Dell Latitude Z
Super-slim designer notebook, anyone?
Review If you want a laptop to impress, then a likely choice is a high-end MacBook rather than an amorphous black box Windows notebook, that looks about as cool as a fridge-freezer. With admiring glances in mind, is Dell's Inspiron Latitude Z, a machine the company is heralding as the thinnest and most stylish 16in laptop around.
Form over function? Dell's Latitude Z
Indeed, the Latitude Z is a fine piece of design. The satin finish 'dark cherry' casing looks and feels exquisite, as do the chamfered chrome screen hinges at the rear corners that also house the Ethernet and power sockets. The good looks are matched by the first rate build quality and solidity. The latter being especially important in a machine that, while having a pretty broad footprint of 396 x 272mm, is no more than 20mm thick at its maximum. As with most skinny notebooks the lid will bend if given a good twist, but you have to be pretty brutal.
That solidity hasn't come at the expense of increased weight – at 2kg you couldn't reasonably expect it to be any lighter. Thankfully, Dell hasn't stripped the Z of all the useful stuff in the quest to shave a extra few mm off the thickness. So you still get two USB ports – one of which doubles as an eSATA link – a DisplayPort socket and a 3.5mm headset jack. The Latitude comes with a DisplayPort to VGA adapter with an HDMI version being an optional extra. Absent from the Z is a memory card reader and an optical drive, but the unit does come with a sleek external 8-speed DVD+/-RW slot drive.
The lid houses a widescreen 1600 x 900 backlit LCD panel with a matt finish. That finish takes away the final degree of crystal clarity when watching video, but it cuts down on surface reflections, which is more important for a machine targeting the business user. In use, it is a crisp, bright and colourful display with wide effective viewing angles that should satisfy the vast majority of users.
Press a button next to the lower right hand corner of the screen and that side of the bezel becomes a touch sensitive control panel incorporating what Dell calls EdgeTouch. The area can be used to either launch one of seven selected applications when tapped in a certain place or it can act as one long scroll bar which was how we tended to use it.
Dell hasn't dropped the soap with the keyboard either. The shiny and slightly concave keys are well spaced and pleasant to the touch, though the travel may prove a little short for some tastes. The keyboard is also backlit and the illumination can be set to either on or off or automatic which lights up when you start to type and then switches off when you stop. I had no complaints about the large multi-touch touchpad either which was precise and sensitive in equal measure.
Business users want a keypad!!!
oh my god...
how much for a laptop that looks like it was designed in 1992 by a blind man???
you are having a laugh, dell where is your head at?
Review of a 6+ months old machine?
Sorry, but epic fail:
You did not mention Lenovo X301 as an alternative - it does have smaller screen, but not much smaller screen real estate (1440x900), plus a DVD-RW drive & weighs 30% less.
Why you chose to review a laptop released in Sep 09 (and reviewed in Oct 09) only now I do not understand. You did not even test the one innovative feature - induction charging.
Why not rather review the new Latitude E6510 or E6410?
Or perhaps get some info from Dell:
- The E6510 at least has a Full-HD 1920x1080 screen option @15.6"; is this coming to z600 too?
- will there be a Z lineup = 14" z400, 15" z500?
- when will backlit keyboards be available with with Exx10 series in EU?
PS: sorry for this, looks like I have a bad day :)
So your objections to this review are the spelling of the word 'matt' and the use of benchmarks?
Well, I hate to piss on your parade but you can spell matte (my preference it has to be said) in three ways - mat, matt and matte - when talking about a dull or non-reflective surface and all three are equally good so can I suggest that you buy a bloody dictionary before next spouting off?
Next up, how else would you suggest magazines and web sites try to illustrate comparative performance between different machines other than with a system like PCMark Vantage?
On balance I'd day this is a pretty fair review, and I actually have a Latitude Z. OK, it's a company machine so I didn't have to cough up the £1,800 but I've had the thing for four months and so far I am pretty impressed.
In short you sir, are a twit.
Erm, no compromises you said? 2 USB ports?
I was waiting for you to say "and another two on the other side" or something, but no ...
Then there's the price: 1800 quid? That's crazy money!