First look review: Dell Latitude 2110 touchscreen netbook
Most netbooks look increasingly bland and, on the surface, the Dell Latitude 2110 is no exception to this rule. After all, it’s black, coated with a matte finish and boasts a 10.1in screen like every one of its rivals.
Our first moments with the 2110 revealed that this, though, is a machine with a bit more about it. For a start, that panel boasts an improved resolution of 1,366 x 768 – up from the 1,024 x 576 of the original 2100 – so it’s capable of displaying 720p content. While the screen does exhibit the usual netbook graining, that’s for a good reason – it’s a touchscreen.
The original 2100 is still the only netbook we’ve seen to come with a touchscreen and, while they might not appeal to most, the Latitude 2110 is aimed at the classroom – and in that situation, the panel included here could help kids become more engaged. Our tests revealed that it’s both responsive and accurate, and the screen’s matte finish should minimise the impact of fingerprints.
Dell has thought about its target audience elsewhere, too. The panel feels about as sturdy as netbooks get, and the lid is covered with a tough rubberised finish instead of the glossy, fingerprint-covered black plastic we normally see. The base is coated with the same rubber, too, and there aren’t any slots of bays accessible to those with a screwdriver, so there’s no way to access the machine’s internals.
Ergonomically, Dell doesn’t seem to have learnt lessons from the original 2100. Back then, we found its light typing action far from comfortable, and the weak keys seem to have returned for the 2110. The small trackpad is still very close to the keyboard, too, and we kept brushing the pad as we typed.
Inside, it’s business as usual apart from a 3G option, which Dell said was added so students could make use of the 2110 on trips outside of the classroom. While it seems like an obvious inclusion to the netbook, few manufacturers have chosen to add mobile internet to the usual specification. Elsewhere, the 2110 features the new Intel Atom N470 processor running at 1.83GHz alongside 1GB of RAM and Windows 7 Starter.
Of course, features such as these don’t come cheap. A cut-down version of the 2110, without its touchscreen and running Ubuntu Netbook Remix, costs £289 exc VAT, and the full-fat version with touchscreen and Windows 7 Starter will set you back £369 exc VAT. Both models come with three-cell batteries; a six-cell powerpack adds £16 exc VAT. The 3G connectivity we’ve been promised isn’t available on Dell’s website yet, though, but we’re sure it’ll add to the price.
Nevertheless, it’s an exciting netbook amid a sea of dull products thanks to its higher-resolution touchscreen and tough exterior. Look out for our verdict when the system enters the PC Pro Labs.