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Dell Latitude 2100 Netbook - Dell Latitude 2100

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

As you would hope for a machine that's designed to withstand a lot of rough handling, build quality throughout is excellent - in fact this is the most durable netbook we've come across bar perhaps HP's Mini Notes, the business models of which have retained that amazing brushed-metal chassis despite upgraded internals.

As far as design goes, rather than looking like a children's toy we'd call the 2100 industrial. This rugged, serious impression is enforced by its strong, aggressive lines and uniform, matte black insides with the blue-backlit power button and indicator icons.

The matte bezel surrounding the screen contains the optional webcam as well as surprisingly impressive (by netbook standards) speakers. Though inevitably on the tinny side when it comes to bass, the mid range is generally clear and they manage relatively high volume levels without significant distortion.

The 10.1in screen is yet another area where the Latitude 2100 stands out from the crowd. Admittedly, with HD screen options from almost every major netbook manufacturer including Acer, HP and of course Dell itself, the resolution of 1,024 x 576 is uninspiring to say the least and can't be upgraded. However, for £12 (£20 including the webcam) you can opt for a resistive touch-screen, making the 2100 one of the very few non-tablet netbooks with touch-based inputs.

In our testing we found the screen's touch functionality to be very sensitive and accurate once it was calibrated with the included application. By default the touch-display was an inaccurate mess, which isn't ideal on a product where many of its potential users might not even realise that they need to go through a calibration process. After calibration it was easy to control and navigate Windows XP without resorting to the touchpad.

For an extra £25 you can get Vista Basic rather than XP, but our advice would be to always avoid Vista on a netbook. It's also worth noting that you can save £24 by going for Ubuntu Linux, but only on the Education rather than Business model. Finally on the software front one can choose between Microsoft Office 2007 Basic, Small Business or Pro, but with prices starting at £99 it's cheaper to buy the suites yourself (though you will need an external optical drive to install them).

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August 29, 2009, 1:57 pm

If you're going to carry a notebook around on a strap like a bag in full public view I would recommend carrying a personal safety alarm and then taking out personal items insurance.

Ben MacLeod

April 24, 2014, 7:48 pm

Extremely poor netbook. Our school purchased about 350 of these pieces of junk and unlike the review saying the computer is "rugged", it only looks rugged. Really they never did their homework on what the modern classroom requires. These computers need proper cooling as a classroom generally gets quite hot with a bunch of kids sitting around. As well, the rubber along the outside of the device can easily peel off and to get any performance out of these machines their CPU needs to be maxed constantly which creates a ton of heat even though it is running an Intel Atom. These computers ONLY can run XP which is now defunct and out of date and no longer supported and I HIGHLY recommend you NEVER buy one of these computers and do not even bother trying to load Windows 8 because 7 absolutely rapes this cheap piece of heavy plastic. And the keyboard SUCKS. Anyone without slender fingers like myself cannot type on the keyboard without acquiring cramps in their hands. The integrated graphics can only display 800 x 600 display resolution which makes the VGA port pointless as it cannot display a decent resolution for even the most basic monitors. The best part of this machine is the 3 USB ports. That's ALL I like about it. It heats up, takes forever to boot, when I wiggle the mouse around the CPU snoops right up to 100% pretty quick. The only reason I would purchase one for myself would be to run Linux and maybe break the piece of crap. This thing is just a common piece of Dell marketing that makes the school board sprint to their bean counters with an appealing look. This is where my tax dollars went. And that's definitely not a good thing. It's more of a safety hazard since when they sit in our school's basement the cheap plastic has grown mould on the body of the computer. Have fun, they're $20 bucks on eBay for a reason.

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