Dell has added yet another netbook to its repertoire "designed for education." The Latitude 2100 features a "student rugged" design which I think it looks pretty neat.
The 'rugged' design is unsurprisingly, not quite in ToughBook leagues, but includes simple features like a vent-free bottom, to protect the Latitude 2100's internals from spills, a rubberised finish and an anti-bacterial coating on the keyboard which should suit the target market well. A network activity light is placed in the lid so a teacher can tell if a student is browsing the web when they shouldn't be.
The 10.1in display has a 1,024 x 576 pixel resolution and a touchscreen option is available. Otherwise the 2100's specs are characteristically yawn-worthy. A 1.6GHz Atom N270 CPU is accompanied by 1GB of RAM and either up to 16GB of solid state storage or up to a 250GB hard drive. Three USB ports complement a VGA output and wireless can be upgraded to Draft-N if wanted. Either a 3-cell or a 6-cell battery can be fitted to the system.
Starting at $369 (~£240) with Ubuntu and $399 (~£260) with Windows the Latitude 2100 isn't the cheapest of systems, but getting a few dozen through an expenses claim shouldn't be too tricky. No word on a UK release but Correction, in the time between me writing this and publishing it the Latitude 2100 has appeared on Dell's UK site starting from £290 with Ubuntu or £314 with Windows.
If I was young enough to be at school this is probably the netbook I'd want to be using.