit of placing switches or ports on the front lip. Dell, on the other hand, has placed a WiFi slider along with a multi-format card reader for easy access. As a nice afterthought, the battery's charging status can be easily read as well without having to open the notebook's lid.

Overall rating 9/10
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The Good
Robust build
Decent performance
Attractive price
The Bad
Lacks HDMI