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Dell Latitude 6430u Review

Business laptops usually does not require that much machine efficiency but the rapid growth and releasing of newer technologies made the manufacturers join the bandwagon of building business machines with the power parallel to those of high end computers. With this growing trend, Dell presented the Latitude 6430u ultrabook. I’ve read some of the 6430u’s predecessors and found out that Dell does know what they are doing with this series.
Dell Lattitude 6430U

The Looks Deparment
The Dell Latitude 6430u appropriately looks sleek and professional. It weighs at least 1.5 kilos and spans approximate 15 inch and 20mm thick. A rubbery matte covers the surface with Dell’s silver banner at the center. The insidemostly consist of smooth, glossy texture and The Latitude logo sits perfectlybeneath its 14 inch display. The monitor joint looks sturdy considering thatyou can bend the screen all the way to almost 180 degrees.

Dell Lattitude 6430U

The keys of its chicklet keyboard feels springy and quite distant to each other that users with smaller hands may find uncomfortable. The back light feature offers a very warm light which is very comfortable to the eyes if used when on the dark. It also has an LED light if the Caps Lock Key is pressed which is very handy considering that I always forget to turn it off for some reason. The key arrangement is okay but personally I find not having the Page Up and Page Down button lined up in a column unconventional. But otherwise, the keyboard is great.

Above the keyboard lies the power button, the process lights and my personal favorite; a very responsive touch-sensitive volume control.

The touchpad, on the other hand, is very responsive with its smooth surface. The multi-touch feature also greatly benefits from its large surface area. The left and right click button also feels great.

The relatively larger touchpad also translates into a larger handrest. After a long use, the surface do warms up but does not heat up uncomfortably.

The machine features two USB 3.0 slots, an RJ-45 network connector slot, a HDMI slot and a headphone/microphone combo jack. It also includes a memory card reader.

Display
It’s 14 inch anti-glare LED screen offers a resolution of up to 1366×768, a quite generic specs for notebooks/laptops with 15 inch or lower displays. The maximum brightness setting can be a little glaring if used in a room, but great and clear when used outdoors. It has a relatively common viewing angle with reduced brightness when viewed on the sides and color inversion when viewed vertically. It’s increased brightness can improve the viewing angle greatly but is not recommended for extensive reading of texts.

Disk Drives
The Dell Latitude 6430u that I’ve reviewed contains an SSD SATA 128GB storage drive which can be upgradeable to 256GB. The drive capacity may be small for today’s storage demands but having an SSD drive greatly improves booting the OS (apporximately 7 seconds, Windows 8). Having an external drive with USB 3.0 can easily outcome this throwback.

It has Windows 8, no touch screen
The machine that I got has Windows 8 installed which personally I think is not a good choice. Having Windows 8 in a non-touchscreen computer feels really awkward and sometimes inconvenient. However, consumers may choose between Windows 7 Home, Ultimate, Windows 8 and Linux operating systems upon purchase. I would not recommend Windows 8 for this one.

Dell Lattitude 6430 U

Performance
Since this is the first time I had reviewed a business laptop, I really have no idea how to properly benchmark the system. I’ve tried running some heavy Visual Studio 2012 applications, FL Studio sound samples, Sony Vegas Pro and some not-so-extensive Unity 3D projects and they compiled and ran smoothly, but I think that this do not reflect the maximum performance that this machine can do. So what did I do? I’ve tried running some old-school PC testings.

Watching Blu-ray quality videos gives a very smooth flowing and crisp graphics. Sounds from the speakers are phenomenal.

Gaming in this ultrabook also offered great experience. Dishonored using the highest quality runs on an average of 30-40 fps with occasional drops to 15-20 during levels with massive amounts of particles (NPCs, Water, Rain etc). It may be recommended to play the games with a lower quality (not the highest) for a smoother gameplay, but you can pull through it.

CPU ID and Cinebench Results:
1-cpu cinebench2

Battery
The battery life reaches approximately 7 hours when on idle with maximum high performance settings. The battery lasted approximately 4.5 hours while having the wifi on, surfing the internet and running other lightweight applications. Watching movies and playing games on the same setting gave me approximately 2.5 hours of battery life.

Verdict

PROS:
– Sturdy and Professional Looking
– Comfortable to use (Back-lit chicklet Keys, Large touch pad, Large handrest)
– Silent but efficient heat reducing fan
– Touch-sensitive volume control!
– Easy to access (approx 7 secs boot time blows my mind)
– High Performance (Tested with VS 2012, FL Studio, Sony Vegas Pro, Unity 3D, Adobe Photoshop, HD Movies)

CONS:
– Springy and quite distant keyboard keys (con for users with small hands)
– Not that impressive battery life
– Dropping frame rates on games (which should not really matter since this is a business PC. Stop playing games! Do your work! 😀 ) (Tested with Dishonored, Path of Exile, Minecraft)
– Windows 8 (not touchscreen)
– Relatively expensive

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