I may use a computer almost every day, but that don’t mean I know anything about them. I can’t pretend I know the difference between a graphics card and a birthday card, I just turn it on, do what I need to do and put it away. Now despite all of that, I do however know what makes a good product, so I assured the guys at Dell that their latest laptop in the Vostro 5000 series was in more than capable hands, just as long as it was only used for Microsoft Word, Youtube and Paint.
The Vostro 14 5468 laptop is the latest in affordable, portable computers from Dell, currently retailing from £349. This 14-inch HD laptop sports not only a stylish and durable design, but weighing at just over a 1.5kg makes it fairly lightweight and easy to carry around. Inside the Grey Metallic chassis lies a 7th Generation i3 Core Processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB Solid State Drive, perfectly capable of handling a busy work and social life. It’s 42WHr, 3-Cell battery is integrated into the machine and for general/casual use will keep running for at least 4 hours unplugged. Well that’s it for all the technical specs unfortunately because everything else goes over my head, so allow me in my very limited knowledge to review this complicated box of bells and whistles in the easiest way to understand and admittedly write.
The 14-inch display is a decent size and can easily handle multiple tabs and tasks, however though claiming to display in “Full HD”, it doesn’t seem to, or at least it doesn’t seem to display as fully as you’d expect it to; as far as I could see, unless you enjoy watching your HD videos no bigger than a thumbnail you’ll not find a problem. Stretching your videos on to a full screen is a basic expectation, and although it’s common knowledge that stretching anything affects the quality, it appeared that on this machine the quality was significantly worse despite the small screen, which is disappointing considering it’s 2017 and these days high definition comes as standard. This isn’t particularly upsetting seeing that you won’t notice the low-resolution browsing documents or webpages, and if you were using the 5468 for gaming you’d be playing most titles (if not all) on medium settings at best, but it is especially off putting when streaming shows and movies, especially when most devices that are cheaper and albeit smaller are capable of broadcasting in full HD; the Vostro’s graphics card underperformed during the performance test, but honestly that was expected considering it has not been billed as a gaming machine. It may not be the best or the most powerful processor in modern day computing, but it’s Intel i3 Core is of the 7th generation, making it very up to date, fast and capable of pushing the system’s capabilities within its boundaries. If you’re hoping to fill your Vostro with games, music or software you may find yourself filling it up quicker than you realise thanks to its woeful memory size standing at a mere 128GB. I use the word woeful accordingly, I mean a few years back 128GB was nothing really to scoff at, but when mobile phones these days can handle that much storage, it’s tough to not feel a little deflated. It is however a solid-state drive (SSD) rather than your standard heavy hard drive, which not only takes some weight out of the machine, but also speeds up your files and loading screens considerably, so sure it may fill up quickly, but it’ll open everything up at a similar pace.
Going back to the Vostros’s design, it is perhaps the nicest looking compact Dell laptop I’ve seen, and though “stylish” isn’t exactly what you may call it, it definitely is compared to the other models the giants have released in the past. The Vostro’s metallic casing feels nice in your hands and that typical bold, chunky Dell shape does boast a certain degree of durability and safety, however it isn’t the sleekest of designs and still sticks out like a sore thumb in comparison to other market leaders. Opening up the laptop and you’ll find a very comfortable, well-proportioned keyboard with a more than satisfying and responsive mouse just below. Though weighing at 1.66kg isn’t considered majorly heavy, if the selling point of this machine was for portability at work, once again there are devices on the market lighter and smaller, but if a 2-1 hybrid isn’t your bag and you like the feel of a traditional laptop computer, then the Vostro 5468 is more than ideal if you’re on a tight budget. A rather surprising discovery, especially for a computer marketing itself as a cheap, more basic option, is the number of ports available to use. Sporting not 1, but 3 USB 3.0 ports, a HDMI port, VGA port, Ethernet port and a slot for any SD Carts you may have lying around, this “cheap” laptop is now on par with my much more expensive model in regards to its connectivity potential.
It may not have the most demanding of graphics cards or the largest hard drive known to man, but take the Vostro 5468 apart and you’ll find everything inside is up to date and powerful enough to run anything you could possibly need the machine for; the 7th gen processor will comfortably and quickly run anything it’s challenged with and, though small, the 128GB Solid-State Drive will follow suit. The entire machine looks pretty neat and definitely one of Dell’s best looking compact computers, and though arguably its screen isn’t the most startling of HD displays, for the business men and women it’s aimed at this won’t be a cause for concern. This isn’t for the gamer, this is for the white collar, and for its specs and reliability for that casual everyday use, the Dell Vostro 5468 is a great bit of kit and quite the bargain. Take it from me, don’t look at what the 5468 can’t do, look at all that it can and you’ll be hard pushed to find a machine that compares in both price and capabilities.