Another interesting new feature of the Latitude range is the remote Tracking & Recovery service. It's an added extra, starting at £15 for one year's Tracking & Recovery and £20 for the Remote Data Deletion option, but if you're concerned about theft (which with a notebook like this you should be) it could prove invaluable. This is made possible by a software agent and BIOS embedded persistence module, both of which can survive OS re-installation, hard drive re-formatting and even hard drive replacement.
When reported stolen the laptop will report its location when connected to the Internet and if you choose the remote deletion option, you can instruct sensitive data on the machine to be deleted remotely. In addition, in systems with GPS fitted (this is integrated into the HSDPA module on E4200) the service gives you even more accurate location data, also making it possible to track a unit's movements within a company.
Thanks partly to the very fast SSD, the E4200 performed well in all of our benchmarks -- giving the similarly priced Sony VAIO TT11MN a good thrashing and comfortably besting the Toshiba Portégé R600 and its slower SSD. Its speed is particularly well demonstrated in our in-house batch image editing test, where the E4200 proved over 30 per cent faster than the Sony and just under 15 per cent faster than the Toshiba. In real-world use this speed ensures exceedingly snappy general operation when opening files, programs and brisk boot-up and shutdown times.
Battery life is also very good. It might not quite match the VAIO TT, but the E4200 managed a creditable four and a quarter hours in the Productivity segment of MobileMark 2007 and an excellent five hours and 26 minutes in the Reader test. If you opt for the four-cell battery, or purchase both, you can expect more or less exactly half these figures when using it. And, of course, when using the Latitude ON Reader you can enjoy more battery life than you're ever likely to need, too.
These impressive results are the cherry on top of a generally very impressive cake. Granted, if you do need an integrated optical drive (or a webcam) you'll have to look elsewhere, but this is becoming less of a necessity these days and in every other respect the E4200 delivers everything a business ultra-portable needs. It's light and portable, sturdy and durable, is easy to use and has all the security features a road warrior needs to keep their data secure. Throw in some nice extras, such as the instant-on Linux OS, remote security options, the small 45W power supply and the powered USB port, and the E4200 is a worthy successor to the D430.
So long as you don't need an optical drive, the E4200 is an ideal option for the serious businessperson on the move.