Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard layout is classic, no nonsense, and you'll get used to it in seconds. What you won't get used to is the build quality.
It feels soft, rubbery, and there's a lot of flex in the center. The touch sensitive multimedia keys, on the other hand, are quite good. All in all, Dell could have done a lot better.
Unlike the 1310, the 1510 has a properly sized touchpad, but size alone doesn't make it great. It feels slow and unresponsive, and sometimes it just fails to figure out where your fingertip is to begin with. The touchpad keys feel soft, and the fact that they are recessed doesn't help either.
Ergonomics, everyday use
A no-nonsense connector layout and a note of sensible user-friendliness is something we've grown to expect from Dell, and the Vostro 1510 fares well in the ergonomics department, although there are some minor issues.
On the left side you'll find an ExpressCard slot, two USBs, a cooling grill and a rather flimsy wireless button.
Turning right, we have two more USBs, which would have been a bit more useful had they been placed further towards the back. The slot-in DVD is a nice touch, as it helps keep the design uncluttered.
Power, VGA and LAN connectors are situated at the back. Once again there's no video out of any kind, which could be a drawback for certain users.
Dell decided to place the audio connectors at the front, which isn't the best solution as audio cables will get in the way if you use the Vostro in your lap. Also at the front, the 4-in-1 memory card reader and LED status indicator.
Unlike the 13-inch unit, the 15-inch Vostro doesn't feature a mono speaker in the front of the chassis, as there's plenty of space for its stereo speakers along the sides of the keyboard. The sound quality is average for this price class, meaning it's not sufficient for users who tend to watch video on their notebooks or play some tunes. This is hardly a drawback, as this is a business model and the sound quality and volume are on par with similar models from most vendors.
The tiny fan does a good job keeping the Vostro 1510 cool, and it doesn't make much noise in the process either. Even under load, chassis temperatures rarely exceeded 33-35°C. This is quite good considering it's based on a 90nm chipset and uses a 65nm CPU, albeit on a relatively low clock.
Battery life was average, with just over two and a half hours with max brightness and active wireless. You can also get a 9-cell battery which should easily provide you with upwards of three and a half hours of endurance.