Gadget Lust: Dell's Super-Sexy (and Cheap!) Vostro V13 Laptop

Last Updated Dec 9, 2009 2:55 PM EST


Netbooks aren't for everybody. And yet who among us doesn't want a thin, lightweight, inexpensive PC for when we travel?

Dell's new Vostro V13 is the hottest ultra-slim portable I've seen lately, thanks in no small part to its ultra-slim price tag: the system starts at just $449.


The V13 weighs 3.5 pounds with its six-cell (!) battery installed and measures just 0.78 inches at its thickest point. Its WLED screen measures 13.3 inches diagonally, giving you a much larger workspace than you get from most netbooks.

The Base Package configuration ($449) comes with an Intel Celeron processor and Ubuntu Linux -- a combination I can heartily recommend if you don't need to run specific, Windows-only programs. If you do, the Productivity Package ($599) bumps you up to a Core 2 Solo processor and Windows 7 Home Premium.

Thankfully, Dell lets you customize any of the configurations to your liking, so you can get exactly the setup you want. Well, with one exception: there's no room at the inn for an optical drive.

I haven't had any hands-on time with the V13, but I've reviewed enough notebooks in my day to know a winner when I see it. If you're looking for a system that's as travel-friendly as a MacBook Air but not nearly as expensive, this Vostro's definitely worth a look.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.