Dell's corporate Latitude range combines business stability with high-street prices.
The Latitude D830 (£660 inc. VAT) is a highly usable system with a great warranty, but low performance lets it down slightly.
Impressive battery life
The plain black/silver chassis is unobtrusive and ideal for corporate use. While it's quite a large laptop, its 3kg weight is light enough for basic mobility.
The 398-minute battery life is impressive and even outlasts that of the MacBook.
The user interface provides excellent comfort and freedom of choice. The keyboard is large with a near flawless typing action.
Both a touchpad and pointing stick are fitted for onscreen navigation, so users can choose their preferred method of control.
The 15.4-inch screen is bright and sharp, but the use of a standard TFT panel rather than a glossy Super-TFT coating means colours aren't as vibrant as we'd like. It reduces reflections, however, so you can comfortably work outside or under bright lights.
Graphics performance using the integrated Intel GPU is low, but suits basic use. Multimedia presentations can be created with ease and you can edit photos, but anything more than basic gaming is out of the question.
General performance on home or office tasks proved average.
The 2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2048MB of memory let you multi-task in comfort, but far better performance is available from rivals.
Recognising the need for corporate stability and hardware/software compatibility, Dell has installed Windows XP rather than Vista, as it is currently regarded as the more stable operating system. Vista can be installed later if you require its more advanced features.
Storage options are limited. The 120GB hard drive suits basic use, but is rather small at this price point. The dual-format DVD rewriter lets you create CDs and DVDs, but there is no support for media card formats.
Dell's superb warranty
Where the Dell excels is its outstanding warranty.
Three-years of on-site repairs are provided, with service guaranteed for the next business day. This will be a key selling point for home and business users alike and is a great addition at this price.
With its excellent battery life and warranty, the Dell Latitude D830 is a real bargain.
Its average performance and storage won't suit power users, but the fantastic user interface, stable platform and excellent battery life make this a laptop that's hard to ignore.