I was looking for a laptop that would mostly be used for reading eBooks, and a bit of web surfing. No gaming so I was not interested in a high end laptop. What I did want was a good, hi-res screen. After looking around at a number of solutions, the Vostro 1510 came on sale. Dell's always been a good choice in my mind, since you can pick what you want to upgrade when doing the purchase, rather then having only a set configuration. Which made it a good fit for me since it had a few features over the other laptops at the $600 price point:
- Decent processor; Core 2 Duo T5670(1.8GHz)
- Matte 1440x900 15.4" screen
- 10/100/1000 Ethernet, (I have Gigabit connecting on all machine in my house)
- 56 WHr 6-cell battery
- Vista Home Premium upgrade
For me being able to pick the exact screen type and having Gigabit Ethernet, made this the winning solution in this price range. Final price was $499 base+$50 CPU upgrade+$50 screen upgrade + $30 OS upgrade = $630 + tax = $710
The first Vostro 1510 I had, started having issues with the network hardware on the motherboard, thus after talking to Dell I elected to return the unit and re-order. The prices had changed since the original offer, no longer allowing for a CPU upgrade at a decent price($50 or so). Now the CPU upgrades started at $200. What I did manage to do was re-fresh my original order and get the same deal, only difference was XP is no longer shipped with the laptop. Rather Vista basic is the standard setup, but for $30 I was able to get Vista Home premium.
The second unit does not seem to suffer from the same issue the first unit had. Rather it has been working for a few months without issue. A few minor things I noticed were the second unit benchmarked a bit faster and seems to be a bit quieter also. This second laptop came with vista which did have a few references to 'Dell' which is annoying, but tolerable I guess.
Update: One other item to note, as always, you get what you pay for. This is not a beautiful (Apple) unibody design by far. When I first got the machine, I did notice part of the body did not fit well together on the left side, such that a spill on the keyboard may let liquid into the machine itself. Later I noticed one of the doors at the bottom to access the hard disk/wifi card, also does not fit that well together with the body. For the price, I guess I will not complain, but don't think you're getting a perfectly crafted machine when you get the low end model, because you are not.