Dell Latitude 6430u review
Dell adds an Ultrabook to its Latitude range, but the tough-nut chassis and refined ergonomics deserve a better display
It’s been a long time coming, but Dell has finally launched its first high-end business Ultrabook, the Latitude 6430u. With a toughened chassis that’s been designed to meet MIL-STD-810G military test criteria, and a range of business-friendly features, Dell’s latest is ready to take the fight to Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
If there was a beauty contest for business Ultrabooks, the Latitude 6430u wouldn’t get to wear the sash. Where Lenovo’s wedge-shaped X1 Carbon exudes understated class, the Latitude’s 22mm-thick chassis looks heavy around the waist, and the combination of matte black panels and silver trim look entirely ordinary. It’s no lightweight, either – at 1.63kg, the Dell is 270g heavier than Lenovo’s model.
Yet, even if it lacks finesse, the Latitude 6430u is unusually tough. Dell proudly proclaims that the 6430u meets 14 of the MIL-STD-810G testing criteria, and although they don’t specify exactly which, it certainly feels sturdy. You have to really grapple with the base and lid to get them flexing. Fold the lid flat, and the edge of the display is inset by a couple of millimetres from the metal trim running around the 6430u’s circumference. Accidentally drop the Dell on its corner or edges, and the weight of the fall will be borne by the 6430u’s metal skeleton, rather than the delicate LCD-panel housing.
In terms of comfort, the Dell is as good as it gets. The backlit Scrabble-tile keyboard of our review unit wasn’t perfectly flat – there was a slight bulge in its left-hand side, as well as a little bounce in the base – but the concave keys grip the finger nicely, and each has a lively, crisp action. The touchpad’s position keeps it out of the way of palms and stray thumbs while typing, and Windows 8’s edge-swipe gestures work reliably, as do two-fingered zooming and scrolling motions.
Our review unit came equipped with a 1.8GHz Core i5-3427U processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB Samsung PM830 SSD. It’s a nippy combination, and the Dell rattled through our tests to a result of 0.69 in our Real World Benchmarks. The Samsung SSD does its bit to keep the Dell feeling responsive, too – with sequential read and write speeds of 459MB/sec and 231MB/sec, the SSD launches huge spreadsheets and image files in a blink of an eye.
|Warranty||3yr NBD warranty|
|Dimensions||338 x 230 x 22mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i5-3427U|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||119GB|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||5hr 23min|
|Overall Real World Benchmark score||0.69|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 8 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 8|