By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2006-03-29 Print this article Print

Boasting a wide screen, Intels latest dual-core processors and a broad set of connectivity choices, Dells Latitude D620 is a strong notebook contender that will be especially appealing to road warriors.

With a starting weight of 4.41 pounds, with a four-cell battery, the Latitude D620 comes equipped with a choice of Intel Core Solo or Core Duo processors. eWEEK Labs 5-pound test unit came with a six-cell battery that gave us a good 4 hours, 36 minutes of battery life.
The Latitude D620, released March 29, is the first business laptop from Dell to sport a wide-screen display—14.1 inches.
And, while many laptop manufacturers have begun offering integrated EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized), the D620 is the first laptop weve seen to do so with an integrated antenna—a nice touch. To see how far the Latitude series has come, see eWEEK Labs review of the Latitude D610 here. The D620 is also the only notebook weve seen so far to offer a choice of wireless broadband services—either Cingulars 3G HSPDA (High-Speed Packet Download Access) network ($225 for the WWAN, or wireless WAN, hardware) or Verizon Wireless EvDO network ($179 for the WWAN hardware). This makes the Latitude D620 more appealing to users who often travel internationally, as HSPDA is more common in European countries. Click here to read more about Dells new Latitude notebooks with wireless broadband capability. In its $1,149 base configuration, the Latitude D620 includes a 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo T2300 processor, a 14.1-inch screen, 512MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive and a Wi-Fi module capable of accessing 802.11b and 802.11g networks. The Latitude D620 eWEEK Labs tested, which lists for $1,961, features the more performance-oriented 1.83GHz T2400 Intel Core Duo dual-core processor, 1GB of DDR2 (double-data-rate 2) RAM and an 80GB hard drive. The laptop can also be purchased with the T2300, T2500 and T2600 Core Duo processors, as well as with the Core Solo T1300, a single-core processor. The laptop includes Intels Graphics Media Accelerator 950, and the 14.1-inch wide-aspect display has a 1,280-by-800 pixel resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio that will be ideal for business travelers. When it comes to connectivity, the Latitude D620 is hard to beat. The system we evaluated was equipped with the standard dual-band Intel Pro/Wireless 3945A/G and Bluetooth connectivity. The unit also has a handy Wi-Fi Catcher, an LED activated with a hardware switch that indicates if a wireless network is available, even when the laptop is not powered on. The unit we tested was also equipped with an integrated WWAN antenna and radio that provided broadband-like speed wirelessly over Cingulars HSDPA network. The service was fast in San Francisco, where we tested the laptop, but it may not be as sprightly in all cities (depending on HSDPA coverage). IT managers may also find the WWAN service cost-prohibitive for what it offers (for now, anyway). Cingular has a $59.99-per-month unlimited access plan for customers who already have a voice contract. Verizon offers a similar $59.99 plan for subscribers. IT managers can choose to have the WWAN hardware (a Mini PCI card) added to the Latitude D620 at the factory, or it can be added at a later date. Dell officials said this model also will allow users to switch carriers if they want to. The Latitude D620 features both a Dell DualPoint integrated pointing device mouse and a touch-pad. IT managers who use biometric security can also opt to have a fingerprint reader added (for $50) to the full-sized keyboard. The Latitude D620 is armed with four USB ports, IrDA, a SmartCard reader and a Type I/II PCMCIA card slot. The unit also comes with an optical drive—ours sported a 24x CDRW/DVD combo drive that was OK, but a double-layer DVD+/- RW drive like the one that the HP Compaq nc6320 has would have been nicer. We used BAPCOs (Business Applications Performances) MobileMark 2005 to test the D620s battery life. MobileMark measures a systems battery life and performance with a core office productivity test that models a mobile professionals workload. Read more here about how eWEEK Labs tests notebooks. With the 6-cell battery, our unit turned in 4 hours, 36 minutes of battery life on the MobileMark test. A nine-cell battery ($99 pre-configured) is also available and will give users up to 7 hours of run-time, according to Dell. The battery comes with an LED charge indicator that allowed us to see how much run-time and overall battery life was available. Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

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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