Security features include a contactless RFID smart-card reader, fingerprint scanner and something called FaceAware that uses the 2Mp web cam and some facial recognition software to put the system into standby when you wander off for a leak and leave the Z unattended. This not only prevents anyone having it away on their toes with company secrets but also saves power. The web cam also does duty as a business card scanner that, used with the handy on-screen guide, proved to be pretty reliable.
Backlit keyboard and numerous other finger friendly refinements
Our review machine came with Windows 7 Professional 32-Bit, an Intel Core2 Duo SU9600 processor running at 1.6GHz, 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 RAM and a 128GB SSD. Graphics are handled by Intel's integrated GMA 4500MHD GPU. As you would expect from anything carrying the Latitude badge, extra bits and bobs can be added to the Z.
If your pockets are deep enough you can have not one but two 256GB SSDs fitted. Conversely, if money is tight, the Latitude can also be had with a 1.4GHz SU9400 processor and 2GB of Ram. Wireless connectivity is comprehensive with 802.11n Wi-Fi accompanied by an unlocked 7.2Mb/s HSDPA modem – a standard SIM card slots in behind the battery – GPS and Bluetooth. Something that can't be specified is a 64-Bit OS, which may raise the odd eyebrow.
The Windows OS is supplemented by Dell's 'Latitude ON' which is a MontaVista Linux mini-OS running on a discreet Texas Instruments ARM chip that fires up in a little over 10 seconds from a button next to the main power switch. This lets you browse the web with Firefox or check your Outlook e-mail, contacts and calendar without having to wait for Windows to get its backside in gear.
As the PCMark Vantage numbers show, the Z is no powerhouse but it still handled all the tasks we set it with aplomb including playing HD YouTube streams at 1080p, as well as QuickTime film trailers and H.264 files through VLC at the same resolution. With a 3DMark06 score of 857 you won't be playing any hardcore 3D games at hi-res, but a little light gaming by way of executive relief won't be out of the question either. The video and gaming experience is enhanced by the stereo speakers tucked away in the front of the chassis which pump out a usefully powerful and composed sound.
The fly in the Latitude ointment is battery life. In regular use, a full charge for the standard 40WHr 4-cell power pack will struggle to give you much more than three hours. Give the Z something demanding to do – like playing a video at full screen with the screen brightness set to 11 – and you will be lucky to hit the two hour mark. The optional 80Wh eight-cell power pack improves things dramatically and will only set you back £24 but it's larger, heavier and wobblier than the standard pack and spoils the Z's svelte lines.
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!