Dell Vostro 14 5481 Review

32

This year more and more business laptops start to adopt two-sided narrow bezels, and the Dell Vostro 14 5481 is one of them.

Specification

Screen 14.0-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS screen
Processor Intel Core i5-8265U 1.6 GHz (up to 3.9 GHz)
TDP 15W
Graphics card NVIDIA GeForce MX130 2GB GDDR5
Memory 8GB DDR4 2666MHz
Storage 128GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD
Ports 2x USB 3.1, 1x USB 2.0, USB Type-C,1x RJ45, an HDMI, a SD card reader, 3.5mm audio/mic
Battery 42 Wh
OS Windows 10
Weight 1.55kg (without AC adapter)

Appearance

Dell Vostro 14 5481 has an extremely similar appearance design to Vostro 14 5471. Although it features a 14-inch display, thanks to the narrow bezel design, it is about a 13-inch laptop’s size.
size
The Vostro 14 5481 is the first laptop which adopts narrow bezel design among the Vostro series. With a 7.75mm narrow bezel on both sides, it still places the camera over the display.
narrow bezel
Besides, this business laptop’s thickness is 18.13mm, and it weighs 1.55kg. Among 14-inch laptops, it shows great portability.
weight
Its top and back covers use the metal material. The metal back cover brings this laptop a better heat dissipation performance.
metal top cover
Compared to its predecessor, this laptop’s biggest change is its narrow bezel design. This design has greatly improved the laptop’s portability and visual shock.
appearance design

Display

The laptop features a 14-inch full HD display with the resolution of 1920 pixels and 1080 pixels. This anti-glare display delivers a distinct image. Besides, it provides a wide viewing angle. We use the Spyder5 Elite to test this full HD display. According to the test results, this display’s sRGB color gamut reaches 65%, NTSC color gamut is 46%, and brightness is 231nit. The results show that this 14-inch display reaches the mainstream level among same-level laptops.
display
sRGB color gamut
NTSC color gamut

Keyboard and Touchpad

Its full-size keyboard features moderate key travel. In general, this keyboard brings a good hand feel. In the meanwhile, the keyboard supports two-level white backlit. In this way, the user can easily type in low light. As for its touchpad, it supports Windows multi-gesture operation.
keyboard
touchpad
backlit
The component in the top right corner is the power button. Its fingerprint reader module is integrated into this power button. As we all know, the fingerprint reader is quite important to business laptops. This fingerprint reader guarantees the user’s data security. According to our test, this fingerprint reader can recognize the user’s fingerprint accurately. With this fingerprint reader and Windows Hello, this laptop can provide a more excellent and data-security user experience.
power button

Ports

As a business laptop, the Vostro 14 5481 owns a diverse variety of ports. On the left side, this laptop provides the power interface, a multi-function Type-C port, the HDMI port, two USB 3.1 ports, and the 3.5mm audio port. The ports on the right side include a lock slot, an RJ45 port, a USB 2.0 port, and one SD card reader.
port on the left
port on the right
In general, the Vostro 14 5481 has a good performance with regard to its display, keyboard, fingerprint reader and port.

Hardware

The version we test is powered by Intel Core i5-8265U processor. This laptop comes with 8GB DDR4 2666 and 128GB PCI-E SSD, coupled with 1TB HDD. Besides, it features a GeForce MX130 2GB DDR5.
processor

CPU

The i5-8265U processor’s core code is Whiskey Lake. Built on the 14nm manufacturing process, this chip has four cores and eight threads. Its frequency is 1.6GHz which can reach up to 3.9GHz. Besides, its L3 cache is 6GB, and TDP is 15W. On the CINEBENCH R15, the chip’s multi-core score is 553cb, and its single-core score is 160cb. According to the test results, the i5-8265U chip has good performance.
CPU specification
CINEBENCH R15

Graphics Card

GeForce MX130 2GB DDR5 is an entry-level graphics card. Based on the 28nm process, it has a GM108 core and 384 unfiled shaders, with bus width 64 Bit and GPU clock reaching 1109MHz. On the Sky Driver of the 3DMARK, this graphics card’s final score is 7378. Judged from its score, this GeForce MX130 2GB DDR5 has better performance than GT940MX.
GeForce MX130 2GB DDR5
GeForce MX130 2GB DDR5 score

SSD

The 128GB PCI-E SSD supports NVMe protocol. On CrystalDiskMark, this SSD’s sequential read speed is 1497MB/s, and sequential write speed reaches 798MB/s. According to the results, this PCI-E SSD has much better performance than SATA SSD.
SSD test
On AIDA64, the i5-8265U processor’s TDP is around 15W with its core temperature around 78℃ under the mode of the Stress CPU and stress FPU.
system performance

Battery Life

Under the Work accelerated mode of PCMARK8, the battery life is up to 5 hours with WiFi connection. If the user goes on a business trip with it, the laptop can work approximately 9 hours. Besides, this battery supports fast charging. The laptop can get 80% charged within an hour.
battery life

Summary

As Vostro’s first narrow-bezel business laptop, the Vostro 14 5481 has quite a good performance. This affordable business laptop boasts an outstanding appearance design. In addition, it provides a good display and keyboard. Most importantly, this laptop has a two-year warranty. For businessmen, the Vostro 14 5481 is a good choice.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Is Dell Vostro 5481: 8th i7-8565U Processor, 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, RAM: 16GB, DDR4, 2666MHz a good choice? Needs are: multitasking (word, excel, multiple Chrome tabs open).

    Maybe anyone has this device – does it get hot or loud?

    p.s. Or maybe is asus ux433fn a better choice?

    • If that’s what you are doing, then the above configuration is over-spending. You won’t see the difference between i7-8565U and i5-8265u. 512GB SSD is expensive, you can opt for 256GB SSD + 1TB HD. You don’t need 16GB memory, unless you regularly host multiple virtual machines. Windows 10 will take up less than 4GB to 8GB is sufficient, even if you open multiple Chrome tabs. You may think you need a fast machine but as a human, you only focus on one tab at a time.

      For a desktop CPU, there is big difference between i5 (4 core 8 threads) and i7 (6 core 12 threads). But for mobile CPU, both i5 and i7 are the same (4 core 8 threads). You can save some money and think of upgrading to new laptop in 3-4 years time when this will become obsolete. Don’t waste the money.

    • The Asus UX433 is a consumer model, not as reliable. This Dell Vostro is business oriented, so it has shock proof and other sturdy design except for military reliability tests (those are like Thinkpad T-series or X-series).

      This Dell Vostro is very sturdy.

  2. Just got this laptop. Right from the fabric the display is dull, but you can make the sharpness and colors on the display pop much more by doing the following:

    1. Use the windows calibration tool
    2. Then, use the Intel UHD-graphic control panel

    You’re welcome!

    Now we can enjoy this laptop!

  3. 5 hours – how you reach it? or my battery is wrong and I should bring it to service and they should replace my batter. My laptop is new, I just added an additional ram card and SSD. But after 2 hours 15 % remains.

    Most of those 2 hours I was not even near the computer, just left running chrome with few tabs and some other programs which do not use much resources.

    Tested on Xubuntu 18

      • actually I started now getting longer times than 2 hours. Turning on battery saver on windows. Can live – after work at home there is enough battery till next day. During work day I recharge at my office (computer is same for work and home)

  4. I have bought a new Dell Vostro 5481 at 61500/, but I have this small confusion. I see in the pics there are 3 stickers Nvidia GeForce, Intel i5 8th gen, and some other sticker at the left corner of the laptop.
    But in my laptop its only one Intel i5 8th gen sticker, would I be worried?
    Is there any other way to check about the graphics card?
    And what is that sticker on the left side?

    • Maybe try opening the Windows Device manager? The dedicated Nvidia graphics chip should be there. It it’s not, your computer probably only has the built-in UHD 620 Intel graphics.

  5. From what I understand, unlike old Vostro models, heating up-fan noise and battery life seems a deal-breaker to me. Anyone else has experienced these issues?

  6. Heating up, fan noise and battery life are fundamental problems of this relatively new device then? Anyone has experienced these issues?

    • I saw a 5481 heat dissipation test on other websites.

      In the fully loaded state, the CPU temperature is up to 94°C, stable at 84°C, power consumption is 16 W, and the frequency is maintained at 2.9 GHz.

      The graphics card temperature is up to 66°C and the frequency is 888.3 MHz.

      In general, the heat dissipation performance of Dell’s 5481 is very general. In the stress test, the CPU has no problem, and the video memory frequency has dropped drastically, from the original 1253MHz to 400MHz, which will have a great impact on the video memory bandwidth.

        • So would you recommend it? I cannot find this model in any showroom around here…what about the touchpad/screen? I would appreciate some comprehensive review.

          • 1. I can say its better than current generation MacBook, affordable version of XPS 13.
            2. SSD/RAM is upgradable and worth investing except battery which gives only 5hrs of usage with wifi and missing thunderbolt port that does not concern me.
            3. Its more like business/student laptop where rendering/gaming stuffs might need a turbo boost. Good for coding, visualizations, photo editing and consume media. And blender tool works great.
            4. Touchpad is doing its job well and the screen resolution is 2k, 16:9 which you might feel bit uncomfortable in reading. The screen feels small but Windows automatically adjust the text size and blur.

            Feel free for any more questions 🙂

  7. Thanks. I have a couple more concrete questions, if I may.
    1.I was mostly curious about the screen. Because my other option is the Lenovo 530s-14 inch. However, they use very glossy Gorilla Glass (don´t know why when it doesn´ t have a touch screen). However, Lenovo´s screen is much brighter (over 300 nits), how is Vostro 5481 doing in this regard? Is it visible also outside/in a train? (I hope it is, since it´s matte screen).
    2. How about the touch pad? I have bad experience with them on Dell mid/low notebooks, they are usually very squeaky and feel like they are going to break.
    3. Battery – is it really only 5hrs on wifi? What ist the most you could get?
    4. How sturdy is the body? Mainly the hinges. Is the whole body plastic? I am about to get rid of aluminium body HP Envy, so I am quite worried.
    5. Lastly, how about the overheating and annoying fan turning on at not that complicated tasks?

    About my personal needs: I will use it as a mobile office mostly, so MS Office, videos, occasionaly Photoshop, Animations, VERY rarely video cutting. Games – I don’t think so.

    Thanks a lot!

    • 1. I did not use it much outside. Maybe like 30 minutes in restaurant outside under big umbrella. So it was ok, did not see problems in that case. Do not know about how it would be under direct sun.

      2. Touchpad – ok, but I do not use it much. I usually connect big keyboard and mouse. If I type with laptops keyboard, I sometimes accidentally touch touchpad and so cursor goes to another place, but that is probabaly with most laptops. Also it feels like dry. I have acer laptop, and when I touch touchpad, the plastic feels not so dry and slides harder. After sliding on this touchpad it feels like I want to put finger in the water so it would not be so dry.

      3. I did not try to reach a record but really I dont expect more than 5 hours. THe first day I used it lasted like 2 hours or less and I thought they are really lieing about 5 hours. But I see if I use battery saver, maybe it can last 5 hours.

      4. How sturdy – do not know, did not fell or something. Feels like hole body is plastic.
      5. Fan I do not hear turning on at not complicated tasks.

      I use it mainly for programming with PHPStorm IDE, chrome.

      GTA 4 is playable with lower grapshics settings, I get about 40 fps.

      One thing is annoying really – the crouching of speakers, I mean those which I connect to laptop. For example music is of. Then I start the music, and I hear crouch sound like if I would turn on the speakers. If I stop music, again crouch as if turn off speakers. And with music its not so big problem, but biggest is when there are notification sounds and no music. So it it crouches before every notification sound and after it – same way as with music. Just that notifications are more frequent, if I use some chat application. Super annoying. Like turn off spearkers after each notification and turn them on before again.

      Plese somebody help me solve this problem. Maybe the software is turning of electricity for the speaker socket?

    • This laptop is very delicate especially the screen. Already replaced the screen once. thanks for the quick dell support. Touchpad is not an issue and smooth. This laptop is only best for portability and productivity.

  8. Would you recommend this Vostro or the Thinkpad E490? They are both in the same price range and have similar characteristics.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here