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Dell Latitude E6220 Core i7 notebook

Dell Latitude E6220 12.5in Core i7 notebook

Quietly powerful

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Review Dell's Latitude E6220 is a typical workhorse, designed to be solid, dependable and ever so slightly boring. However, Dell is aiming this compact model more at small businesses rather than large organisations. And the increasing numbers of people who, like myself, are self-employed. A touch of style and being just 1in thin and with a 12.5in display are the giveaways here.

Dell Latitude E6220 Core i7 notebook

Built to last: Dell's Latitude E6220

On test is the E6220 featuring an Intel 2.7GHz Core i7-2620M CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. There are three USB 2.0 slots (including one eSata combo) and USB 3.0 is available as an option. Other options include a backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader. It also has HDMI and VGA ports for video-out, plus a mic/headphone combo socket. There's an SD card slot and an Express34 card interface too. Quite a decent array of ports for a laptop of this size, but you do go without an optical drive.

The display resolution is 1366 x 768 and it is housed in a rigid lid, that shows no signs of flexing. It all feels solidly built and indeed it should as Dell claims the Tri-Metal casing is MIL-STD 810G tested. The anodised, brushed aluminium finish on the lid, isn't a favourite look but doesn't show up fingerprints. Further protection is provided by magnesium alloy around the edges, and a powder-coated magnesium base.

Dell Latitude E6220 Core i7 notebook

At 1in thick being having only a 12.5in display it looks chunkier than it is

Most personal stuff can be done on a smartphone but when it comes to rolling up your sleeves and updating various websites, using content management systems and working on long documents, you need a proper keyboard. And it just so happens that this one of the most likeable features of the Latitude E6220. It's also spill-resistant and available with a backlighting option too.

The keys are all full sized, and are firm enough to touch, but with enough give, that my fingers didn't tire when typing. Also, I didn't have to learn a new layout or condition myself to where the keys were. As a touch typist, I could start using it straight away – all the keys fell exactly where my fingers expected them to be.

Dell Latitude E6220 Core i7 notebook

Key feature: great to type on and splash proof too

This is an astonishingly quiet machine for such a slim laptop packing a feisty Core i7 CPU, which makes it hard to judge how noisy the keyboard is to use. Even with the lightest tap, the keys were this Latitude’s noisiest feature.

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