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Finances & Money General Giveaways

Win your free Dell Vostro Laptop right HERE!

Exactly 4 years ago (as I write this), I published the article “How I get laptops and plasma TVs for free“, wherein I detail my method for scoring free stuff from those spammy/scammy looking emails we all get.

Well, here’s your chance to win a free Dell Vostro V130 laptop from me (via Dell)!

That’s right, one of my readers is going to get a laptop valued at about $800 just for commenting (see rules below, after my review). Why am I doing this? Well, Dell gave me my own Vostro V130 to review and keep, and offered another one just like it to one of my readers as part of their PR campaign to highlight one of the newest models in their stable of small business laptops.

But first, my unbiased review:

Dell Vostro V130: A good buy?

First, I’ll reiterate that this is meant as a “small business laptop” and isn’t one of your cheapy netbooks. Why should I care about small businesses? Because I’m a small business owner myself! My portfolio of websites don’t manage themselves you know!

While I have a day job at a large company, I also work for hours at night on a laptop. In fact, I have 2 Sony Vaio, 1 Asus EEE PC Netbook, and 1 Dell supercomputer (it’s what I call my day job laptop) at home now, and until recently a business HP laptop as well, so I’m familiar with a range of laptop brands and styles (except a Mac because I have no need for one as long as I have PCs provided to me!).

I was actually surprised with the specs of the Vostro that Dell sent to me. In fact, I didn’t even know they had a range of laptops specifically for the small business market as I’ve mostly been familiar with their home and large business models. Here’s some specs os my specific laptop (and I believe the one you can win too):

  • Intel® CoreTM i3 380UM (1.33GHz/800Mhz FSB/3MB cache)
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (versus the 32-bit version. Big difference!)
  • 13.3 inch HD WLED Display (1366×768) with Anti-Glare
  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
  • 320GB SATA hard drive (RPM) (7200RPM)
  • Anodized Aluminum shell in Lucerne Red (sexy!). Also available in gray (see image at top of article)
  • 2.0 megapixel webcam
  • Wireless-N capable card (also supports B and G routers)
  • HDMI, VGA, 2 USB, 1 eSATA and 1 SD ports and standard Bluetooth
  • 6-cell integrated battery (see complaints section below though)

What I like about the V130:

When I unboxed the laptop, I was surprised at how thin it was. It’s no Macbook Air, but it’s thin and light, yet has a sturdy feel to it thanks to the aluminum casing. As a guy, I’ll be honest I was disappointed to get a red one, but I’ll say it’s grown on me, and I don’t see the color when I’m using it anyway.

Next, as I’ve recently been upgraded to a Windows 7 Pro 64-bit laptop for work, I can appreciate the reason for having the more powerful operating system for a small business. My line of work requires the use of VMWare for testing software and running demonstrations, and the 64-bit OS is the way to go. Granted, Microsoft and PC hardware providers should have moved platforms YEARS ago and 32-bit shouldn’t even be an option anymore.

The display is excellent, even though it has just a standard graphics card, and the sound is surprisingly good too, considering it only has one mono speaker. I watched some Netflix HD video, and while it looks better on my “super-Dell” from work, it was perfectly adequate on this laptop. Remember, though, this is not an entertainment or gaming laptop. but rather one for doing small business work. Also, if you’re doing graphics or video work, you’d probably own a Mac already. I won’t argue that one.

It’s not a supercomputer with its processor, but I experience no lag in the bit of time I’ve been working on it. I haven’t loaded up VMWare (as I don’t have a license), but I suspect it would have no problem keeping up with my work Dell unless I had to run 2-3 VM images at once (in other words, have multiple virtual servers all using the resources off of my one laptop).

The design is perfect for travelers, as it is lightweight yet powerful. The question is, though, where does it fail as a small business laptop…

What I dislike about the V130:

As a blogger, I can use, and have been using, a much cheaper and weaker PC for my work. However, as a professional who travels to trade shows, conferences, customer sites, etc. to show product demonstrations and presentations, if I were to be an independent consultant who buys my own hardware, the Vostro would be in my target zone. Therefore, I can’t knock it for its pricing because I can appreciate the target audience.

The biggest problem I would have with the Vostro is battery life. I saw online it has a 4-cell option, but I got the 6-cell in my configuration. I’ve had 6-cell batteries before in my HP and Dells, and both of those gave about 3-4 hours of life, while the Vostro’s battery only gives about 2-2.5 hours of life. That’s unacceptable from a mobility point-of-view. In addition, because of its sleek design, the battery is embedded, which means you can’t swap it out for a bigger/better battery with more juice. Therefore, you always have to be close to a power plug when you’re on the go.

Other than the battery, I only have minor complaints, like the menu key next to the cursor keys on the keyboard. I keep hitting it instead of the left arrow, and I don’t see the point of it being there. Also, the touchpad scrolling needs to be smoother, but I found settings to at least slow it down. I also found that it allows pinch-zoom (like iPhones and Droids) as it has multi-touch capability, so that’s a cool feature at least.

The Final Verdict:

So would I buy one? Well, if I keep getting free laptops… But really, as a blogger, no. But if I have a crew of travelers working for me, and they need the processing power, I would consider the Vostro, but there’s some other very competitive alternatives on the market, each with their own pros and cons (check out CNET’s review of the Vostro for more information). I think the battery life is the deal-breaker for me because it’s meant for mobility, and I need something that lasts at least half a workday before a charge. The 6-cell battery in the Vostro wouldn’t even last for half a flight from NY to San Francisco. Otherwise, it’s the first sexy Dell I’ve seen and has a lot going for it, but it needs a better battery! C’mon Dell! For more info on the V130, check out theVostro V130 microsite and Dell’s Trade Secrets Facebook.

Now, for the good stuff.

How to Enter to Win a Dell Vostro V130

I’m going to do something similar to J. Money at BudgetsAreSexy.com (you can enter his contest too!) and ask you 2 questions. You have to make an attempt to answer them or else I’ll toss out your entry. I won’t judge content, but I’ll judge effort.

First, some rules and such:

  • You have to be 18
  • You have to be in the U.S. (sorry rest of the world)
  • Only 1 entry per person
  • You have until midnight Eastern this Thursday, March 10, 2011 to enter
  • You’ll have to be willing to fill out a W-9 tax form (and pay taxes) on the prize. I had to do it to receive my free laptop, so you have to also
  • I’ll draw the winner Friday using a random number generator to pick the winning comment. If you don’t reply within 48 hours of contact, or if you won’t submit your W-9 (to Dell, not to me), I’ll draw a new winner.

Alright, now to the 2 questions! I’m really looking forward to your responses, so get commenting!

1) What small business do you own/would you own (if you don’t own one)? 2) What do you think your biggest challenge is/would be as a small business owner?

Come back on Friday to find out the winner!

About the author

Clever Dude

75 Comments

  • 1. I want to start a real estate asset management company (property management for real estate investors). My dream would be to open a brew pub.

    2. The biggest challenge is finding enough investors to manage their properties so I can bring in enough revenue to replace my income at my current job. Once I get to that point I will start my company and run from my corp. job.

  • 1. I would own a legal research and writing shop.
    2. Not letting work overtake the rest of my life. Finding the proper balance.

  • 1. I might like to have a blog that focuses on healthy living, decorating, 20-something life, and food.

    2. Figuring out how to generate income from said blog. I know it’s not realistic to expect that instanteously.

  • 1) I would love to own/run a no-kill animal shelter or farm
    2) My biggest challege would be generating the income required to keep up on the welfare of the animals, and also I think tax time would be a nightmare.

  • 1) I would like to own a small consulting firm to help/train students facing competitive exams
    2) My biggest challenge would be to have a good networking

  • 1) What small business do you own/would you own (if you don’t own one)?

    I’d be a self-employed painter.

    2) What do you think your biggest challenge is/would be as a small business owner?

    After so many years of working in an office under someone else’s schedule, I think my biggest challenge would be creating and sticking to my own schedules.

  • 1) I would like to own a freelance web design business.

    2) I think the biggest challenge would be separating work and home life.

  • 1. children speech therapy center (my passion)
    2. get all the necessary knowledge, skills and experience

  • 1. I have an online idea I am ready to start NOW. Even though it would be a for-profit, it is something that I am passionate about that would positively impact families.
    2. My challenge is getting the funds to hire a developer to help me launch the site! I can do the graphics.

  • 1)) What small business do you own/would you own (if you don’t own one)?
    2) What do you think your biggest challenge is/would be as a small business owner?

    1) I would love to become my own brew master and learn to work with distibutors and sell a microbrew. It would be hoppy but balanced and have a long lasting flavor. I recently went to 7 breweries in 2 days and loved every minute of it!
    2) Biggest challenge after getting the seed money would be to not drink my profits! Ha, ha…but secondly would be to listen to my gut when it comes to budget and business partners.

    I have heard good things about this Dell. I have an older Dell that I custom designed and I love it. It probably only has a year or so left on it however.

    Thanks for the opportunity. Happy to fill out the tax paperwork.
    Best,
    Cat

  • 1) I am just beginning to blog, and would use a new laptop to ease the process of running different applications at the same time.

    2) Funding to grow a business, specifically in this environment, would have to be the most difficult part of starting a business.

  • Since I recently earned a Mechanical Engineering degree, I would love to start my own engineering and design firm. I know that starting a new business on my own would be a very difficult decision, but I think it would be very satisfying to be my own boss. Also starting a new business and employing other people would help reduce the high unemployment in Michigan. Perhaps the biggest challenge as a new business owner would be how to generate new clients to design for. For this I would like to hire a sales person to visit manufacturing plants across the state and generate leads and proposals.

  • I would love to own a small business! It would be a all positive thinking type business and a motivation type to get your mind thinking positive. With so much negativity nowadays we need something like this. Where’s the love, smiles and happiness? I would love to bring it to the table, employ out of work people. I do think it maybe hard to bring people to that kind of light but it’s a good plan.

  • 1) What small business do you own/would you own (if you don’t own one)?
    I have a small technical support business that this laptop would come in handy.

    2) What do you think your biggest challenge is/would be as a small business owner?
    Just competing with the big boys.

  • 1) I have Radiation Oncology consulting business.
    2) Finding highly skilled personnel to consult in highly specialized business.

  • 1) Shilohsoft – company for helping clients get the most from their website promotion and applications
    2) keeping the jobs coming in on a consistent basis.

  • 1. My wife Cyndi, and I are independent distributors for SendOutCards online greeting card and gift service. Amazing, low cost, legitimate home business for anyone wanting to start a small business.

    2. Staying focused on the most productive, business building activities.

  • 1) I would have a software development business.

    2) My biggest challenge would be managing my time.

  • I don’t have a small side business yet but I have watched two friends start niche market small businesses with success. One friend likes fresh roasted coffee and turned that interest into a small business. He restored an antique coffee roaster and now sells the coffee online. Another friend had an interest in antique radio Cone Speakers. He started to restore old cone speakers….He wrote a book on Cone Speaker restoration. He now sells the restored speakers to collectors around the world.

    I have an interest in antique radios. I have restored several for myself. The hardest part of starting any small business while continuing to work a day job is finding the time. Having two kids under 10 adds another challenge….

  • I have done health care for years (ER and Family Med) and now do some computer educating and am interested in computer interface with medicine.

    As insurance companies find more ways to deny and tie up reimbursement, and policies are escalating in price for middle America, the overhead vs. profit is far more close than most people imagine. There is also exponentially increasing pressure now to associate with a large company or clinic rather than the mom and pop type office setting that was the norm back in the day.

  • 1) i would be nice to have an office on the go
    2) time management and dedication will be the greatest challenge

  • All, due to some commenting problems on the site, I’m allowing all comments above this one to be entries. They made it in before midnight, but some problem with the server marks them as the wrong time. (I think it was a recent WordPress update as other bloggers are having this problem too).

  • I figured out the blog setting was UTC-4, not UTC-5, so everything has been posted an hour later than it actually is. If you have a WordPress blog, check the General settings for timezone and confirm the local time matches up to what you want. I don’t know how WP will treat the daylight savings time change this weekend, but it’s fixed now for the contest entries.