Dell Latitude 6430u review

28 Feb 2013

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

Price when reviewed 
923
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £769
Price inc VAT £923
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5
Performance 5

Warranty

Warranty 3yr NBD warranty

Physical specifications

Dimensions 338 x 230 x 22mm (WDH)
Weight 1.630kg
Travelling weight 2.1kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-3427U
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 14.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 4000
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 128GB
Hard disk usable capacity 119GB
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

eSATA ports 1
SD card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
TPM yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 5hr 23min
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.69
Responsiveness score 0.85
Media score 0.71
Multitasking score 0.52

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
OS family Windows 8