Dell Latitude 2120 review
A rugged, comfortable netbook with a great screen, but it costs as much as a full-sized laptop
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.
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.
|Price ex VAT||£588|
|Price inc VAT||£706|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||3|
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||265 x 187 x 39mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Atom N455|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel GMA 3150|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|USB ports (downstream)||3|
|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|