Of course HSDPA isn’t the only wireless connectivity on offer with the D420, you also get integrated 802.11a, b and g. The Wi-Fi adapter is Dell branded, which explains why the D420 doesn’t wear a Centrino badge – an Intel Wi-Fi adapter is necessary for Centrino branding. But don’t let the lack of a Centrino badge put you off, this notebook still has all the right boxes ticked. As well as Wi-Fi, you also get integrated Bluetooth, so you’ll have no problem transferring pictures/music/contacts to and from your mobile phone. There’s even an infrared port at the rear of the chassis, although there didn’t seem to be any drivers loaded for it on my review sample.
Staying at the cutting edge, the D420 is also the first truly ultra-portable notebook that I’ve seen with an Intel Core Duo CPU. Dell has achieved this feat by getting out of the gates quickly with Intel’s dual core ultra low voltage chip. The review sample that I received was equipped with an Intel Core Duo U2500, which is an ultra low voltage processor running at 1.2GHz. This is the same speed CPU as seen in the Sony VAIO TX series notebooks, but those machines only sport single core processors.
Backing up the ULV CPU is 1GB of memory, although it’s worth noting that the Intel integrated graphics will steal some of that. There’s also a 60GB hard disk, which is a reasonable size for an ultra-portable notebook, although Sony managed to squeeze an 80GB disk into the smaller TX3XP.
Like the D620 before it, this D420 has a widescreen aspect ratio display. The 12.1in screen sports a resolution of 1,280 x 800, which provides a generous amount of desktop real estate considering the physical size. There’s nothing to complain about with this screen – it’s bright, evenly lit and has no dead pixels in evidence. The viewing angle is also wide, while the colours are far more vivid than I would have expected from a screen without a high contrast coating. Dell has also equipped the D420 with an ambient light sensor, so the notebook will automatically adjust the brightness of the screen to match your environment.