Multimedia and Entertainment
While the whole Vostro series is not targeted at the audience that is looking for an entertainment laptop, it hardly lacks anything in that regard. There is a slot loading DVD burner, bright screen, headphone jack, and a set of touch-sensitive LED-backlit media control buttons right above the keyboard. Even DVD playback software (CyberLink PowerDVD DX is preinstalled on the system- so much for no entertainment value.
One of the reasons the keyboard has been redesigned and shrunk is the addition of speakers to the left and right of the keyboard. The original Vostro 1500 speakers were on the front of the laptop, and weren’t anything special. Unfortunately, the reduction in keyboard size hasn’t changed much either – speakers still lack bass and treble, and when volume is raised too high (close to 85-90%), there is additional noise mixed in. They are better than what the original had, no doubt, but let’s face it, good speakers and laptop only meet when they are separate. Headphone jack on the other hand provides good sound, so make sure you pick up a good set of headphones. I tried it with Sennheiser CX300B and Creative Aurvana DJ, from the recent deals, and both work much better than speakers.
Originally found only on the XPS line, the media controls are now touch sensitive, LED-backlit buttons. I definitely like the new approach for 2 reasons – the old location in the front of the laptop was a little too easy to push while moving the laptop, and the keys were narrow and sometimes hard to read in the darker room. The screen backlight on the 1510 provides more than enough brightness to distinguish the keys if the lights are off.
Slot-loading DVD Burner
Another new addition to this line is the slot-loading DVD drive. The base model comes with a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo, but the model we received has a DVD/CD burner. Slot-loading drive is another feature found mostly on higher end (XPS) line in the past. While it allows the laptop to slim down quite a bit by employing a caddy-less solution, it also limits aftermarket upgrade possibilities, since it’s considerably harder to find a slot-loading optical unit compared to a more traditional design. During a quick DVD playback session, I did not notice any issues with either the DVD player, or the software. Even speakers provided reasonable sound quality.
Webcam and Digital Microphone
Vostro 1510 is configurable with an optional 1.3 MP webcam, paired with a digital microphone. Truth be told, the 2MP Vostro 1500 webcam didn’t shine, and the webcam on the 1510 is no better. The 1510 inherits a lot of noise, especially apparent in artificial lighting, and makes facial features very hard to distinguish under such conditions – something the original webcam did with at least moderate success. The microphone on the other hand, is quite good, and if used with communications software, such as Skype, provides a good experience. If you do not have a headset, or at least headphones, there will be some minimal residual echo, however, it’s barely noticeable.
Our review sample contains an integrated nVidia GeForce 8400M GS with 256MB memory. This is the top video card option for the 1510, which is a step down from the 8600M GT available on the original Vostro 1500. 8400M GS is an average video card, which will allow a user to play 3d video games at medium to low settings at native (1440×900) resolution. I would not recommend playing the newest games on it, as they will likely require a bit more video processing power, but games released a year or so ago should not have any problem. If you opt for a cheaper integrated Intel X3100 solution, you will be limited to casual games, such as solitaire, chess, and others, as that video card is not suitable for the majority of power hungry games.Previous Next
Vostro 1510 featured at $599!
Create a deal alert with the keyword "vostro"
Create a deal alert with the keyword "Dell"