The Dell Latitude E6420 targets the business user, hence its robust casing and assortment of security options.
The Latitude E6420 measures 352 x 324 x 24mm, and weighs 2.4kg. The metal casing is attractive and feels durable. The lid is covered with brushed aluminum, giving the notebook a professional appearance. On the other hand, the interior is an expanse of plastic. Lets take a look at some Dell Latitude E6420 pictures:
Our test unit ran on an Intel Core i3 CPU with 4GB of RAM, HARD DRIVE. The i3 model costs $1250 whereas the Core i5 and i7 models start at $1200 and $1699 respectively. Dell bucks the trend for island-style keyboards with a return to the traditional adjacent keys. These keys are consequently satisfyingly large, although their faintly rubberized surface leads to friction when typing, which resulted in error-laden typing at speed.
The edges and wrist rests of the Dell Latitude E6420 are constructed from rubberized plastic, and again, it led to friction when we were testing the notebook. Doubtless users can adapt to the particular quirks of the E6420, but for anyone who uses more than one notebook, whether at home or in the office, adapting might be more difficult.
The keyboard is spill-proof, and any liquid drains away wonderfully. The right-hand side of the keyboard offers a few dedicated buttons for media control – instant muting or skip functionality is a bonus on a mid-range notebook.
One thing which didn’t please us was the thick, clumsy bezel around the 14-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display. The display itself could have rendered deeper blacks, but is bright and clear nonetheless, certainly adequate for presentations or spreadsheets, though it can’t support 1080p video.
The Dell Latitude E6420 touchpad is quite small but its texture makes it pleasant to use, and the rubberized touchpad buttons are large and responsive. Anyone averse to touchpads can use the trackpoint cursor control, the knob-type control situated in the centre of the keyboard. Dell have thoughtfully included a bunch of duplicate buttons above the touchpad so users can navigate single-handedly.
The standard Dell Latitude E6420 does not include a webcam, so for video conferencing you’ll need to stump up for an optional extra. The same is true of the fingerprint reader – it’s not included on the base models.
Connectivity options includes VGA and HDMI sockets, three USB-2 ports, an eSata/USB-2 combination port, integrated headphone-mic jack, ExpressCard slot, and Smartcard reader. The smartcard is particularly popular with security-conscious folk, since it allows users to access their computer via a key card, with a password, if they wish. VGA and HDMI sockets are here too.
Performance-wise, the Latitude E6420 is not designed for video editing or hardcore gameplay, but office applications – spreadsheets, presentations, multi-tab browsing, and document editing – are all well within its capabilities,
The Windows 7 32-bit OS on the test model can’t utilize the full 4GB of memory.
The 20 open browser tabs + video streaming + virus scan in the background antics of higher spec machines are beyond the E6420. Demanding games are similarly out of the question.
These are acceptable failings, but the flat-out battery test delivered only 1 hour 52 minutes, although moderate usage should double that. We can’t help feeling Dell might have ensured the Latitude E6420 could at least provide six or seven hours of mobile computing, given the lack of a dedicated graphics card.
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