Dell Vostro 3360 review – the affordable and portable business notebook

Andrei Girbea November 8, 2013 Reviews 1 Comment
Tested: Dell Vostro 3360
Rating: 3.5/5     Price Range: $599 to $1099
Summary: The Vostro 3360 is Dell's take on affordable and portable business laptops. It does offer plenty for the buck, is available in several different configs and it's way more compact than its predecessor, but it still had some annoying issues, as you'll find out from this review.

The good

solid built and fairly good looking, decent keyboard, excellent trackpad, available in plenty of configurations, good price, runs cool and quiet, Cellular connectivity

The bad

under par battery life, poor speakers, spongy keys, not the best display

The Vostro 3360 is Dell’s new affordable 13.3 inch business notebook.

Developed especially for corporate use, the Dell Vostro 3360 is sturdy and decently beautiful, while providing good everyday performances and plenty of connectivity options, all with a proper price tag.

Dell has plenty of experience with rather compact business machines but this year’s Vostro 3360 has gone a long way since last year’s model, being a lot slimmer and lighter. On the other hand, it does pack ULV hardware, but it’s still capable enough to deal with the daily tasks.

This review will tell you all the things you need to know about the Dell Vostro 3360, including its positive and negative aspects. So read along.

Dell Vostro 3360 business laptop - solid, fast and not very expensive

Dell Vostro 3360 business laptop – solid, fast and not very expensive

The Specs

But first, let’s take a look at the specs.


Dell Vostro 3360
Screen 13.3 inch, 1366 x 768 px resolution, non-glare
rocessor Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5-3427U CPU, 1.8 GHz
Chipset Intel HM76
Video integrated Intel 4000 HD
Memory 4 GB DDR3
Hard-disk 320 GB 7200 rpm
Connectivity Wireless N, Gigabit Lan, Bluetooth 4.0, WWAN 3G/4G
Ports 3 x USB 3.0, VGA, HDMI, LAN, card-reader, HD webcam
Baterry 4 Cell 49 Wh, encased
Operating system Windows 7 Professional
Size 19 x 332 x 233 mm
Weight about 1.67 kg (3.7 pounds)

You’ll notice that our unit is built on the latest generation Intel Ivy Bridge hardware platform, but you should know that if you’re planning to save some money, Dell also offers versions built on last year’s Sandy Bridge architecture, which is still punchy enough.

The Video Review

The video review will take you through this laptop’s important aspects, but for the details you should continue reading the written review below.

Overview – exterior and looks

We’re going to start our video review for the Dell Vostro 3360 by taking a look at the exterior. If you’re familiar with the Vostro line, you’ll quickly recognize the silver aluminum and dark grey rubbery plastic used for this notebook’s case. Aesthetically, it’s sober and restrained, without trying to impress, just like most other business laptops out there.

Good looking, in an obtrusive way

Good looking, in an obtrusive way

The build quality is good and the entire body is sturdy, as the lid cover, palm rest or even the keyboard barely flex under pressure. Despite the solid feel, the Vostro 3360 is pretty compact, with its 0.8 inch thick body that weighs about 3.7 pounds. Of course, it’s not really in the same class as the Dell XPS 13, but it’s way more compact than its predecessor was, the Vostro 3350.

The ports are lined on the sides and you’ll notice that they are placed towards the back on the laptop, which is always great. On the left you’ll find the PSU, two USBs and the HDMI port, plus a cooling grill. On the right there’s a headphone/microphone jack, another USB, a card-reader and the LAN adapter.

There are some things on the back as well: a Kensington Lock, a SIM card slot and the VGA output. Our test unit came with Cellular connectivity, available as an extra option, so if you’ll buy your Vostro 3360 without it, you won’t get the SIM card slot on the back.

Oh, and I should also mention the speakers and the Status LEDs placed on the front edge.

Turning the laptop upside down, you’ll notice a rather ugly underbelly, dressed in silver aluminum, with bizarre looking cooling grills and a bay that will allow you to quickly access the internals. The battery however is encased, thus non-removable.

The battery in encased, but the memory and the mSATA connector are accessible, hidden by a plastic door

The battery in encased, but the memory and the mSATA connector are accessible, hidden by a plastic door

Lifting the lid cover, you’ll notice that the interior is covered in the same dark gray rubbery plastic that we found on the exterior as well. And it feels good, provides grip and won’t easily catch smudges.

The palm rest is decently spacious, with a discrete fingerprint reader on the right side and some buttons on top. The Keyboard is surrounded by a chromed rim and there’s glossy plastic between the keys, which looks a bit cheap and will scratch and catch fingerprints.

Nice looking interior as well

Nice looking interior as well

Screen

The screen’s bezel is covered in the same plastic, but it is a bit wider than I’d like to, which kind of makes the Vostro 3360 a bit larger than some of the other 13.3 inch laptops. There’s a HD Webcam on top, with stereo microphones, and it will work just fine with Skype or other chatting programs.

As for the screen itself, my test unit came with a matte one. It’s a 13.3 inch 1366 x 768 px display, with a TN panel, so there’s nothing impressive about it. In fact, it’s not bad overall, as long as you manage to properly adjust the viewing angle, providing decent brightness and colors, although the contrast is poor, as blacks are quite washed out on this screen.

But after seeing the IPS panels other producers bundle on their business laptops, you’d be expecting better from Dell as well, although perhaps not in this price range.

Keyboard and trackpad

I should also tell you a couple of things about the keyboard and the trackpad.

The keyboard is decent. The keys are properly sized and spaced, provide good feedback and travel and are some of the quietest I’ve seen in a while. But, they just feel a bit wobbly, a bit spongy, which resulted in an inconsistent typing experience, as I didn’t feel confident I was typing the right letters without actually having to double check my output.

My test unit came with the standard splash-resistant keyboard and not the backlit version, which is available as an extra option on Dell’s configurator.

The Keyboard is alright

The Keyboard is alright

The trackpad is however excellent. It could have been wider, that’s true, but it feels and works just fine, even when dealing with basic gestures or palm-rejection. And the thing I appreciate the most about this trackpad: it comes with independent dedicated click buttons, which I feel should be a must for every serious business laptop.

But the trackpad is excellent

But the trackpad is excellent

Hardware and performances

The Dell Vostro 3360 is available in a bunch of different configurations, all built around Intel ULV platforms. My test unit came with a Core i5-3417U processor, integrated Intel graphics, 4 GB of memory and a 320 GB hard-drive.

The laptop is overall snappy in daily tasks, including working with Office programs, using a browser with several tabs opened, listening to music, chatting on Skype, etc. It can deal with video content as well and even some games, as long as they are older or not that complex.

I’ve also ran a couple of benchmarks on this laptop and the results are below:

  • PC Mark Vantage: 6979;
  • PC Mark 07: 3233;
  • 3D Mark 11: Entry – E1155 ; Performance -  P613;
  • Cinebench 11.5: CPU – 2.58 pts ; OpenGL – 15.64 fps.

Of course, the looks and the solid build quality are not enough to make this laptop a proper business machine. That’s why Dell bundles it with Windows 7 Professional by default, offers a Quick Recovery button and DellPro Support or Accidental Damage Service, plus some extended warranty options. And there’s a fingerprint reader as well.

And there’s the WWAN Cellular module as well, that will allow you to get online whenever you’ll need an Internet connection. For europe you’re limited to 3G speeds, but in the US buyers will be able to benefit from 4G speeds as well, via WiMax.

Heat, noise, speakers and others

Back to regular stuff, the Dell Vostro 3360 runs fairly cool and quiet while dealing with daily tasks and it doesn’t get too hot or noisy, not even when pushed. The fan will become active even when dealing with light tasks though, thus this computer it’s not completely quiet, but that was expected giving it’s slim body.

The two speakers placed on the front edge were fairly OK as well. They do provide good punch for their tiny size, but the sound coming out of them is a bit blunt and flat.

Battery life

There’s a 4 Cell 49 Wh battery encased inside this laptop, non-removable. That’s enough for about 4 to 4 and a half hours of life during daily use, which isn’t bad, but it’s not impressive either, considering that other business laptops in this class can run for longer.Of course, if using the computer lightly and dimming the screen, the battery life can get pass the 5 hours mark.

Battery life is OK< but not great

Battery life is OK< but not great

As a side note, the battery took more than 3 hours to charge, which I did not expect, considering that this laptop comes with a 65Wh charger, rather massive for this class.

The charger is massive, but charging the laptop actually takes a long time

The charger is massive, but charging the laptop actually takes a long time

Prices and availability

Like I said before, Dell offers the Vostro 3360 in a bunch of different configurations, with prices starting at $599 on Dell’s own website. But that base model is equipped with an older generation Core i3 CPU, if you want to latest Ivy Bridge Core i5, you’ll have to pay at least $800 for a Vostro 3360.

Adding extra options, like a backlit keyboard, a faster processor or going for another color can easily get your config close to one grand.

Wrap-up

All in all, the Dell Vostro 3360 is a laptop you should consider if you’re looking for a portable machine suited for business environments. It’s solid and beautiful, in its unobtrusive way, which makes it good for life on the road.

The connectivity options will come in handy and the matte screen helps as well, although it’s not really the best out there. Besides that, the laptop is overall punchy enough for the daily tasks it will be usually required to perform.

The Dell Vostro 3360 is a good portable laptop, but you should consider the other options as well

The Dell Vostro 3360 is a good portable laptop, but you should consider the other options as well

Of course, it has its issues, with the poor battery life as a main concern, but for the money, you’ll hardly find a better business 13.3 inch laptop right now, although you should at least consider 13.3 inch ultrabooks as well if you’re willing to spend close to $1000 for your next notebook.

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About The Author

Andrei Girbea, aka "Mike", is the Owner and Editor in Chief at tlbhd.com . He's been dealing with gadgets and writing about them for years and now focuses more on portable computers, like netbooks, mini laptops and touchscreen tablets. You can follow him on Twitter.

1 Comment

  1. Bon October 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you for the Dell coupon! It saved me an extra they offered. I will surely recommend your website to inform others

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