It’s been a while since I’ve looked at a model from Dell’s Latitude range, but that doesn’t come as a major surprise. Unlike the more common Inspiron range, the Latitude range is aimed squarely at the corporate user, and as such the models don’t change too often. There are few things that an IT manager at a big company values more than continuity – after all, the last thing he wants is for a notebook to be discontinued when he’s halfway through rolling it out to all the employees.
I was therefore quite keen to see Dell’s new range of Latitude notebooks when they were announced last month, and I badgered Dell’s PR department until they agreed to send me an early sample. The model sitting in front of me right now is the Latitude D620, which sits nicely in the middle of the notebook pecking. The D620 is reasonably slim and light, so that you’d be happy to carry it around with you all day, but it’s not so small as to put potential users off due to a small screen and reduced size keyboard.
The minute you start using a Latitude you know that it’s a step up from Dell’s Inspiron range. That’s not to say that the Inspiron notebooks are not good, because most of them are, but the Latitude is designed to meet the needs of discerning professionals who crave quality, not just features. Let’s face it, with the Latitude range Dell is going after the Lenovo ThinkPad brand, and when it comes to quality, few will argue with the ThinkPad’s credentials. To Dell’s credit, the Latitude D620 does look and feel like a premium product, and I did receive a fair few comments and questions about it when I took it out in public.
The D620 is finished in Dell’s familiar matt silver and black colour scheme, and it looks pretty good. There’s a single, polished silver catch that secures the lid at its centre. Once the lid is opened you’re presented with a 14.1in widescreen display that’s both bright and vibrant. There’s no high-contrast glossy coating on the screen, but that’s not surprising for a business notebook. The screen sports a somewhat unusual resolution of 1,440 x 900, something that’s more common in Apple products than Windows based machines. That said, most notebooks with screens this size have a 1,280 x 800 resolution, so Dell is giving you a bit of extra desktop real estate, which is never a bad thing.