Dell Vostro 1700 User Review

The Dell Vostro 1700 is a brand new 17" model business notebook. Like most Dell notebooks, the Vostro 1700 is customizable and it can be configured as either a budget type laptop or powerful desktop replacement.

Specification :
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 1.80GHz
  • WXGA+ (1440 x 900)
  • 2.0 MP camera
  • 2048 MB 667 MHz Dual-Channel DDR2 SDRAM (2x1024 MB)
  • Hard Drive 160GB Serial ATA (5400RPM) (the only one available at time of order; 7200RPM drives are now also available)
  • DVD+/-RW Drive 8x
  • Primary 6-cell 56WHz Li-Ion Battery
  • 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT
  • Intel Pro Wireless 3945 802.11a/b/g
  • Vista Home Premium
  • 1 year warranty

Reasons for Buying

Due to the nature of my work I move to different locations every few months so I have been using notebooks for most of my professional career. All models so far have been 14" or 15", however, this time I opted for 17". Though I move often, I do not travel all the time (I fly on average only once a month) so size and weight was not critically important. On the other hand, I use my notebook to watch DVD movies and Internet TV (in fact, I use it in this capacity far more than my TV set and DVD player at home) so a 17" notebook was a good choice for me. In my spare time sometimes I like to play games and, since I like games which are demanding on performance (first person fantasy or shooters), good graphic card was also important.

As I change notebooks often, I do not like to overspend so I set myself a top budget of 1200 euros. Unfortunately for this price the choice of 17" notebooks is limited. Practically it was Dell or HP. All other vendors were either too expensive (like Toshiba or Asus) or did not have the configuration I wanted (like Lenovo or Acer). Eventually I narrowed the choice down to the Dell Inspiron 1720 and the HP Pavilion dv9500t (the Vostro was not yet available when I starting looking for a new laptop). Finally I decided for Dell since for roughly the same price it offered slightly better graphics (Nvidia 8600M GT instead of GS on the HP).

Where and How Purchased

I ordered first the Dell Inspiron 1720 from Dell's Spanish web site only to see a day later the new Vostro line which offered exactly the same specifications but for a lower price, something I did not expect since I thought the Vostro was supposed to be a business model, like the Latitude line. I rang Dell and asked for advice. The sales person told me that, with the exception of the fancy colors on the Inspiron, there is not much difference between the two hardware-wise and it is no problem if I want to cancel the Inspiron order and get the Vostro instead.

The final price, VAT included, was 950.04 euros, a saving of 200 euros over the Inspiron. This price included free shipping and 50 euros off. I ordered it over the phone since Vista Home Premium was not available on Dell's web site for the Vostro line. The sales person was happy to change the default Vista Business edition into Home Premium.

So far, so good. One must admit that less than 1000 euros for a 17" notebook with Core 2 Duo processor and Nvidia graphics is a total bargain. However, not all was good news. It took four working days to process my order, even though I placed the order the day Vostro came out (10 July 2007). First I was told that Dell will refund me the difference from the Inspiron so I do not have to worry about payment. Two days later I was told that this is not possible so I have to make another payment. Eventually I paid by a bank transfer since Dell takes ages to unblock the amount of a cancelled order on a credit card and I did not have enough limit for the Vostro. As soon as I made the payment, that was the last I heard of the sales person. He neither replied to any of my emails nor phone calls.

After several calls to Dell's Customer Service, I managed to have the order processed and got a delivery date of 9 August. Three days before this date I still had not heard anything from Dell and the web tracking showed that my Vostro is still in pre-production. I called Dell only to be told that as far as the system is concerned the delivery date is still OK. But the next day I received an email that the delivery is delayed until September. Very unprofessional of Dell, not to inform the customer earlier of such a delay. Eventually my Vostro arrived on the 22 August.

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