Opening up the 1310 you’re presented with a typically well laid out Dell keyboard. Everything is in the right place and of the right size, with the cursor keys slightly offset so that right Shift key can sit directly beneath the Return key. There’s even a set of touch sensitive media keys as well.
This is a pretty good start, but clearly Dell has saved a little more money on the keys themselves since they have a slightly muddier, softer feel than on other Dell laptops. As a consequence they don’t bounce back as crisply or quickly as we’d desire and make fluent typing more difficult. It’s still not a ”bad” keyboard by any stretch, but it definitely could have been better.
Another relatively minor complaint is that the 1310 isn’t as light or thin as some 13.3in notebooks. Though Dell quotes a variable thickness of 23.8 to 37.2mm, the thinnest part of this only applies to a tiny section at the front, so for all intent and purposes it is 37.2mm. Moreover, where the M1330 weighs two kilograms with a six-cell battery, the Vostro 1310 comes in at 2.17kg.
This said, when you consider that many people still use 15.4in monstrosities on the train and elsewhere “on the move”, the 13.3 inches and near two kilos of the 1310 would be something of revelation. Moreover, if a few hundred grams tips the balance for you then a four-cell battery will bring the overall weight down to just a shade over two kilos.
Connectivity options once again reflect the focus of the machine, though unlike the Latitude range there’s no support for docking stations – in the traditional sense at least. You do, however, get four USB ports and as such a USB docking station such as the Toshiba DynaDock, or any number of equivalents, would do the job nicely.
Dell has also been quite smart about how it has arranged the ports on the 1310. For example, the D-SUB and Ethernet ports are on the back – a lot easier if you’re using the machine at work. Meanwhile, on the left edge, you’ll find one of the four USB ports, a four-pin FireWire port, headphone and microphone jacks, a memory card reader and a 54mm ExpressCard.
Three more USB ports can be found on the right along with the slot-loading optical drive, the power input and a hardware switch for the wireless radios. Interestingly, Dell has also chosen to omit a modem port. To our minds this is no bad thing, with Wi-Fi or Broadband available in most hotels and HSDPA so prevalent as well, a modem hardly seems necessary – though some may find reasons to disagree and if so the 1310 might not be for you.