Looking around the Latitude XT you’ll find plenty of connectivity crammed in, though as hinted at earlier there’s no integrated optical drive. How great a problem this is will depend on the individual. If you want it primarily for its Tablet PC capabilities then it shouldn’t pose too great a problem, but if you want as an everyday machine and portable workhorse then it’s worth considering how often you use an optical drive before opting for the XT.
Getting back to connectivity, starting at the left edge you’ll find the stylus recess and next to that is a pop out antenna for the integrated HSDPA module. This is removable, so if you happen to break it you can simply pull it out and purchase a replacement. Also, above the stylus recess, is an LED that blinks when it’s not housed – just in case you ever forget to put it back. Joining these two features is a 4-pin FireWire port and a USB port, with the rest of the space taken up by an exhaust vent and the single, suitably puny speaker.
Moving to the right you’ll find a hardware wireless on/off switch and a Wi-Fi Catcher button. Then there’s another USB port, followed by a 54mm ExpressCard slot and a memory card reader just above that. Rounding off connections here are headphone and microphone jacks, with the essential Kensington lock slot present for the security minded. Indeed, there’s also a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) included for extra security, with the fingerprint reader for authentication.
Finally, on the back, you’ll find the DC-in, D-SUB (VGA) and Ethernet (Gigabit enabled) ports and the final USB port (three in total), with a power connection for an external drive just above it. If you opt for the MediaBase you benefit from a couple of extra USB ports, DVI, a Serial port and, of course, an optical drive.
Special mention must also be made of the tiny 45W power supply that ships with XT. On first appearance you’d be forgiven for thinking it to be something completely different, but when you realise it’s the power supply it’s a very pleasant surprise. Though it does mean charging is slightly slower, for portability the 45W adapter is great and you can purchase the larger 65W charger separately, or use one from any other Dell notebook if you have one handy.
Unfortunately, though the power supply is undoubtedly very thin and light, the Latitude XT itself isn’t the model of svelte mechanics. Thin it is, measuring a consistent 25.4mm all the way along, but for a machine utilising an ultra-low voltage CPU its 1.73kg weight with the included 6-cell battery is on the heavy side.
This makes the purpose built InfoCase carry case a useful addition. It’s nicely designed so it can be used on the move, on a factory floor, building site or other ‘remote’ location, with an arm sling and handle. It also adds some protection, so you have less to fear from accidents. At £55 it’s not cheap, but if you’re willing to spend this much on a Tablet PC and value the real freedom it gives you, then it’s definitely worth investing in.