On the heels of HP redesigning its small business-friendly line of laptops, Dell, too, announced new SMB notebooks. The Vostro 3000 series, announced today, includes 13-, 14-, 15-, and 17-inch models, and-- surprise, surprise-- will be available with Intel's new Core i3, i5 ,and i7 processors.
The 13-inch 3300 starts at $788; the 14-inch 3400, $768; the 15-inch 3500, $768; and the 17-inch 3700, $798. If you opt for discrete graphics (512MB video memory for the 13-15-inchers; 1GB of video memory for the 17-inch model), those starting prices skyrocket to $1,1127, $1,027, $977, and $1,007, respectively.
For the money (assuming you go with integrated graphics, that is), the notebooks attempt to combine fast performance with durability and the kind of tech support that businesses without dedicated IT departments need. Unlike with the Vostro V13, an ultra-low voltage small business notebook by Dell, the processor options here include standard-voltage Core i3, i5, and i7 processors, with quad-core CPUs available for the 17-inch Vostro 3700. All of them have a hard drive accelerometer, which parks the hard drive head in the event of a fall. All but the 13-inch 3300 have HDMI output.
Other niceties include backlit keyboards, along with optional hard drive encryption and fingerprint readers. The 15-inch 3500 will be offered with a touchscreen by April. The aluminum lid comes in three attactive colors: silver, bronze, and red, although to upgrade from silver to red or bronze, you'll have to pay an extra $40, a distinction we wish Dell would stop making. While the hinges are made of zinc, another nice touch, the bottom is made of plastic, making this less rugged than a higher-end business notebook, such as the HP EliteBook 2540p, announced last week.
On the service side, companies can have access to a dedicated small business support line, at the cost of $79 per year per laptop. Users can also back up their data online using Dell DataSafe.
The notebooks are available in the U.S. and parts of Asia today, and will go on sale in Europe and Latin America on March 16. Not every size laptop will be available in every market, but U.S. customers, at least, will have their choice of all four sizes.
If you're thinking of upgrading your small business's laptops, check out our editor in chief Mark Spoonauer's hands-on video below.