Dell’s skinny Latitude Ultrabooks get Haswell boost

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By Kane Fulton

Dell has souped up its Latitude 3000, 5000 and 7000 corporate Ultrabook and laptop ranges to include Intel’s fourth-generation Haswell CPU and optional touchscreens.

Its new flagship 7000 Series models flaunt Ultrabook stylings, available in a 12- and 14-inch model.

The 12-inch edition measures 20mm thick and weighs 1.3kg, coming in at just a smidgeon plumper than Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air (17mm thick) and weighing the same.

But that beauty isn’t skin deep as the Ultrabooks feature Dell’s Intel vPro capabilities for remote BIOS management, are backwards compatible with previous E-Series Latitude docks and are configured with government-grade system disk encryption.

Dell claims that the high-end models are a solid option for business and home users alike. The laptops run on Intel ultra-low voltage processors in i5 or i7 variations, are housed in brushed aluminium cases reinforced with magnesium alloy and can be quipped with a full-HD display.

If you’re not that enamoured with a touchscreeen, you can pick one up now from £789. Touch screen versions are due to see the light of day on September 12.
Tough laptops

They are joined by new 5000 Series laptops available in 14.1-inch or 15.6-inch sizes. As with the 7000 series models, they are protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass NBT, which the company claims is 10 times stronger than the soda lime glass that’s standard on today’s industry models.

The laptops come in optional SSD or hybrid SSD configurations and feature mobile broadband, Bluetooth and Wireless LAN connectivity. They are also compatible with Dell’s existing Latitude E-family docking stations.

At the budget end are Dell’s new 3000 Series models, which feature a more traditional laptop design but can be upgraded with discrete graphics packing up to 2GB RAM.

Available at a starting price of £429, you will also be able to pick both the 3000 Series and 5000 Series models from September 12. Read more

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Acer Travelmate 8410T

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 Acer Travelmate 8410T

The Acer Travelmate 8410T is a fantastic ultraportable that would have blown us away just a few months ago. However, with the amount of exciting Ultrabooks on the horizon it underwhelmed us too much for a recommendation.

It weighs just 1.8 kg and comes in a fetching black brushed metal finish. Opening the lid reveals a matte 14-inch screen which doesn’t reflect in direct sunlight, making it great for mobile workers.

The immediate reaction is to notice the lack of bezel, and the screen fills the lid space with no room wasted, which accommodates that 14-inch screen, while maintaining a size equivalent to most 13-inch portables.

Inside is a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 2467 processor. While only clocking in at 1.6GHz, it still performs remarkably well, sealing an impressive score in our lab tests. It’s more than capable of photo editing, multitasking demanding programs and watching high-definition videos, making this a great all-rounder.

Great battery life

The great processor performance is thanks to Intel’s TurboBoost technology, which means that the Travelmate 8410T reacts to demanding tasks, and can provide surges of power to get things done. Booting was incredibly fast, with resuming from sleep and starting from cold stunningly responsive.

Battery life was extremely impressive, and our heavy tests achieved nearly five hours, which is equal to more than six hours of light use. This is as close to all-day computing as you’re likely to find and great for working on the move.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 267 minutes
Cinebench: 7210
3DMark 2006: 3336

The rest of the specs are slightly less impressive, and it leaves the Travelmate 8410T slightly lacking in comparison to its competition. There’s a 320GB hard drive, which means you’ll need to invest in a portable drive to back up your pictures and media. What’s more, there’s only 3GB of RAM and, while the system felt responsive at all times, 4GB is merely par for the course these days.

While the brushed-metal finish does make the Acer Travelmate 8410T a real head turner, we did find it attracted marks and dirt very easily, so it’s best to invest in a good case.

We were also disappointed with the keyboard, which had quite a dramatic flex in the middle. It was comfortable to type of for long periods, and accurate, but not the kind of quality we’d expect in this price range.

The Acer Travelmate is a great ultraportable laptop, which can be used all day, without breaking your back. While it’s incredibly light and thin, the Acer is no match for the latest wave of Ultrabooks, including Acer’s own Aspire S3.

The build isn’t as thin, alluring, the processor is outmatched by the Intel Core i7 version found on most Ultrabooks, and the Acer Aspire S3 Core i5 is only £699. This sadly renders the Acer Travelmate 8410T slightly redundant, which is a shame, as three months ago it would have received a hearty recommendation.

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