Dell Latitude Notebook: Workhorse in fancy clothing

Dell’s newest Latitude Notebook, the E5420 is a good looker as well as a good worker. The Latitude series of notebooks have always been a hit with business professionals since these offer good durability and security features, unlike regular notebooks.

| Updated on: Aug 12 2011, 11:29 IST

Dell's Latitude series of notebooks have always been a hit with business professionals since these offer good durability and security features, unlike regular notebooks. With the E5420, Dell has now refreshed their Latitude lineup both cosmetically as well as technically. The notebook looks and feels professional, without looking drab or boring. This can be attributed to the 'Tri-Metal' design that features an anodised Aluminium body and a Magnesium alloy frame. The extra bezel around the screen allows for a wider keyboard. It's not chiclet style, but comfortable to use nonetheless. Weighing in at a little over 2kg, this Latitude feels a bit heavy, but it's very sturdy with a polished look and feel.

Price is right
Pricing for the Latitude E series starts at 61,638. The model we reviewed had Windows 7 Professional, with Intel's Core i7 2620M processor, which runs at 2.7GHz. There's 4GB DDR3 memory and a 320GB hard drive. Some other extras include a higher resolution matte-finish screen (1600x900 pixels) and backlit keyboard. The built-in Intel HD 3000 graphics can capably handle 1080p videos. There's no shortage of connectivity options, either. There's Firewire, HDMI, USB/eSATA combo, USB 2.0 ports, a 54mm ExpressCard slot and a multi-card reader.

Sharp images
The Latitude E5420 is a joy to work with. The high-resolution 14-inch display makes images and text sharp and clear. The LED backlighting provides adequate brightness, though the viewing angles could have been a little better. The trackpad is much better this time (compared to the previous Inspiron) and features multi-touch gestures. It's responsive and smooth, but you'll notice a slight lag, at times. The E5420 is not designed for multimedia, but it still manages to put up a good show.

Hi-def movies play smoothly, but suffer due to the screen's low black levels. The speakers aren't able to deliver loud or crisp sound. Since they're placed at the bottom, sound can be a bit muffled with the laptop on your lap. Even during charging, the notebook seldom gets hot. This is thanks to large ventilation vents on the side, and the new SandyBridge processor. In regular usage, you may expect around three hours of battery life.

what we like
Anodised brushed Aluminium finish is very aesthetic
Doesn't suffer from heating issues even during charging
High resolution 14-inch screen is good for presentations.

what we don't
Works out expensive if you customise the configuration
No option to add a discrete graphics card
Black levels are low, so movie-watching isn't as engaging.

The configuration we received will cost you R82,747. This puts the Latitude E5420 in league with Lenovo's X1. Given a choice between the two, we'd go with the Dell Latitude: Unlike the X1, it doesn't heat up, and looks better, too.

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First Published Date: 25 Jul, 17:23 IST