Dell Latitude 2120 review

18 Feb 2012

A rugged, comfortable netbook with a great screen, but it costs as much as a full-sized laptop

Dell Latitude 2120
Price when reviewed 
706
4

With a large battery that doubles as a stand, the Dell Latitude 2120 is by far the largest netbook on test. It has a rugged feel to it, with textured rubber on the top and bottom of the case, and our sample came with a striking red finish. This Dell feels built to last.

Students commented on how comfortable the Latitude 2120 was to use on the desk, where the battery elevates the keyboard to a more comfortable angle. The keyboard is excellent, and of all the netbooks on test, this feels closest to a full-sized laptop. The keys have good travel and the physical volume controls are welcome. The only disappointment is the trackpad, which feels small.

Our test model featured an Atom N455 single-core processor, but we’d recommend upgrading to a dual-core, particularly as Windows 7 Professional comes preinstalled. Still, the 2GB of RAM allowed for comfortable multitasking and performance isn’t bad. Despite a benchmark score of 0.16, the Latitude 2120 is perfectly adequate for standard classroom tasks.

Dell Latitude 2120

The 10.1in, 1,366 x 768 display has an LED backlight, producing a bright, clear picture and crisply rendered text. Although some staff found the resolution a little tough on the eyes, students seemed comfortable, and it helps when looking at busy websites or large spreadsheets. Battery life is another strength: it easily lasted a school day.

Being part of Dell’s Connected Classroom solution, the Latitude is compatible with Dell’s Mobile Computing Station 2 trolley. This not only charges the netbook, but allows updates to be pushed out while the machine is docked: a real benefit to schools planning to deploy a substantial number. It has three USB 2 ports, a multicard reader, a VGA output, 802.11n Wi-Fi and a Gigabit Ethernet port – so connectivity isn’t an issue.

Schools looking for a cheap or ultraportable solution might avoid it, but its screen and keyboard are among the best on test. The only problem is the price. At over £500, it’s more expensive than many full-sized laptops. Only schools in need of such a compact product need apply.

Details

Price ex VAT £588
Price inc VAT £706
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 3
Performance 3

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 265 x 187 x 39mm (WDH)
Weight 1.310kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Atom N455
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel GMA 3150
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 250GB
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no

Other Features

USB ports (downstream) 3
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp

Battery and performance tests

Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.16

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Professional
OS family Windows 7