Well, the new Dells aren’t exactly going to shock anybody speechless, but they look practical and the assurances of ruggedness are heartening. It’s always struck me as strange that the so-called ultra-portables, which are meant to be taken everywhere, almost universally have cheap builds. Of course, most of them cost a lot less than the Dell E4310, too.
Here are the relevant stats for the E4310:
Core i5-540M or 520M at 2.53GHz or 2.4GHz respectively
Up to 4GB DDR3 1066MHz RAM
Integrated graphics (come on now, Dell, HP has discrete graphics on notebooks a quarter the price)
13.3″ LED-backlit 1366×768 LCD
Up to 500GB HDD or 256GB SSD
DVD-writer or Blu-ray player
1xUSB 2.0, 1x eSATA/USB 2.0 (only two USB slots? aw)
Optional 3G modem
Overall… for $1,129 I think you should be expecting more. I get the feeling a lot of the value is in the solid build, but for over a grand you deserve discrete graphics, more than two USB slots, and maybe a HDMI out.
Of course, there are more configuration options and features to be perused, so head on over to Dell to give it a look.