Dell March 17 introduced a refresh of its Vostro 3000 series laptops for small and midsize businesses, a new Vostro all-in-one desktop, and a new line of Inspiron R notebooks, specifically for consumers.
The Vostro laptops come in 13-, 14-, 15- and 17-inch models and, like the other PCs Dell introduced that day, feature Intel's second-generation "Sandy Bridge" Core I series processors.
The Vostro brand is designed for Dell's SMB customers, which make up an "incredibly varied and growing market," Alison Gardner, marketing director for Dell's consumer and SMB product group, told eWEEK.
"Their pain points rise to the top very consistently," said Gardner, adding that SMB's have three needs that are important to them: to know they're getting good value for their money; to have their data-the lifeline of their companies-consistently protected; and, because these are companies without full-time, in-house IT staff, to know that "someone stands behind them when they need help."
With this refreshed line, Gardner added, "We also focused on a trend that's been getting a lot of traction, and that's collaboration."
The Vostro 3000 Series is the first small-business laptop, says Dell, to feature SRS Premium Voice Pro voice-enhancing software. "It adjusts to your volume as you're chatting," said Gardner, "based on ambient noise in the room." Paired with it are a Webcam (in all but the smallest 3350 model), a digital array microphone, preinstalled Skype software and a dedicated dashboard button for launching conferencing with just a press.
While the 13-inch 3300 line features an Intel Core i3 processor, the larger models offer up to Core i7, as well as the option of discreet graphics, DDR3 (double-data rate) memory and battery options providing up to 13-plus hours of use, for example, in the case of the 15-inch Vostro 3550 paired with a 9-cell battery.
Enhancing security, the new Vostro notebooks come with the option of a fingerprint reader, Trend Micro Worry-Free Business security software, and a USB 3.0 port for backing up data at 10 times the speed.
The notebooks, which feature chiclet keyboards and durable aluminum finishes, come in color choices of "Aberdeen Silver," "Lucerne Red" and "Brisbane Bronze." Pricing across the line starts at $499 to $599.
"It's a feature set that's compelling-everything you want and nothing you don't," said Gardner. "We want customers to walk away with the feeling that their money went far."
Also making money go far-coined a "best-in-class under $1,000" by Dell-is the all-in-one Vostro 330 PC.
This AIO model features a 23-inch display with the option of a touch-screen and an anti-smudge coating (ideal in kiosks, or other applications where multiple users are involved). It comes with an up to Core i5 Intel processor and has a Webcam with facial-recognition capabilities, enabling users to take security a step beyond password protection. Energy-efficient and Energy Star 5.0-compliant, it also looks great from every angle, Gardner said. When you're working at a desk across from a customer, she said, "you want your PC to look good from the back as well."
The Vostro 330 starts at $699, or at $899 with a touch-screen option.
Finally, also available as of March 17, is Dell's new Inspiron R series. In 14-, 15.6- and 17.3-inch display options, Gardner said they were designed for "generalists," such as families with kids. Here again you'll find Intel next-generation technology, with a choice of Core i3, i5 or i7 processors, an HD-capable Webcam, Microsoft Windows 7, a standard 6-cell battery, and a starting weight under 5 pounds. Additional options include the boost up to a 9-cell battery and a 3D Blu-ray disc player.
With Intel's WiDi (Wireless Display) technology, users can also wirelessly stream video to an HDTV over a WiFi connection.
Another option for the Inspiron notebooks are replaceable lids, called Switch by Design Studio. "Customers love personalization, but once you buy something, normally, you're married to it," Gardner said, explaining that the notebook's standard black lid clicks off and others can be easily popped on.
The lids come in three solid colors or 22 designs, starting at $40.