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Dell Latitude 13 - Performance, Battery Life, Value and Verdict
Intel's Core 2 Duo architecture, which is still the only option for the Dell Latitude 13, is getting on a bit and it shows - especially when compared with the processing power of currently available, similarly-priced laptops such as the HP ProBook 5320m's Core i5 and Toshiba Portege R700's Core i3. Having said that, the 1.3GHz SU7300 dual core should still be fine for the average workload, and isn't badly balanced with this Latitude's other (equally underwhelming) specifications.
You can categorically forget about any kind of 3D gaming on the Latitude 13, with a pathetic 12.9fps in TrackMania Nations Forever making for a particularly poor showing.
We weren't expecting amazing battery life considering this Latitude's slimness, but its result of just three hours and twenty minutes was even lower than we had feared. Combined with the fact that the battery is non-removable and that battery life will degrade over time, it dramatically limits this Dell's appeal, and anyone who works away from a socket for three or more hours at a time will want to give this laptop a wide berth.
So there we have it. The Latitude is undeniably attractive and build quality is superb, but it's not a machine for anyone who prefers substance over style. At £746.13 for our review model, it's overpriced, underpowered, suffers from a severe lack of connectivity and features, and tops it off with woeful battery life.
If you're looking for a 13.3in laptop that's a little more rugged than your average consumer laptop and looks fairly stylish, the ProBook 5320m is a good choice and gives you a 2.4GHz Core i5, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive for less money. The Portege R700 also offers excellent build, better specifications, a boatload of connectivity and features, and battery life that's over twice as long, again for less. Both of these also sport metal lids and palm-rests, and extra protection such as drive sensors.
If on the other hand style is your primary concern, spend a bit more to get an Adamo or a MacBook Air.
If you can live with its limitations and can't stretch your budget beyond £750, Dell's ultraportable Latitude 13 offers looks, sleekness and build quality that few PC laptops can match. However, for most people it suffers from far too many shortcomings for us to recommend it.
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