Ports and Connectivity
Front: Power and battery charge LEDs, microphone and headphone jacks, card reader
The new Vostro 1510 offers a wide variety of connectivity options for just about any device a business user would require. This includes 4 USB ports, 2 on each side, a memory card reader, headphones + microphone pair, a firewire/IEEE1394 mini port, VGA output and a gigabit ethernet.
With more and more small and medium businesses switching to gigabit network speeds, Vostro 1510 gets the upgrade to match the demand. The network card is based around a popular PCI Express Realtek chipset, and in my tests, I was able to get close to 940 Mbit throughput. One common problem with older gigabit network chipset, specifically PCI versions, was very high CPU usage when one gets close to about half of gigabit bandwidth and above. I did not experience any issues with it on this Vostro unit, and the network speeds are a very welcome upgrade that a lot of users have been asking for.
This unit comes with the base Dell Wireless 1395 adapter. It’s a solid performer, and even though it’s limited to G speeds (up to 54Mbps theoretical), this is the most widely deployed standard in most businesses and public hot spots around the country. The optional Dell wireless Draft N and Intel Draft N adapters are also available, if you are looking into the future with wireless technology. The bundled wireless software supports standard security protocols, including WPA2 and LEAP authentication, as well as older WEP and WPA for backwards compatibility. One thing worth mentioning – is that Vostro 1510 no longer includes a WiFi detector mode on the wireless switch, found on Vostro 1500. This mode was meant to search for wireless signal, and provide a color-coded indication whether one was available without having to turn the laptop on, thus saving road warriors’ battery life. While pretty cool at first, it couldn’t really distinguish between an open and protected network, and I didn’t find myself using it much.
Unlike its older brother which had an S-Video and VGA ports, the 1510 provides a single external video output – a 15-pin VGA port. While the absence of an HDMI port is somewhat surprising, considering the integrated nVidia 8400 series video card, it makes it clear that Dell is positioning this laptop towards business users more so than entertainment. After all the majority of installed projectors in offices and conference rooms have a VGA input a lot more often than HDMI. In addition to that, more and more modern high definitions TV sets include a PC/VGA input, so this may be more of a minor nuisance than a real omission on Dell’s part.
As its predecessor, the 1510 has 4 USB ports, 2 on the right side of the laptop, and 2 on the left side.
The location of USB ports on 1500 was bad, especially for using them with bulky devices. One pair of ports was located very close to the network port, and another – very close to the power adapter. I use a (very bulky) Verizon Wireless USB card for getting to SlickDeals.net on the go. When I plugged it into either of the USB pairs, I would have to stay either without ethernet connection, or without AC power.
This problem doesn’t exist with the 1510, as the USB ports are positioned separately from all other devices. And even though it’s still a challenge to use 2 USB devices together, it’s a lot easier to get by with 2-3 available USB ports, than without power.
Memory card reader
Just about every laptop PC these days has some sort of a memory card reader. Both old and new Vostro models have one as well. The reader supports SD (including High Capacity) cards, Memory Stick (including Pro cards) and MultiMedia Cards (MMC). mini SD and micro SD cards are also supported, if you have a full-size SD adaptor for them.
The device is reasonably fast, I was able to read from a 4GB Sandisk Extreme III SDHC memory card at an average of about 15MB/second. Using a Sandisk-provided USB card reader, that speed went up to about 19MB/s.Previous Next
Vostro 1510 featured at $599!
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