Latitude D620

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

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.

The D620 has a starting weight of 4.37 pounds with a four-cell battery and comes with a choice of Intel Core Solo or Core Duo processors. Our 5-pound test unit had a dual-core processor and a six-cell battery.

The D620, released in March, is the first business laptop of its size from Dell to sport a widescreen display—14.1 inches. In addition, while many laptop manufacturers have begun offering integrated EvDO, the D620 is the only laptop weve seen to do so with an integrated antenna—a nice touch.

The D620 is also the only notebook weve seen so far to offer a choice of wireless broadband services—either Verizon Wireless EvDO network ($179 for the WWAN hardware) or Cingulars third-generation HSDPA network ($225 for the WWAN hardware). This makes the D620 more appealing to users who often travel internationally, as HSDPA is more common in European countries.

In its base $1,149 configuration, the 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 D620 that we tested, which lists for $1,961, features the more performance-oriented 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo T2400 processor, 1GB of DDR2 (double data rate 2) RAM and an 80GB hard drive. The laptop also can be purchased with Intels Core Duo T2300, T2500 or T2600 processors or with the Core Solo T1300, a single-core processor.

The D620 includes Intels GMA (Graphics Media Accelerator) 950. 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 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 also came with an integrated WWAN antenna and radio that provided broadbandlike speed wirelessly over Cingulars HSDPA network.

IT managers can choose to have the WWAN hardware (a Mini PCI card) added to the D620 at the factory or at a later date. Dell officials said this will allow users to switch carriers if they want to.

The D620 features both a Dell DualPoint integrated pointing device and a touch-pad. IT managers who use biometric security also can opt to have a fingerprint reader added (for $50) to the full-size keyboard.

The fingerprint reader ties in to the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) and is managed with the Wave Embassy Security Center.

While the Lenovo ThinkPad X60s and the HP Compaq nc6320 came with active hard drive protection, the D620 had none. We hope to see this protection added in future Dell notebooks.

The D620 is armed with four USB ports, IrDA support, a smart-card reader and a Type I/II PCMCIA card slot. The unit also comes with an optical drive—ours sported a 24-speed CD-RW/DVD combo drive that was OK, but a double-layer DVD+/-RW drive such as the one that the HP Compaq nc6320 has would have been nicer.

With the extended battery, our unit ran for 4 hours and 36 minutes on the BAPCO MobileMark test. A nine-cell battery (priced at $99 preconfigured) is also available and will give users up to 7 hours of running 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 were available.


Lenovos ThinkPad T60 This corporate mainstay lacks a widescreen display and is relatively expensive, but its features make it worth the cost for organizations that can afford it; the laptop also has a great management suite (

HPs HP Compaq nc6320 Corporate-class notebook that is slightly heavier than its competitors, at 6.1 pounds, but that offers a number of great features (