Dell Latitude L400
Review If PC Advisor's new sub-notebooks chart has proven anything, it's that one size does not fit all. Last month, readers could have chosen from the ultra-portable 1.6kg Rock, the highly charged but comparatively weighty 1.9kg Elonex and the measured Hi-Grade, a versatile performer that succeeded in most departments without excelling at any. Muddying the waters further is this new release from Dell, a middleweight sub-notebook that combines a considerable turn of speed with a reasonable price tag.
Of course, in the sub-notebooks chart, weight is a relative issue. All of these models are under 2kg, which means they can be thrown into your luggage or carried down the street without a second thought. Even so, if portability is the key issue you won't find the 1.7kg Dell quite as compact as last month's chart-topping Rock Pegasus.
Where the Latitude does hit back is with performance. On paper, the Intel Pentium III 700 isn't perhaps the fastest of chips, but the WorldBench score of 153 (only three points behind the 850MHz Elonex) demonstrates how well Dell has set up this notebook. This is especially so in the light of the slightly disappointing base specifications - in these memory-hungry times, 128MB doesn't seem particularly generous, while the 10GB hard drive lacks the capacity of some rival machines.
Nonetheless, the Dell impresses elsewhere: the 12.1in screen is vivid and colourful, the sound and network facilities are up to scratch, the eight-speed DVD playback is top-notch and a three-year on-site warranty offers added peace of mind.
For maximum portability, the Rock is still the best in the chart (as well as the cheapest). But if you want a sub-notebook that can deliver the highest levels of performance, the Dell Latitude gets our vote. ®
Contact: 0870 152 4699
Warranty: three-year on-site warranty
Processor type: Intel Pentium III
Clock speed: 700MHz
Hard disk: 10GB
Screen size: 12.1in
Graphics card memory: 4MB
CD/DVD drive speed: 24x/8x
This review is taken from the July 2001 issue. All details correct at time of publication.
Copyright © 2001, IDG. All rights reserved.
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