Dell Vostro 5460 Notebook User Review

*This device is a loaned review unit from Dell Malaysia*

Dell calls this the “Thinnest Vostro Ever”, the Dell Vostro 5460 is a 14″ Ultrabook (Intel powered thin and light laptop) powered by 3rd Generation “Ivy Bridge” Intel Core Processor. The latest Intel chip, as of time of writing, of course, is the 4th Generation “Haswell” Intel Core Processor. But that doesn’t mean this laptop I have with me is less powerful.

Oh no. In fact, this Vostro is quite a powerful machine. One that you can be sure to serve you with amazing performance for your home or professional use.

Thanks to Dell Malaysia, I’ve been using the Dell Vostro for personal and blogging use for a few weeks now. I also happen to be writing this blogpost on the Vostro 5460 itself. So, here’s my review.

 

Hardware Overview

Vostro 5460 Notebook
Dell Vostro 5460

Here’s a quick specifications overview of the Dell Vostro 5460:-

  • 14″ HD Widescreen LED TrueLife display (1366 x 768)
  • 3rd Gen Intel Core i3 OR i5 processors with HD 4000 Graphics OR (optional) 2GB DDR3 NVIDIA GeForce GT630M graphics
  • 500 GB Hard Disk Drive (HDD) + 32  GB SSD (for Ultrabook configuration only)
  • Powered by Windows 8 OS (64 bit) OR Linux Ubuntu (Standard) OS
  • Integrated stereo speakers + dedicated sub-woofer (powered by HD audio with Waves MaxxAudio 4.0)
  • 720 HD 1MP Webcam with

    microphones

  • 18.3 mm thin, weighing 1.54 kg
  • 3-cell Li-Ion polymer (non-removable) battery (up to 5 hours battery life)
  • Ports : 3X USB 3.0, HDMI, Ethernet LAN (RJ-45), SD Card Reader, headphone / microphone combo jack
  • Connectivity : WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Ethernet LAN
  • Colours : Graphite Silver or Fire Red

Full hardware specifications can be found on Dell Singapore’s website for Dell Vostro 5460 HERE

However, the product page did specify that this particular model is currently unavailable and recommended the “comparable system” of the Dell Vostro 5470 here that’s also available in Dell Malaysia’s site and market.

Fire Red Dell Vostro 5460 - Graphite Silver & Fire Red

As you can see, there are multiple configurations that you can choose from – standard or Ultrabook configuration, Windows or Linux Operating System, Intel or NVIDIA Graphics, silver or red colour.

 

Unboxing the Dell Vostro 5460

Dell Vostro 5460 - Unboxing
Dell Vostro 5460 – Unboxing

Inside the brown cardboard box packaging of the Dell Vostro 5460, you’ll find the beautiful brushed metal Vostro 5460 laptop, 3-pin power cable, power adapter and a simple user manual.

Dell Vostro 5460 - brushed metal & Dell logo

I have the Graphite Silver version of the laptop, running on Windows 8 with an Intel Core i5 processor. I absolutely love the brushed metal finishing on the lid. Gives the laptop a nice, premium outlook, and feels very solid when you run your fingers across the aluminium Dell logo in the middle.

See Also : Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite Reviews (4-parts) for CNET Asia Tech Factor

 

Design and Build Quality

Dell Vostro 5460 - Hardware 1
Ports and connectivity around the Vostro 5460

At a mere 18.3 mm thin, the laptop weighs in at 1.54 kg, which in my books is not exactly the lightest Ultrabook in the market. Still, the laptop is rather sleek-looking but kinda hefty for my personal liking.

Dell doesn’t disappoint when it comes to ports and connectivity on the Vostro 5460. There’s 3, count it, 3 USB 3.0 ports, 2 on the left and 1 on the right, one of which comes with Power Share. The power-in port is on the left, along with the SD card Reader. On the right, you get your HDMI port, as well as an Ethernet LAN port.

Dell Vostro 5460 - Ethernet LAN port
Ethernet LAN port has a lower lip to expand to fit the cable head

I like that the Ethernet LAN port has the lower lip to expand to fit your LAN cable. When not in use, it maintains the slim thinness of the device. The little design consideration here matters so much.

Dell Vostro 5460 - Bottom

Vents are at the back and bottom of the laptop, letting your machine breathe when in use. Good thing though, it doesn’t get hot in use. For the most part, the fan inside was not too noisy. Only after I’ve updated the OS to the latest Windows 8.1 and was trying to update the drivers and some software, when the laptop struggled a little and fan went berserk. The loud fan was very noticeable when I had 2-3 drivers and softwares installing simultaneously, not to mention it hung for a bit. Other than this, in normal use, there has been no issues.

The unfortunate thing though, is the placement of the speakers at the bottom and bottom sides of the laptop. This causes muffled sounds when blasting music while I worked. I only wish laptop designs of the future will incorporate front facing speakers at the top of the laptop, ala HTC BoomSound front facing speakers on HTC One.

Dell Vostro 5460 - Keyboard
Full sized chicklet keyboard

With the Power On/Off button on the top right hand side of the open lid of the keyboard, it is an odd position for me, but one I like for its dedicated position that’s easy to find.

The keyboard is full sized, 6 rows, with dedicated Function keys, number keys and nicely spaced keys for easy typing. The keyboard has a nice travel, which makes typing truly enjoyable. I like good depth and travel on keyboard and this one satisfy me immensely. Because it’s a full sized keyboard, speed typing was easy with minimal mistakes.

Unfortunately, there are 2 minor annoyance for me – the teeny tiny Arrow Up / Page Up and Arrow Down / Page Down half-buttons, compared to the regular sized Left / Home and Right / End buttons on the bottom right. This design decision is reminiscent of my personal Acer Aspire S7 with their half button arrow keys. No likey.

The other annoyance –  no backlit keyboard. Having tried multiple laptops and keyboards, I have grown to prefer backlit keyboards. Maybe it’s because I work in dim or dark rooms (muahahah) or maybe it’s just a standard feature I’ve grown accustomed to. The missing back lighting on the Vostro 5460 was disappointing for me.

Dell Vostro 5460 - Trackpad
Generously large trackpad

Boy, is the trackpad huge!!!

With a faint line in the middle of the bottom half of the trackpad, distinguishing your left and right clicks, the large trackpad works well. It’s a multi touch gesture trackpad as well, being handy for two-finger scrolling when you read long webpages.

Dell Vostro 5460 - fully open

Did I mention that I really like the brushed aluminium finishing on the lid and palm rest on the inside of the laptop?

The Vostro 5460, unlike my Acer Aspire S7 or Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite, doesn’t open it’s lid all the way to lay 180 degrees flat. The lid opens up to about 120 degrees only, while still providing a good viewing angle on the HD display screen.

 

Software Overview

The review unit I have is powered by Windows 8 OS, which was immediately upgradeable to the latest Windows 8.1 OS which is downloadable on Windows Store.

Dell Vostro 5460 - System

It might take about an hour or so, depending on your Internet speed, to download and install the latest Windows 8.1 OS, but trust me, it’s worth it – if not for the speed in performance, but also for the inclusion of the Start icon in Desktop mode.

Dell Vostro 5460 - non touchscreen
Boo Hoo! No touchscreen

The new Windows 8 OS is redesigned to work best with touchscreen, in the age of touchscreen smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately though, this Vostro 5460 is a mid range machine that doesn’t come with a touchscreen. 🙁

See Also : HP Pavilion Touchsmart 11 Notebook User Review

Dell Vostro 5460 - Getting Started
Dell’s tutorial to “Getting Started with Windows 8”

In case you’re not familiar with how the new tile based Windows 8 work, Dell included a quick “Getting Started” guide to teach you all about the new OS and how to use and navigate around your new laptop.

Remember, the Windows 8 laptop has a tile based “Modern UI” where you include shortcut to heavily design Windows 8 apps, but also a “Desktop mode” that brings you to the old windows and softwares you’re used to from Windows 7 and before.

See Also : 6 Things You Need To Know About Windows 8

Dell Vostro 5460 - Charms
Swipe in from the right or point your cursor to top right to access “Charms”

One quick action you need to familiarise yourself with, is the Windows 8 “Charms” menu to access “Search” (universal search of apps and files on your laptop), “Share” (share whatever you’re working on with other apps), “Start” (goes back to the tile based Modern UI), “Devices” (list of connected device, either on bluetooth, USB / HDMI ports, etc) and “Settings” (access settings menu of the open app).

With a non-touchscreen laptop, you can access the “Charms” by either pointing your cursor to the top right side of the screen or with the Vostro 5460’s multi-touch trackpad, swiping in from the right side of the trackpad.

Dell Vostro 5460 - App & Settings
Apps and Settings

While you’ll likely only place the most used apps (which also doubles as a live, updated widget) and shortcuts in the tile based Modern UI, you can start typing or use the “Search” function to view all installed apps.

Going into the “Settings” menu lets you access other functions like personalisation, linking your Microsoft and other social media accounts, Windows Update and more.

Dell Vostro 5460 - Windows Store
Download more “Modern” Windows 8 apps in Windows Store

It is advisable that you sign in to the Vostro 5460 with your Microsoft ID. This can be your Hotmail, MSN, Live or Outlook ID. This way, Microsoft saves your personalised settings, history of apps you’ve downloaded and more. So, you can easily restore this when you switch to another Windows 8 device in future.

Because the tile based Modern UI supports design-centric Windows 8 apps, you can visit the Windows Store (usually already a default tile on your Start screen) to download more apps. Anything ranging from social media, photo editing, news reading, music, books, games and more.

Dell Vostro 5460 - Snap
“Snap” is a Windows 8 OS function for multi-tasking

As I’ve mentioned in my previous Windows 8 OS laptop reviews before, one of my favourite feature is the “Snap” function that allows you to have 2 active window side by side for better multi-tasking. You can “snap” one Windows 8 app and another Windows 8 app, or one Windows 8 app and “desktop” mode.

Dell Vostro 5460 - Dell Backup & McAfee
Pre-installed app includes utilities like “Dell Backup and Recovery” and McAfee Anti virus

The Vostro 5460 comes with a bunch of pre-installed apps and softwares, as most laptops today do. There are some that may be helpful, some you can chalk it up as bloatwares that you might want to delete.

  • Dell Backup and Recovery  – data protection and easy recovery of data
  • McAfee Security Advisor – Anti Virus and Malware protection
  • Dell’s In-Home Service after Remote Diagnosis – enables you to have a technician and/or part dispatched to your home following remote diagnosis for issues covered by the Limited Hardware Warranty
  • Intel Anti-Theft Technology and Identity Protection Technology Anti-Theft will be teminating in Jan 2015 (notice here) but Identity Protection Technology (IPT) provides added layer of built-in security for better identity protection for online transactions (invisible to you and thieves)

…and many more like Dell Digital and Dell Support Center. Not including the multiple Windows 8 app Microsoft pre-installed on every Windows 8 laptops (ie, News, Weather, Bing search, Sports, Map, Finance, Weather, Health & Fitness, Food & Drink, Reading List, etc).

Dell Vostro 5460 - Windows 8

My normal Windows 8 laptop setup includes removing a lot of pre-installed Windows 8 apps (tile based Start menu apps) and using the “Desktop” mode mostly, with desktop softwares like photo editor, Microsoft Office and cloud storage apps.This enables me to free up more storage space, and also reduces the processing power for unused apps so I can experience the laptop’s performance better.

With the Vostro 5460, I didn’t quite touch the default settings and pre-installed apps. I also held back on installing too much of my own softwares. Since I live my digital mostly in the cloud (Gmail, Dropbox, Evernote, Chrome browser, web apps), the Vostro 5460 works rather well for me.

The system didn’t show any slowdown when I edited photos in this post using Fotor for Windows that I downloaded on the Vostro 5460, and wrote this blogpost using WordPress on the Chrome browser. At the time of writing, I have well over 10 tabs open in Chrome and still, no lagging whatsoever.

Performance wise, I am happy to report that the Vostro 5460 can certainly handle your work and personal computing needs – with multiple software running, and multiple browser tabs open.

Good. Good.

 

Battery Life

Dell reported the non-removable 3-cell Li-Ion battery can last up to 5 hours.

In my tests however, I only managed a little under 4 hours of use.

Not the best battery life, in my opinion, but not too bad either. For a mid-range laptop like this, 4-5 hours of use is a standard benchmark.

However, I am happy to report, that this Vostro 5460 has since been replaced by the refreshed Dell Vostro 5470 (product page here) which comes with Intel’s 4th Gen “Haswell” Core Processor, which offers better speed, performance and better battery management. And even comes with a touchscreen configuration.

 

Pricing and Availability

With the multiple configurations for you to choose from, the Dell Vostro 5460 is available in 2 versions:-

  • With Linux Ubuntu (standard) starts at RRP of RM 1,549
  • Ultrabook with Windows 8 starts at RRP of RM 2,199

However, if you’d like a refreshed version of this Vostro 14″ series, do check out the newer Dell Vostro 5470 with different configurations, with pricing ranging from RM 1,999 to RM 2,549.

 

Conclusion

I thoroughly enjoyed my time reviewing this Dell Vostro 5460, along with a number of other laptops that I have been reviewing lately. Where does this Vostro 5460 stand though?

I would recommend this for those of you looking for a mid price laptop that’s powerful for your work and/or personal needs, running on Windows 8 OS but don’t quite care about touchscreen capabilities.

The Vostro 5460 has a good keyboard and trackpad. The processor is powerful enough for your multi-tasking needs (no heavy image / video editing, of course). And the 4-5 hour battery life is good enough for your meetings and computing on-the-go. A laptop thin and portable enough that doesn’t break your back (or shoulder).

Furthermore, Dell has always been a name that people recognise for consistently producing great laptops and desktops. Within their Vostro series, this 14″ Dell Vostro 5460 is one that you should consider in your hunt, if this fits your criteria.

Thanks again, Dell Malaysia for giving me this opportunity to hang on to this Vostro 5460 for close to 2 months now. Truly enjoyed my time reviewing this machine. Another good job with this Vostro 5460.

 

 

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