In a sea of Ultrabooks, it is hard to choose which will you pick. Would you rather go for the expensive and powerhouse flagships, or a cheaper but relatively capable one? The Dell Vostro 5460 wants to be a companion to your everyday business, while giving you the balance between price and power.
Design and Build
The Vostro 5640 undeniably looks clean and elegant. It is made up of polycarbonate with brushed-aluminium finish. The chrome-plated Dell logo shows itself on the lid and nothing else. It is also light and thin — something Ultrabooks have in common. So being in the Vostro line, this notebook is aimed at the business sector to complement the sleek and clean corporate outfits. Dell claims that this is their thinnest Vostro with a less than 19mm thickness and a weight of 1.54kg.
Open the lid and you’ll see the chiclet keyboard, trackpad, power button and three LED indicators. The screen is 14-inch in size and on top of it is the 1.0MP camera and microphone for chatting. On its left side is the SD card slot, two USB 3.0 ports (one is Power-share), the power jack and the obligatory Kensington lock. Going to its right side shows a headset/mic jack, Ethernet jack, another USB 3.0 port, and an HDMI port. The back hides the exhaust fans from the user which is nice. While on front, there’s virtually nothing. Hiding beneath the sleek notebook are the speakers which are angled to direct the sound to the user, and a subwoofer – great!
All in all, Vostro 5640 is a professional looking notebook on the outside. It seamlessly blends with you. You can also carry it all day without having the usual strain you get with other bulky notebooks.
Display and Camera
Having a 14-inch display is very common among notebooks and this is what the Vostro 5460 has. A 14-inch HD LED backlit display with Dell’s proprietary Truelife™. The screen is anti-reflective but high-gloss, ensuring better color reproduction and high contrast. Viewing angles are adequate for content sharing except when viewed from the top and bottom. What is disappointing about the display is its resolution, it is only 1366×768 pixels. It is behind the Full HD revolution of new ultrabooks. Also, the screen is not touch-enabled so you have to rely on the trackpad for navigation.
The 1.0MP camera for video conference is nothing to write home about. It is adequate for basic video conference but the quality is not there. It is smudgy and noisy, even worse than a VGA camera. So if you use Skype a lot, be sure to take note of this.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Starting off with the keyboard, it is chiclet-styled with enough spacing between keys which makes typing a breeze. It has good feedback when pressed but not exactly the best out there. Lenovo’s AccuType is still the king but nevertheless, it is not far behind. You also get the usual toggles and media controls with function keys. While typing, there is enough area for your palm to rest on and it is relatively cool. The keyboard has no back-lighting which is a shame if you decide to do some work in the dark.
The trackpad on this notebook is frankly large. The click-buttons are integrated into it making it a one-piece trackpad. It is responsive to touch but clicking needs a little push for it to register. When using it at first, accidental touches happens a lot due to its size but palm-rejection can be adjusted and also the sensitivity of touch. Two to four finger gestures can also be set, making it a good trackpad for Windows 8.
Watching videos and music playback is a treat on the Vostro 5460. What is surprising is that it actually has a 2.1 channel speaker. There is a dedicated subwoofer to enhance casual viewing and quick playback. Movies sound great on this and it actually delivers. Dell includes a software called Maxx Audio 4 that has presets like movies, music, voice, gaming and MaxxSense.
Playing videos with the default player of Windows 8 is simple and direct yet volume is not that loud to please so make sure to have VLC around. Even with max volume setting, the audio does not break and it is still great.
The Vostro 5460 that we have sports a 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3337U clocked at 1.8Ghz coupled with 4GB DDR3 of RAM. A 500GB of HDD is included for storage and a 32GB mSATA SSD for fast booting. Aside from the built-in Intel HD Graphics 4000, it has an NVIDIA GeForce GT630M with 2GB DDR3 VRAM – that is something you don’t see on every Ultrabook. Everything runs on Windows 8 SL 64-bit platform.
Windows Experience Index gave the notebook a base score of 4.8. The built-in Intel HD Graphics 4000 is the primary graphics adapter and the GeForce GT630M will be enabled once a heavy application is started. So expect additional performance when running strenuous application.
Performance is top notch. Browsing, word processing and Full HD playback is a piece of cake for the Vostro 5460. Casual gaming is also a great experience. I managed to install some games from the Windows Store namely Asphalt 7 and Zombies HQ. Both ran smoothly and immersive thanks to the amazing speakers. Heavy gaming is possible but of course ultra-high settings won’t work flawlessly. Business application and creative software should run just fine too – as long as it is not as demanding.
Overall, performance meets our expectation for such good specifications. Boot up times are fast thanks to the SSD, helping you go back to what you are working on in no time.
Battery life is average for the Vostro 5460. We managed to squeeze in 4 hours of usage with constant web browsing and word processing. The battery is non-removable so having your own spare is not applicable, so always bring your charger when travelling.
At the end of the day, Dell’s Vostro 5460 will surely won’t disappoint. Everything you need to get your tasks done will run just fine and a bonus of extra hardware for heavy graphics and superb audio is a sure plus. However, it does have flaws but nothing major. You’ll get used to it and it will be a thing of the past.
However, I wish it has a better screen resolution and included a touchscreen. Windows 8 is quite a burden to get used to by just the use of the trackpad. Still, for a price of under 33k, it’s a really good deal compared to the offering of other brands.
Dell Vostro 5460 specifications:
14” LED Backlit Truelife display @ 1366×768 pixels
3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3337U 1.8Ghz
Intel HD 4000 Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce 630M 2GB VRAM
4GB DDR3 RAM
500GB HDD + 32GB SSD
Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230
2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 3.0 with Power Share
1 x HDMI
1 x Ethernet RJ-45
SD Card Reader
1.0MP 720p HD Web Camera
Stereo speaker with dedicated subwoofer
3-cell Lithium Ion battery
Dimensions: 18.3(f) – 21(b) x 337.6 x 233.5 mm
What we liked:
* Great profile
* Ultrabook with discrete graphics
* Superb speakers with subwoofer
* Competitive pricing
What we didn’t like:
* Flimsy trackpad
* Unsatisfactory keyboard
* No backlit keyboard
* Not Haswell 4th Gen Intel processor