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Dell Latitude 6430u
What's hot: Lovely design, removable battery and serviceable parts. Solid build and durable. Quick charging and good battery life.
What's not: Truly uninspired TN display with low contrast and brightness. Heavy for an Ultrabook, pricey as business machines tend to be.
Reviewed March 6, 2013 by Lisa Gade, Editor
in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)
The Dell Latitude 6430u is the slim Ultrabook cousin to the Dell Latitude E series 14" business notebook. Despite its business roots, this is a very stylish looking laptop that looks slimmer than it is at 0.82" thanks to a side-tapered design that reminds us of Samsung Series 9 Ultrabooks. The Latitude 6430U has a 14" display and Intel Core ULV CPUs just like its Ultrabook brethren, but it weighs 3.7 pounds rather than the usual 3 pounds for an Ultrabook. That said, it's still significantly lighter than most standard 14" notebooks on the market.
Design and Ergonomics
The machine has a magnesium frame and a metal casing with Dell's soft touch black finish that's understated yet very attractive. A metal trim ring saves it from dark visual monotony and the Dell logo on the lid is a bit more sedate than on the XPS series. It has a superb backlit island style keyboard with both an Alps trackpad and an eraser stick pointer reminiscent of ThinkPads, compete with dual mouse buttons (a set above the trackpad for the pointer and a set below for the trackpad). Dell says the Latitude 6430u has passed 16 mil spec tests (though they didn't provide us a list of actual tests passed) and it feels very solid and durable. The Latitude has a spill-resistant keyboard and an LCD seal around the display.
Heat and fan noise are minimal since the Latitude is running quiet and cool Intel ULV parts in a relatively roomy casing. A fingerprint scanner with TPM is optional for a modest $7.50 (why not just make it standard if the cost is so low?) and Dell Data Protection/Encryption software is available at no additional cost.
Performance and Configurations
You can order the Ultrabook with Intel Core i3-3217U, i5-3427U and i7-3667U CPUs, all third generation Ivy Bridge and there's Intel vPro. All models use SSD drives, and our 128 gig SSD has the fast Samsung PM830 model. The base Core i3 with 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a 64 gig SSD is $899. Our test unit with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3427U CPU, 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a 128 gig SSD and an external modular eSATA DVD burner sells for $1,265. You can order it with dual band Dell WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n, or move up to Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 or Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 dual band WiFi with WiDi wireless display. It has Dell Bluetooth 4.0 LE and a mediocre 1MP webcam. The Latitude 6430u is available only with Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. The machine is available with up to 16 gigs of RAM, which is more than enough for a machine with a ULV CPU that's capable of productivity, software development and light gaming.
PCMark 7: 5007
Windows Experience Index:
Graphics (for Aero): 5.8
Gaming Graphics: 6.5
Benchmark Comparison Table