Dell Latitude D510 review

£699
Price when reviewed

In our last Business notebooks Labs, the Latitude D610 bagged the Labs Winner award thanks to its forward-looking components and superb warranty. This year, we have the D510 and, although it shares the same chassis, it doesn’t offer enough features to retain the business crown.

Dell Latitude D510 review

The magnesium alloy chassis is robust, although the lid isn’t the strongest we’ve seen from Dell. It’s flexible but tough enough to protect the 15in XGA TFT. The screen is solid but unspectacular, offering average brightness and viewing angles. The keyboard excels thanks to a full complement of keys, sensibly laid out as close to a normal desktop keyboard as possible. The D510 also has speakers that – along with those of the HP – are the only ones good enough to deserve a mention. Offering decent dynamic range with just enough volume, they’ll be fine for presentations.

Performance-wise, you’ll have no complaints thanks to the 1.73GHz Pentium M 740 and 512MB of PC2-4200 memory. Firmly in the middle of the pack with a score of 0.77, there’s a spare memory socket should you need to push the system any harder. A 4x dual-layer DVD writer is a welcome inclusion, and the 60GB hard disk should be plenty. If you lose any data, the included Altiris Recovery Agent will be a lifesaver.

It’s the only laptop in the group not to offer Gigabit Ethernet, but it makes up for this with a full set of wireless connections: Bluetooth, infrared and 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi. Legacy devices are supported via parallel and serial ports, and it comes with a particularly large and well-padded carry case, which could be a real money saver when equipping a large number of workers.

We love the battery LEDs, which light up to show the power level even with the machine switched off. We eked three hours, 48 minutes of light use from it, and one-and-three-quarter hours when working hard, putting it among the best in this group.

At just £699, the D510 naturally lacks some features of the more expensive systems, but if all you require is a fleet of functional notebooks the Latitude offers excellent value. Of course, there’s also the fact that Dell builds to order, so you can configure each machine in just about any way you like.

The one-year collect-and-return warranty is disappointing when others offer three years, but you can upgrade to three years on-site for £150. Only the lack of security features prevent it from challenging the winners.

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