Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another Day, Another Laptop

I've spent most of the weekend and the last couple of days migrating to yet another "new" laptop (that again explains the gap in my posts). I traded in my trusty Dell Latitude D620 for a new D630, and let me tell you... meh.

The D630 has a better CPU (a Dual Core 2 T7500 2.2Ghz), 4GB of RAM (of which only 3 are available to the operating system, see my Vista SP1 review) and a dedicated Nvidia video card with 128MB (as opposed to the shared, onboard I had in the D620). All of which mean that I've progressed from a 3.1 on the Windows Experience Index (see image here) to a...

Yes, that's right, a 4.0 (out of 10). And the main factor that dragged it down? (from 5.1 - not a great number either) - the graphics card. Oh well, at least it's not one of the new Nvidia 8400 that will burn your laptop down.

Ok, so Dell's Latitude line is not the fastest, sexiest, performer-est line of laptops. We've established that. But Dell is aiming to change our opinion by upgrading to the entire line.

The Latitude 'E' models were announced yesterday. Other than the new Centrino 2 family of CPUs from Intel, you can now enjoy:
  1. SSD (Solid State Drives - no moving parts, so it's more secure and consumes less energy)
  2. Longer battery life (Dell claims up to 19 hours (!) - I'll believe it when I see it)
  3. Remote deletion of all info on your machine, should you ever lose it (can't wait for the fun that will ensue once someone hacks that feature smile)
  4. A new feature called Latitude On - allowing you access to your files and email without booting into the OS. This is achieved by a smaller CPU that will boot a stripped-down Linux version. Again, nice but hackable.
  5. HDMI ports
  6. Better designed chassis with a new logo design (not really a feature)
  7. A panelty for asking for Windows XP - yep, it'll cost you $99 to avoid Vista
But the 2 new models that join the family, that caught my attention are the ultraportables: E4200 (12." screen) and the E4300 (13.3" screen) featuring better technology and design than the current XPS line (see my review).
Prices are not confirmed on these 2 models yet, but since they're meant for companies (i.e. you can charge whatever you like, the company can write it off), I guess I won't be able to afford one sad

You can find all the new Latitudes here. Until my employer upgrades to these, me and my new D630 will toil along at half-speed...

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