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Dell Latitude E-Series: Latitude E6320 review

Verdict

Dell’s ground-up redesign of the Latitude series is destined for the boardroom

Review Date: 9 Feb 2011

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: Free

Overall Rating
0 stars out of 6

PREVIEW: Allow your thoughts to drift into the world of business laptops, and your mind is unlikely to be filled with technicolour potential. With dumpy desktop replacements and dull black portables almost always the order of the day, business all too often means boring. That, however, is a cliché some brands seem keen to dispel – none more so than Dell, with its new Latitude range.

The major surprise is just how much has changed. While the likes of Lenovo’s ThinkPads have retained their classic (some might say dated) all-black design, the Latitude has evolved.

Set against the boxy, jet-black physique of last year’s range, the new models mark a sea-change in Dell’s mobile division. Anodised aluminium lids abound, while those stark, polygonal edges have softened into gentle, classy curves. The premium 6-series models are distinguished from their 5-series counterparts by a subtle orange trim circling the keyboard.

Dell Latitude E6320 - front

The real standout of the group, however, is the 13.3in Latitude E6320, an early pre-production sample of which we were given for this preview. Were it not for the Latitude logo subtly etched into the keyboard’s silver surround, you’d imagine this might be the first glimpse of Dell’s new XPS. For a business laptop, it’s still just the right side of striking – the muted palette of grey and silver stops short of all-out ostentatiousness and retains a serious, workmanlike air.

It’s the transformation in build quality that truly stuns. Previous Latitudes never felt insubstantial, but they wilt next to the new generation. Dell’s redesign has seen the new Latitude emerge with a reinforced magnesium alloy chassis, strengthened further by a ring of alloy running around the circumference of each laptop. With spill-proof keyboards and MIL-STD-810G accreditation across the range, Dell is taking on not only the ThinkPads, but also Panasonic’s Toughbooks at their own game.

If the E6320 is anything to go by, the new design feels indestructible. Despite weighing in at just 1.89kg, the chassis is rock solid and without a hint of flex to be found anywhere; the lid and reinforced metal hinges were taut enough to resist our most aggressive twisting motions. Prod viciously against the display’s rear, meanwhile, and there’s no sign of any show-through on the display itself. It’s clear this laptop will take transatlantic flights and the perils of boisterous baggage-handlers in its stride.

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User comments

Price when reviewed: Free

Can you provide a link? Sounds like a great deal!

By big_D on 10 Feb 2011

Yeah I'll have 3 or 4 if they have some in stock :)

By TimoGunt on 10 Feb 2011

Free???

Sign me up for a container load. I'll find a place to stash them.

By AndyChips on 10 Feb 2011

I've always been an IBM/Lenovo fan but with this having a trackpoint I have to say I'm very interested! As long as it's a matte scree, of course.

The rest of it looks bang on from the design to the specs.

By jordanrussell on 20 Feb 2011

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