Dell Latitude 6430u review
The standard specification provides performance enough for most applications, and is also vPro-enabled for easy manageability, but Dell also offers a range of upgrades and optional extras. The processor can be upgraded to the 2GHz Core i7-3667U for £54 exc VAT; the RAM expanded to a maximum of 16GB for £118 exc VAT; and the SSD can be expanded to 256GB for £120 exc VAT. Meanwhile, the installed copy of Windows 8 Pro 64-bit can be swapped for Windows 7 Professional at no additional charge.
Dell has equipped the Latitude 6430u with all the essentials. There are three USB 3 ports – one of which doubles as an eSATA connection – an SD card reader, 3.5mm headset output, Gigabit Ethernet and a D-SUB and HDMI outputs. There’s also dual-band 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth 4, and, for an extra £96 exc VAT, Dell’s Wireless 5630 module adds 3G. Security is covered by the TPM 1.2 module, but you’ll have to shell out an extra £4 if you want a fingerprint reader, too.
Dell equipped our review unit with the smaller, three-cell 36Wh battery – retail models will be supplied with a six-cell 60Wh battery – and it dragged down the Latitude 6430u in our tests. In our light-use battery test, with the screen calibrated to a dim 75cd/m2, the Latitude 6430u lasted only 5hrs 23mins. Thankfully, though, Dell’s ExpressCharge technology tops up the battery in no time at all; after running the three-cell battery dry, it charged to 87% in less than an hour. Getting at the battery is easy, too: a latch on the Dell’s underside allows it to clip in and out of place quickly and easily.
The Dell’s 14in display is the biggest letdown. The 1,366 x 768 resolution keeps text legible without recourse to Windows’ DPI scaling settings, and the combination of a matte anti-glare finish and a maximum brightness of 243cd/m2 is enough to remain usable in most lighting conditions – but the trade-off is image quality. The 209:1 contrast ratio leaves the Windows desktop looking washed out, and the panel’s narrow colour gamut renders it incapable of producing the most intense shades. It’s immensely disappointing by Ultrabook standards.
Dell has produced a good business Ultrabook, but it could have been great: a better quality display would make this a high-end business laptop to be reckoned with. At this price, however, the Latitude 6430u retains an obvious appeal. With sturdy build quality backed by a three-year, next-business-day warranty, excellent ergonomics and nippy performance, this unflashy Ultrabook is as good as it gets for less than £1,000.
|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|