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Dell Latitude E6430s review

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Dell Latitude E6430s

The Latitude E6430s is a sturdy mid-range laptop offering a good mix of capabilities for mobile workers. However, the battery life is unimpressive and this model puzzlingly lacks even the option of 3G broadband capability.

Pros:

Rugged construction, large 14in display in 13in chassis, optical drive option

Cons:

Heavy for its size, battery life unexceptional, no 3G broadband option

Overall Rating:

3 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £1,286

Manufacturer: Dell

Dell's Latitude E6430s is a mid-range laptop designed for life as a corporate workhorse, and is claimed to fit a 14in display into a 13in-size chassis, making it about 18 percent lighter than other systems with comparable screens.

Announced earlier this year as part of Dell's enterprise PC overhaul, the E6430s bears a close resemblance to other models in the E6000 family, such as the Latitude E6230 we tested back in August.

Build
For example, it has the same tri-metal casing and solid construction that makes it feel almost bomb-proof, along with the same professional-looking silver-and-black styling.

As well as ruggedness, this new model includes a host of key features for enterprise buyers, including Intel vPro support for management, built-in Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for security, fingerprint swipe reader and smartcard support for authentication.

Dell Latitude E6430s

In addition, it has a wealth of I/O ports and connectivity options, although oddly, does not have even the option of an embedded 3G broadband modem, which means that road warriors must rely on Wi-Fi or a solution such as a USB dongle to stay connected while out of the office.

At 1.7kg, the Latitude is also a little on the heavy side for a system supposed to offer "high mobility", and that is the minimum weight when configured with the smallest battery and no add-on options.

Performance
In specifications, the Latitude E6430s line supports the standard selection of Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processors, with up to 16GB memory, and a choice of Sata hard drives or solid state disks (SSDs).

The chassis also has a Media Bay, which enables users to slot in an optical drive, extra battery, or leave it empty to save on weight.

Our review unit came equipped with a Core i5-3320M dual-core chip clocked at 2.6GHz, 4GB of memory, 500GB Sata drive and a DVD±RW drive fitted, enabling users to watch movies when off duty. However, with a six-cell battery, this configuration pushes the weight up to about 2.1kg.

In terms of performance, the Latitude E6430s turns in an overall score of 4.9, as measured by the Windows Experience Index (WEI) built into Windows 7, but this is pegged to the low performance of the integrated Intel graphics. Other components achieved higher component-level results such as the processor which scored 7.2, and the system definitely felt responsive enough in use during our tests.

Next: Design

Model: Dell Latitude E6430s
Processor: Intel 2.6GHz Core i5-3320M CPU
RAM: 4GB DDR3 memory (max 16GB)
Storage: 500GB Sata, optical drive in Media Bay
Display: 14in HD display (1366x768)
Connectivity: 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Ports: Ethernet, USB 2.0/eSata, 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA, docking connector, SD Card slot, ExpressCard slot
Battery: Six‐cell (65Whr) lithium ion extended battery
Weight: 2.1kg (as reviewed)
Dimensions: 335x223x30mm

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Daniel Robinson
About

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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