Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dell Latitude 6430u Notebook Review

Dell has come a long way with their Latitude series notebooks built for business mobility and the Latitude 6430u is one of their latest offering for people looking for a durable and manageable vPro-enabled  Ultrabook.
While I didn’t use this notebook for business purposes so, this review is going to focus on the overall feel and experience of using it in a day-to-day basis away from an enterprise setup and its security which is one of the strengths of this machine.


The Dell Latitude 6430u is a 14-inch business-class Ultrabook with an illusion of being slim due to its magnesium frame contrasting its black lid and underside. It measures just 20.9mm and weighs 3.7 lbs. making it lighter than your typical 14-incher.
Despite its sleek looks, this Ultrabook is feels sturdy and solid. In fact, it is the only one subjected to 16 MIL-STD-810G which is a range of tests done to measure its durability. The lid sports a rubbery matte finish making it immune to fingerprints and contributes to its ruggedly sexy looks. You can also see the LED indicator lights from the outside near the hinge.
On the left side of this notebook you’ll find the charging port, a full-sized VGA port, a USB 3.0 port, headset jack, and a hard switch for the WiFi squeezed in.
On the right side is the LAN port and a powered USB 3.0 port, and the SD card slot that is easily missed because it was set to deep.
Additional ports for HDMI and eSATA/USB combo can be found at the back on both sides of the vent. There’s no optical drive on this one which you probably won’t need anyway.
What’s nice here is that the battery slide can easily be removed and replaced to give it more juice on the go. It can also easily be equipped with 3G/4G mobile broadband if required.


Opening the lid (which you can tilt all the way down) you will be greeted with the 14-inch screen with and its typical 1366 x 768 resolution. The anti-glare screen makes it easy to view under bright conditions or under the glare of office lights. Viewing angles is very average but it’s not that important for an office laptop where contents are usually private. What’s unusual though is that for a Windows 8 notebook, the screen lacks touch capabilities.


One of the things that can make or break a good business laptop is the keyboard experience. Keyboard layout on the Latitude 6430u is quite friendly to users having full-sized arrow keys and a dedicated button for Page Up and Page Dn so you don’t have to deal with the Fn key.
Typing experience is really good on this notebook with its evenly-spaced soft-touch keys that have nice and quiet tactile feedback. I had a pleasant time typing on it and didn’t have to adjust much switching to and from a regular desktop keyboard. The keyboard is also spill-proof and has a backlight you can switch on (Fn + Right arrow key).
On top of the keyboard are three highly-responsive soft buttons to control the sound. The Power button is at the center with the same LED indicator as the one on the lid beside it.
The touchpad reminds us of what the ThinkPad popularized having a pair of click buttons at the top and bottom of the pad. Having another pair of click buttons on top means only one thing, there’s a pointer nub on the keyboard. I guess Dell made it like this so that those coming from ThinkPad laptops won’t have to adjust much. The touchpad also accepts common Windows 8 multi-finger gestures by the way.


The configuration on the Latitude 6430u ranges from an Intel Core i3 up to a Core i7 processor. Ours come with a 1.8GHz dual-core 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 (3427u) processor, along with 8GB RAM, integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics, and 256GB SSD drive running on a 64-bit Windows 8 OS.
Here’s its Windows Experience Index if you’re curious.
With this set up, running from a cold boot takes about half a minute while waking from a sleep even with lots of applications and browser tabs opened is accomplished in just a few seconds. Business laptops are not meant for gaming but Intel has come a long way with their integrated graphics and with 8GB RAM, this notebook can handle Diablo III and the latest SCII expansion without a hitch even on medium-high settings.

Battery Life

LAtitude BatteryBar
The Latitde 6430u comes with a 6-cell (60Whr) Li-polymer battery. Dell claims that it can go up to 10 hours on a single charge but using it mainly for Word processing and browsing with WiFi always on and some music here and there, I was able to get 7 hours out of it before it started asking for the plug. Not bad at all and with the removable battery, it’s easy to stay connected for a couple of days away from the office.


Dell still remains as a top choice when it comes to laptop for the office and the Latitude 6430u cements that choice further having a solid and reliable machine on a sleek-looking package. I love the heft and looks of this notebook, elegant but not too flashy and has the rugged feel to it.
The internals make it real fast for your daily needs and the keyboard is just a joy to use. Although the 3rd USB port at the back is a bit inaccessible for a laptop, you can easily use it for that wireless peripheral’s nano-receiver. Other than that, nothing to complain about the design really.
This configuration that we have retails for Php73,500 but if you can live with just 64GB SSD, that will bring down the cost to Php62,500. Contact your Dell supplier for other pricing configuration that would fit your company’s budget.
Dell Latitude 6430u Specs:
14.0″ HD (1366×768) Anti-Glare LED-backlight
3rd Gen Intel Core i5 (3427U) 1.8GHz
64-bit Windows 8 OS
Intel HD Graphics 4000
HD webcam
Backlit keyboard
10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
WiFi 802.11 g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
USB 3.0 (x2), 1 USB/eSATA combo, VGA, HDMI, SD card reader, Ethernet
6-cell (60Whr) Li-polymer battery with ExpressCharge
1.69kg (w/ 3-cell battery)
SRP: Php73,500 (Php62,500 for 64GB SSD)

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