Dell Latitude E5420 review

A solid, sensible all-rounder that should work well in the classroom

Simon Fisher
17 Jun 2012
Price when reviewed 

The Latitude E5420 stands out from thecrowdwithitssculptedcurves and moody-grey anodised aluminium lid. It feels solidly built – and, weighing only a shade over 2kg, it’s lighter and more portable than you might expect.

Its 14in anti-glare LED screen provides a good compromise between the portability of 13in and the comfort of 15in. It’s a bright screen, but its 1,366 x 768 resolution feels slightly restrictive against those on the MacBook Pro and the Samsung Chronos 7. An optional “HD+” screen offers a more appealing 1,600 x 900 and costs a mere £37. The size also makes for a large and comfortable keyboard, with room around the edge for dedicated volume controls.

The E5420 is powered by an Intel Core i5-2520M processor clocking in at 2.5GHz, and with 4GB of DDR3 RAM it can comfortably tackle most tasks, including more graphically intensive ones; a benchmark score of 0.63 is nothing to be sniffed at. The Intel HD integrated graphics won’t hold up to heavy-duty 3D work, but unless you want to run games or advanced 3D simulations, this won’t be an issue.

Dell Latitude E5420

We were surprised by the meagre 250GB hard drive, but the E5420 packs in a DVD rewriter and a good range of connections, including 4 x USB 2 ports, an HDMI video output and eSATA for an external hard drive.

The six-cell 60Wh lithium-ion battery includes Dell’s school-friendly ExpressCharge technology, enabling an 80% charge after an hour and a full charge in two hours if the system is switched off. This worked well in the classroom, but note the Dell could work through only 4hrs 53mins of light use in our real-world tests. That may not be quite enough to see the laptop through a typical school day.

The E5420 is a solid choice for schools, delivering sound performance in a device that’s robust enough for classroom use. With the HD screen it would have rated even higher, so think about specifying one if you choose to buy.

Price when reviewed 
834(£695 exc VAT)


Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 350 x 240 x 32.5mm (WDH)
Weight 2.040kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-2520M
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 14.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 3000


Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

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