Dell splits its laptop range into a number of sectors, with its Latitude machines aimed at the business professional.
The Latitude D630 (£939 inc. VAT) is the mainstay of the range, being a semi-lightweight machine with a good-sized screen and quality keyboard. The 2.5kg chassis is made from magnesium-alloy and feels especially rigid to the touch.
If you need to be out and about for long periods of the day, this is a great machine to use. Under test, we found the battery lasted for 271 minutes, which is more than reasonable considering the use of the Windows Vista Business operating system.
Powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 processor, you'll find this chips runs at the latest 800MHz Front Side Bus speed. However, with only 2MB of Level 2 cache, as opposed to 4MB on faster chips, it's still very much an entry-level chip. That said, we found it handled tasks with ease, and with 2048MB of memory, applications load and run smoothly with no signs of lag.
The 14.1-inch standard TFT screen is a good size and, as it sits in a hollow bezel, you won't find it crushed against the keyboard during transit. Dell has upgraded the specifcation to use Intel's latest generation of Centrino, so you'll find the 965 chipset in place, which uses the Intel GMA X3100 graphics adapter. While this still isn't up to the same performance levels as a dedicated card, it's the best integrated solution currently available.
The widescreen panel means there is plenty of space for the comfortable keyboard. The keys are firmly mounted, but have a great tension to them as you type. You can use either the touchpad or pointing stick, and with two sets of mouse buttons you can work exactly as you prefer. There is even a biometric fingerprint scanner built in for improved security.
The hard drive is protected by what Dell calls StrikeZone technology, which is a rubberised layer that keeps the drive safe from knocks, docking the head if strong vibrations are felt.
The 3G aspect comes in the form of an integrated SIM card that is located under the battery. Services are supplied in association with Vodafone. Wireless LAN in our review model was limited to 802.11a/g, but you can specify 802.11n if required, as part of Intel's 4965AGN solution.
The Dell Latitude D630 is a great machine and exceedingly comfortable to use. It may not be the most cost-effective solution, but it's certainly tough and most powerful, making it a great choice for the business user looking for an everyday machine.