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"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."
That's a direct quote from Riyad's review of the Latitude D620, the predecessor to the D630 which I'm looking at today. It was in May that Dell announced its intent to implement the new technologies provided by Intel's new mobile computing platform codenamed Santa Rosa, and known as Centrino Duo. Regular readers will have read plenty about this already, but for those who aren't – shame on you – it's well worth taking a look at our Santa Rosa feature, which details the technologies involved.
And, though this is a new notebook with, among other things, an updated chipset and CPU, the actual chassis hasn't changed one iota since the D620. This will no doubt please the aforementioned IT Managers; hence the quote. Indeed, it should please the users too because the D620 was a great notebook, walking away with a Recommended award for its trouble. Can the D630 repeat the trick?
As noted, it's on the inside where the D630 diverges from the D620. It's powered by a Santa Rosa spec Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, which has a clock speed of 2.0GHz with 4MB L2 Cache and a 800MHz Front Side Bus. This is complemented by 2GB 667MHz DRR2 RAM, an 80GB 7200rpm SATA hard drive, a DVD Re-writer and integrated X3100 graphics. This is all very good, and with this spec the D630 will make mincemeat of the usual office activities, providing plenty of scope for multiple applications and more demanding work too. If one were being picky one might want a larger hard drive, but for its usage 80GB should be enough and as ever one could just as easily specify a larger hard drive at point of purchase.
However, there's a great deal more to the D630, especially in regards to connectivity. Gigabit Ethernet and 3945ABG Wi-Fi is more or less standard; the lack of Draft N wireless is a disappointment but given the corporate target market is hardly a great concern. Moreover, it seems that this is the result of lack of availability of Draft N wireless modules than any oversight on Dell’s part. One thing that is present, however, is an embedded 3G HSDPA and this is always an attractive option to have on any notebook, especially one intended for corporate users. To further sweeten the deal our sample also came with both a 6-cell primary battery and an extended 9-cell battery, and all for £1,056 inc. VAT with Vista Business Edition included.
This is a superb price for the kind of specification you're getting, and that includes a 14.1in display with a 1,440 x 900 native resolution that's a significant improvement over the 1,280 x 800 often found on displays of this size. When you factor in this and other desirable features such as the embedded HSDPA and the extended battery, and the D630 is already shaping up to be a enticing proposition.
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