Dell Latitude Z review

Price when reviewed

The Dell Latitude Z is possibly the strangest laptop we’ve ever reviewed. It’s as if Dell has taken all the conventional rules of building a business notebook, cut them up into tiny pieces and reassembled them to form this: an ultra-wide, ultra-thin, ultra-odd laptop.

The result is certainly striking. The Latitude Z’s chassis stretches all of 396mm wide, a good 50mm wider than a normal laptop. Meanwhile, the rear of the Z extends by an extra 25mm to accommodate the battery: there’s no room in the main body (measuring less than a centimetre thick) for even the four-cell, 2,620mAh unit Dell supplies as standard.

Dell Latitude Z

It’s a weird shape too, with that jutting battery set off by a couple of angled brackets. Yet the Latitude Z still manages to look executive, a look that stems from a strip of brushed aluminium bordering the main body, and the sober, dark grey tones everywhere else. Apart, that is, from the soft-touch lid with its dark, maroon hue.

The little things

A multitude of neat touches abound elsewhere. The most headline grabbing is the touch-sensitive strip found to the right of the screen: slide your finger up or down and the page you’re currently looking at moves with you.

Press the button just to the right of the screen and a list of shortcuts appear, and you can adapt these to whatever you like – from launching your favourite programs to playing back media. The trackpad is multitouch-enabled too, so you can pinch, zoom, rotate and scroll to your heart’s content.

More subtly, there’s a contact-free smartcard reader sitting to the right of the trackpad. Press your RFID-equipped smartcard against this and, along with the fingerprint reader to the side, you’ll have two extra layers of security to go above and beyond the usual Windows password.

Dell Latitude Z

The wires-free approach even extends to the optional charging station. For an extra £162 exc VAT this lets you slip the Latitude on and, by the miracle of inductive technology, the Z will start to charge. Be warned, though, it’s huge.

In our view, it’s also an utter waste of money. Of much more use is the (again optional) wireless docking station. This uses UWB (ultra-wideband) technology to not only add an extra four USB ports to the two that sit on the Latitude Z itself, but also to provide headphone and microphone sockets, plus a DVI output. The latter takes advantage of Displaylink technology to extend or mirror the Windows desktop onto an external monitor.

Dell Latitude Z

The only annoyance is the lack of an Ethernet connection, so if you want to use a wired connection in the office rather than the wireless you’ll need to plug it in each time. A tiresome oversight.


Warranty3yr on-site next business day

Physical specifications

Dimensions396 x 272 x 20.1mm (WDH)
Travelling weight2.6kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo SU9600
Motherboard chipsetIntel GS45
RAM capacity4.00GB
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total1

Screen and video

Screen size16.0in
Resolution screen horizontal1,600
Resolution screen vertical900
Resolution1600 x 900
Graphics chipsetIntel GMAX4500MHD
Graphics card RAM1.00GB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs0
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs1


Hard disk usable capacity238GB
Spindle speedN/A
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskSamsung SSD PB22-JS3 TM
Optical disc technologyExternal DVD writer
Battery capacity2,620mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportyes
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapteryes
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)2
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks0
SD card readerno
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readerno
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetIntel HD Audio
Speaker locationBase
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating2.0mp
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readeryes
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 53min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 35min
Overall application benchmark score0.85
Office application benchmark score0.87
2D graphics application benchmark score0.97
Encoding application benchmark score0.75
Multitasking application benchmark score0.79
3D performance (crysis) low settingsN/A
3D performance settingN/A

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Professional 32-bit
OS familyWindows 7

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