By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2005-03-07 Print this article Print

Business users who spend a good deal of time on the road will find a lot to like about Dell Inc.s new Latitude D610. The laptop combines portability; good performance and battery life; and nice features, including four USB ports and a full-size keyboard—all at a reasonable price, starting at $1,384.

The Latitude D610, which has a starting weight of 4.67 pounds, features Intel Corp.s next-generation Centrino mobile architecture (code-named Sonoma), providing an Intel 915 chip set that now supports PCI Express. In addition to the chip set, the Centrino platform comprises Intels Pentium M Processor and the vendors newest wireless and graphics solutions.

For more information on the Sonoma platform, click here.
The Latitude D610 eWEEK Labs tested, which lists for $1,687, features a 1.6GHz Pentium M 730 Processor, 512MB of 400MHz DDR2 (double data rate 2) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM) and a 40GB hard drive that spins at 5,400 rpm. The laptop is armed with a 14.1-inch XGA 1,400-by-1,050-pixel display with a 130-degree viewing angle and includes Intels Media Accelerator 900 integrated graphics.

The system we evaluated includes an Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG networking card and Bluetooth 2.0; an Intel Pro/Wireless 2915ABG card is also available.

In performance testing, the Latitude D610 delivered a strong 17.6 on the Business Winstone 2004 benchmark, finishing slightly ahead of a comparably equipped IBM T42 laptop we benchmarked last year. The Business Winstone 2004 benchmark tests performance as a computer runs a suite of desktop applications.

While it couldnt beat the IBM T42 on the Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004 benchmark, the Latitude D610 still scored a solid 20.6. (The IBM T42 scored an impressive 21 on the benchmark.) Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2004 tests how drives perform real-world applications while executing scripts that represent user workloads.

Aside from performance, road warriors are most concerned about battery life. During the BatteryMark test, we got a respectable 4 hours of battery life from the Latitude D610. (And because business laptops see a lot of travel time, we like that Dell offers a three-year warranty on the system.)

The Latitude D610 comes with Dells TPM (Trusted Platform Module) security technology and an integrated smart-card reader. The TPM, which is integrated with the systems hardware, lets users create and store encryption keys.

Also available is Dells OpenManage client software, a suite of hardware configuration and management utilities, as well as backup/ recovery solutions based on Altiris Inc. technology.

The laptop we tested includes a CD-RW/DVD ROM combo; an upgrade to a DV+/-RW burner will cost $80 more. Organizations that have docking solutions from other D-series laptops can use them with the D610. A port replicator costs $199, while a docking station costs $359.

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached via e-mail at anne_chen@ziffdavis.com.

Editors Note: This story was corrected to accurately describe the Latitude D610s integrated graphics hardware. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

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