Dell making some of the best laptops and desktop PCs around doesn't mean it isn't without its problems. For a lot of people, just navigating its product lineup can be really confusing. Not just deciding which laptop within a family, such as Inspiron, but which of the many product families Dell has that you should be choosing from in the first place.
Things are made a little more confusing by the existence of both consumer and business-focused products, which are sold side by side in the same store, look quite similar to each other, are priced similarly, and have comparable specs. The good news is that you can't really make the wrong choice, but there's one easy way to make the right choice.
Dell Vostro for business, Inspiron for home
The Vostro and Inspiron lineups are actually very similar, but one is targeted at the enterprise market and the other at the home user. It's not entirely this straightforward, but it doesn't take much examination of the respective products to see that there are common themes in hardware and price.
Inspiron can ultimately boast a lower entry cost, in part thanks to targeting the consumer that often shops on tighter budgets than business buyers. But throughout the range into the higher-spec equipment, there are comparable Inspiron and Vostro laptops.
What this also means is that assuming you're happy with the price and the spec, you aren't making a bad choice if you should happen to buy from the family you're not the target audience for. They're all going to work just as well.
Business-specific perks for Vostro
The hardware is very similar, but the reason that enterprise-targeted machines like the Vostro family exist at all is for the additional perks that come from Dell that a normal consumer wouldn't need.
For example, on some of the laptops, such as the Dell Vostro 5510, you get a year of Dell's ProSupport Plus plan included, which covers even accidental damage and ensures the buyer retains their hard drive whenever claims are made. This sort of thing could be attractive to a regular consumer, but it's the type of extra care enterprise customers demand. And that's one of the big benefits of having a dedicated enterprise portfolio, tailoring a support package to go with the hardware.
There are also other benefits, such as Windows Autopilot. This is a set of tools that can be used to deploy multiple machines into the enterprise environment with ease, something you won't get or even need on an Inspiron laptop if you're buying it for personal use.
It even extends to features like Ethernet. It sounds like a pretty common hardware addition, but on consumer laptops across the market, it's becoming increasingly rare. Whereas a Vostro laptop will make it more of a priority since the business user traditionally will connect to an internal network more often over a cable than wirelessly.
So, it isn't an exact science, but the easiest thing to do is consider why you're buying a laptop. If it's for personal use, go with Inspiron. If it's for business, then Vostro is your best bet.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.