Dell's latest business laptop may have odd, retro-like looks but it's crammed full of the latest technology. Is this enough to make it the best portable computer for your workforce? Read our review to find out.
Ultra-portable laptops get all the attention, but for many office workers who don't travel all the time but need a portable computer to carry occasionally from place-to-place the humble 14in and 15in laptop is the workhorse of choice. The Latitude E6420 is Dell's latest business-oriented 14in laptop and, as expected from Dell, it can be customised to have almost everything you need in an office computer.
Although the Latitude E6420 has a good-looking aluminium lid, the rest of the laptop looks utilitarian. The black and silver plastic build has a retro appearance which is only emphasised by the odd orange piping around the keyboard. It's not going to win any beauty awards, but that's hardly a concern for most businesses. More importantly it feels rigid and sturdy, although some of the plastics did creak under pressure more than we'd like. The underside did become a little warm when processor-intensive applications were running, but it wasn’t uncomfortably hot.
The Latitude E6420 has a good-looking aluminum lid, but the rest of the laptop looks utilitarian at best.
The E6420 is chunky and a bit heavy at 2.39kg. This may not sound like much, but paired with its thick build, this isn't a laptop we'd want to carry around all day on trains, planes and automobiles. If you do insist on travelling with it regularly though, you'll benefit from its surprisingly long battery life – it lasted over seven hours in our light usage web browsing test. This is long enough to put some ultra-portable laptops to shame. The lid doesn't have an L-shaped hinge to reduce its height, but it does tilt all the way back so it's parallel to the keyboard so it should be possible to find a comfortable viewing angle when it's placed on your lap in cramped conditions.
Processor: Intel Core i5 2540M, 2.6GHz
Memory: 4GB 667MHz DDR3 RAM
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
Hard disk: 320GB hard disk
Display: 14in 1,366 x 768, LED-backlit screen
Features: microphone, stereo speakers, smartcard reader
Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
Ports: 3 x USB2, 1x USB2/eSATA combo, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 x ExpressCard/54, 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo audio socket
Dimensions: 353x243x31mm (WxDxH)
Warranty: three year C&R warranty with next business day service
OS: Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
Image editing 48
Video encoding 56
Multiple apps 54
Light usage battery life – 7h13m