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By Andrew Gould 1 April 2009

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The Dell Vostro series of notebooks is aimed specifically at small business users and they are meant to be cheap, but effective. We tested the A860 with Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron pre-installed, instead of Windows Vista.

Build quality is not great and the A860 feels a bit flimsy, everything seems to be able to bend a bit too much.

On the plus side you do get a 15.6" screen that most notebook owners would be proud to show off. You also get Wi-Fi, FireWire, and a card reader.

Our A860 has 512MB of RAM and 2.13 GHz Intel Celeron processor.

This type of performance is on the very entry-level end of the computing scale, so we’d recommend going for a version with at least 1GB of RAM. Despite the basic performance, Hardy Heron makes great use of what the A860 does have and has many advantages over having a performance sapping Windows installed.

Another advantage is that you don’t have to pay any extra for the Windows software. R4999 from Computer Corporation on 08616-08616.

PROS
Nice screen, Ubuntu is not resource intensive
CONS
Build quality is not great, too little RAM, Ubuntu might take some getting use to
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