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Dell Latitude 6430u review

Verdict

Dell adds an Ultrabook to its Latitude range, but the tough-nut chassis and refined ergonomics deserve a better display

Review Date: 28 Feb 2013

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £769 (£923 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

It’s been a long time coming, but Dell has finally launched its first high-end business Ultrabook, the Latitude 6430u. With a toughened chassis that’s been designed to meet MIL-STD-810G military test criteria, and a range of business-friendly features, Dell’s latest is ready to take the fight to Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

Dell Latitude 6430u

If there was a beauty contest for business Ultrabooks, the Latitude 6430u wouldn’t get to wear the sash. Where Lenovo’s wedge-shaped X1 Carbon exudes understated class, the Latitude’s 22mm-thick chassis looks heavy around the waist, and the combination of matte black panels and silver trim look entirely ordinary. It’s no lightweight, either – at 1.63kg, the Dell is 270g heavier than Lenovo’s model.

Yet, even if it lacks finesse, the Latitude 6430u is unusually tough. Dell proudly proclaims that the 6430u meets 14 of the MIL-STD-810G testing criteria, and although they don’t specify exactly which, it certainly feels sturdy. You have to really grapple with the base and lid to get them flexing. Fold the lid flat, and the edge of the display is inset by a couple of millimetres from the metal trim running around the 6430u’s circumference. Accidentally drop the Dell on its corner or edges, and the weight of the fall will be borne by the 6430u’s metal skeleton, rather than the delicate LCD-panel housing.

Dell Latitude 6430u

In terms of comfort, the Dell is as good as it gets. The backlit Scrabble-tile keyboard of our review unit wasn’t perfectly flat – there was a slight bulge in its left-hand side, as well as a little bounce in the base – but the concave keys grip the finger nicely, and each has a lively, crisp action. The touchpad’s position keeps it out of the way of palms and stray thumbs while typing, and Windows 8’s edge-swipe gestures work reliably, as do two-fingered zooming and scrolling motions.

Our review unit came equipped with a 1.8GHz Core i5-3427U processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB Samsung PM830 SSD. It’s a nippy combination, and the Dell rattled through our tests to a result of 0.69 in our Real World Benchmarks. The Samsung SSD does its bit to keep the Dell feeling responsive, too – with sequential read and write speeds of 459MB/sec and 231MB/sec, the SSD launches huge spreadsheets and image files in a blink of an eye.

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User comments

Screen res & docking station

Dell do supposedly offer a 1600x900 option (not full HD, but better than the current res) and more interestingly there's a wireless docking station on the way that sounds quite promising for this model.

By Timelimit on 28 Feb 2013

@Timelimit - Screen resolution

Ah, yes. I saw that mentioned on the 6430u's specification page, but it's not yet possible to configure a model with an HD+, 1,600 x 900 screen. The 1,366 x 768 panel is the only current option.

Anyway, I've asked my Dell contact for a model with the upgraded screen and 6-cell battery, and enquired about the wireless docking station. I'll update this review with further tests and information asap.

By SashaMuller on 28 Feb 2013

15" version

The 15" version does offer a proper 1080p display for very little extra. The battery life on the previous model is sufficient to last all day in normal use.

By tirons1 on 28 Feb 2013

Screen resolution

The HD+ option is now available for this system.

By 68maddog on 28 Feb 2013

Screen resolution

The HD+ option is now available for this system.

By 68maddog on 28 Feb 2013

good Resolution

this is the fit resolution, 1,366 x 768.
thats same with pc desktop. i try it and so good for see...
bright, and clear to see..
powerfull color showing up.
http://seobassist.blogspot.com

By arieph on 1 Mar 2013

@arieph

A normal desktop is 1920x1080p. Only the extreme budget end of the market uses 1366x768.
P.S. Putting a weird link at the bottom of your post makes you look like a spammer.

By tirons1 on 2 Mar 2013

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