For performance testing we ran our usual set of tests, including PC Mark 05 and our in-house Photoshop Elements and Virtual Dub tests. Since the D430 came loaded with Windows XP, we also ran the MobileMark 2005 and compared the battery results against its predecessor, the D420.
Starting with raw performance, it’s clear that the recent update to Intel’s dual-core ULV processors has had a significant impact, with PC Mark scores for the D430 significantly better than those of the D420 in all but the Graphics test. Of particular note were the results in the HDD test, where the fast access times of the SSD were plain to see in the much higher score. Moreover, it’s these fast access times that make using an ultra-portable slightly more bearable since they do provide an extra level of ‘snappiness’ in general use.
Battery testing was conducted using both normal and extended batteries, and results showed there has been some improvement over the D420. With the standard 6-cell battery the D430 managed 209 minutes, just over 10 minutes more than the D420. This is an excellent result, showing that even with the extended battery you should get close to four hours battery life.
Predictably, the extended battery proved even more impressive reaching 409 minutes, or six hours and 49 minutes, which is close to 30 minutes longer than the D420 managed. This is a great result and on a recent trip away I was able to use the D430 for a whole day without a fresh charge, which is an attractive feature if ever there were one.
As is always the case for notebooks in this sector, you do pay a significant price for such features. This top of the range example will set you back over £1,700, however one could easily attain a more affordable price simply by tweaking the configuration. Take away the superfluous (to most people at least) MediaBase and the price is already a more palatable £1,445. Then, switch from the 32GB SSD to a standard 80GB SATA HDD and the price drops to just under £1,300. For that price you’re still getting the faster ULV CPU, embedded HSDPA and both a 6-cell and 9-cell battery and though you might miss the faster SSD hard drive, you’ll still enjoy very good battery life.
An intuitively designed, durable and well featured ultra-portable, the lack of an integrated optical drive is the only reasonable complaint one can place against the D430. As such, if you’re after a notebook that’s easy to live with and will last as long as you need to, then the Latitude D430 is a very good option.