Dell's aluminium-bodied Vostro V13 starts at $449

No need to max out your credit card to get your hands an ultra-thin, aluminum-clad Dell laptop. The PC maker has unveiled the Vostro V13, a skinny 13.3" notebook that melds the looks of the original Adamo with the pricing and hardware specs of your standard consumer ultra-low-voltage laptop.

The Vostro V13 is now available to order from the Small & Medium Business section of Dell's website. Prices start at just $449 with Ubuntu Linux and $599 with Windows 7 Home Premium x86, yet the system nevertheless has an all-aluminum enclosure, a thickness of only 0.65-0.78", and a 3.5-lb weight with the standard six-cell battery. Impressive stuff.

Peel off the aluminum, and you'll find a choice of CULV processors ranging from the Celeron 743 to the Core 2 Duo SU7300, Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a 320GB 7,200-RPM hard drive (although the Linux model has a 250GB 5,400-RPM drive), 802.11g Wi-Fi (only the flagship $649 Vostro V13 has 802.11n), and external Serial ATA connectivity. Also, as you might expect, the 13.3" display panel has a 1366x768 resolution.

You can customize these laptops with up to 4GB of RAM, 500GB of storage capacity, and an external DVD burner, all without breaking the $1,000 mark. Don't expect to get one of these puppies in the mail before December 25 no matter what options you choose, though. Dell quotes a "preliminary ship date" of January 12, 2010 for all three Vostro V13 variants.

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