The Latitude E6520 is a sturdy, well-built corporate laptop that looks stylish and provides all the features required for a desktop replacement system. It's somewhat heavy, and pricey compared to some rivals, but should serve well as a mainstream business system.
Sturdy build with magnesium alloy frame, large 15.6in display, good performance, comprehensive connectivity options
Heavy, relatively pricey
£1,379 + VAT
Intel 2.6GHz Core i5-2540M processor, 4GB DDR3 memory, 250GB 7,200rpm Sata hard drive, DVD-RW drive, 15.6in 1,366 x 768 display, Dell 802.11 b/g/n Wireless 1501N Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, gigabit Ethernet, optional 3G broadband modem, 32-bit Windows 7 Professional
Dell's Latitude E6520 is a mainstream corporate laptop based on Intel's new generation of Core processors, offering a decent-sized screen and keyboard in addition to the security and management benefits of Intel's vPro technologies, plus a host of configuration options.
Available since March, the E6520 is part of Dell's new Latitude E series 6000 range, all of which share a common styling with aluminium display back panels and magnesium alloy frames for greater ruggedness.
The E6520 is the largest of the new line-up and is essentially a desktop replacement system boasting a large 15.6in wide-screen display, a full-size keyboard including a numeric keypad, and a starting weight of 2.5kg.
However, this weight applies only to the smallest battery and with no optical drive fitted. With a six-cell battery and DVD-RW, the weight is 2.8kg, which is quite a burden to carry around for any length of time.
Because of this, the E6520 is probably not the best choice for road warriors or other users who frequently carry their laptop around, but for executives who occasionally need to take their office system home or to another site, this works just fine.
Dell's styling lends a professional appearance to the new systems, the bare metal of the magnesium alloy frame complemented by a black plastic trim and a black brushed aluminium lid picked out with a metallic Dell logo.
The E6520 itself certainly feels sturdy and well-built enough to stand up to years of use in a corporate environment, and Dell claims the casing has been tested to the US military's MIL-STD 810G standard.
Opened up, the system feels even larger than the 15.6in display would suggest, with its keyboard almost as large as that of a full-size desktop computer. However, the inclusion of a numeric keypad, while good for lots of data entry, offsets the Qwerty keys to the left side of the case.
The touchpad is also offset to match, and we found this and the keyboard arrangement a little inconvenient when using the system on your lap. On a desk, it is much less of an issue, and the keyboard's large, well-spaced keys make it comfortable for typing.
Dell has also included a trackpoint controller embedded in the middle of the spill resistant keyboard. Compared with the trackpoint found on Lenovo laptops, for example, the E6520 version is very low profile and flush with the keys, which we found made it harder to use.
In specifications, the E6520 offers a choice of Core i3, i5 and i7 processors up to the i7-2720QM, a maximum of 8GB of memory and hard drive options up to 500GB.
Our review unit was configured with a more modest Core i5-2540M dual-core chip running at 2.6GHz, plus 4GB memory and a 250GB Sata hard drive, which is still an ample specification for running the majority of business applications.
Dell shipped our review sample with the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Professional, which limits it to 4GB of memory. Buyers can also specify the 64-bit version, or even Windows Vista, if necessary.