Connectivity wise it’s all pretty standard fare here, with the D531 catering for the majority of needs without too many exceptions. The only obvious absentee is a card reader, which has almost certainly been omitted for cost saving reasons.
On the left edge there’s a four-pin FireWire port, with Headphone and Microphone ports rounding off the audio connectivity. Just below these is a PC Card slot, which provides card based expandability for such things as HSDPA, which is an optional extra as either a PC Card device or as an embedded module. Obviously, though, these both come at fairly significant premiums and arguably this notebook isn’t portable enough to justify such expense.
Most connectivity is, however, located on the back of the machine; with all the usual suspects in attendance. There are Ethernet and Modem jacks, two USB ports, S-Video out, D-Sub and, for a little legacy support, a Serial port too. On the right there are another two USB ports, bringing the total to four, with the rest of the space taken up by the optical drive.
In software the D531 actually comes pleasingly devoid of pointless programs. There’s Roxio Creator software for DVD/CD authoring and Power DVD DX for movie playback, while Dell’s own Support and QuickSet software makes an appearance too.
The only other notable inclusion is the Wave Systems’ Embassy Security Center, which is included as standard on all Latitude models. This helps manage login and password security on Dell Latitude systems, though in this case it is somewhat redundant since the D531 doesn’t have a Trusted Platform Module, which is required for the majority of the software functionality.