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Dell Launches E-Series Latitude Notebook Range

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Dell has finally lifted the lid on its new E-Series Latitude range of notebooks, putting to an end one of the worst kept secrets in computing. Yet, though we'd already seen what the machines might look like, Dell had a lot more to show during a presentation in San Francisco that was transmitted to London via Satellite - Apple style.

A complete overhaul of the previous offerings, the new range will consist of seven models ranging from sub-1kg ultra-portables to more mainstream offerings and a semi-rugged machine (pictured). Design was the focus and the new E-Series Latitude's are a significant departure from previous examples. For instance, having listened to its online community, it has added backlit keyboards and a choice of colour finishes - including pink - along with more traditional matte black and brushed metal finishes. We can't see a lot of companies going for red, blue, or pink but perhaps Dell wants to tempt the prosumer market with something more individual.

Dell was also keen to emphasize the all-day computing abilities of this new range, claiming an astonishing 19 hours battery life on one of its models. Unsurprisingly this claim came with some caveats since it was produced using both an extended nine-cell battery and an additional high capacity "battery slice" so though your laptop may last all day, your back probably won't.

Outrageous battery life claims aside, one of the more interesting features of this new range is a new instant-on operating system that Dell is calling Latitude On. It'll give "instant" stand-by access to e-mail, calendar and web browsing facilities, though exactly how instant this will be from a cold boot wasn't revealed. It won't be available immediately, but Dell plans to roll this out on new laptops before the end of the year.

Other key new features include sensor based security card recognition and Display Port connectivity on some models. Dell has also created a new software suite, Control Point, for managing connectivity, power, security, networking and a few more things besides.

This new range is split as follows:

- E4200: 12.1in ultra-portable using ultra-low voltage components and with starting weight below 1kg.
- E4300: 13.3in ultra-portable using Intel's new medium voltage CPU.
- E6400 & E6500: 14in and 15.4in mainstream models with premium features.
- E5400 & E5500: 14in and 15.4in entry-level basic machines.
- E6400 ATG: semi-rugged version of E6400.

All will use Intel's Centrino 2 including vPro with options for TPM and all sorts of other bits and pieces, including LED backlit displays and SSDs. Watch this space for pricing info and take a look at the following pages for more shots of the E4200, E4300 and E6400 ATG.

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