No-nonsense Latitude

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The Dell Latitude 6430u is an unassuming little buddy. Behind its simple design lies a powerful device that delivers exactly what it says it does on the package.

An ultrabook offering by Dell, the Latitude 6430u is a 14-incher that runs on an Intel i5 processor.

The 8GB RAM handles all tasks thrown its way with relative ease. Here’s why.

Design and Hardware
This laptop’s aesthetics keeps it simple. A matte finish gives it an elegant, subdued gleam—which, together with its magnesium frame, makes the laptop appear slimmer. The sexy chrome logo of Dell on top holds the design of the laptop together.

Unlike other laptops that sacrifice space for the battery, Dell has incorporated the battery within the Latitude’s slim design. So it doesn’t protrude in back. Quite the opposite, actually. The battery is in front. And unless you try to remove the battery, you wouldn’t even know it’s there.

The Latitude 6430u has all the essentials of an ultrabook sans an optical drive (you would have to get an external DVD-ROM). but that is hardly a problem since nobody uses optical drives anymore.

On its left side are the VGA adapter, charger port, USB port, and headphone/mic jack. In back is the huge fan vent and on each side of that is the HDMI and the eSATA port. The right side has the LAN port, another USB port, and an SD card reader.

At the back of the monitor are three LED lights indicating battery state and power on. The screen can be folded back to more than 180 degrees, and can be laid flat on a desk.

The Latitude 6430u’s keyboards have gone the way of many other laptops, sporting a back-lit chiclet keyboard. And if you’re a fan of dead silence when you work, you will appreciate the soft keypad that produces hardly any sound.

The 14-inch, anti-glare screen with a 1366 x 768 resolution is versatile enough for everything from creating presentations to watching movies.

One drawback, however, is that while everything seems to fall into place to create an ideal ultrabook, the Latitude 6430u does not sport a touch-enabled screen. This could be a major turn- off for many users, since the Latitude 6430u runs on Windows 8 Pro.*

The touch pad is as simple as it gets. Oddly enough, there is a pointing stick.

*Microsoft has done away with the traditional start button on the bottom left. It replaced this with a tiled start screen showing all the apps. Confusing at first, but you will soon become used to the new layout. A quick swipe on the touchpad toward the left will reveal the start screen. Or you can just press the Windows button on the keyboard. Users who are reluctant to change, however, will rejoice to hear that Microsoft will bring back the start button in Windows 8.1.

Speed and Battery
Boasting an i5 processor, this ultrabook can handle all your business apps. Except for the desktop’s graphic performance, the laptop scored reasonably well in the Windows Experience Index. The Windows Experience Index (with a score range of 1 to 9.9) will usually display the lowest score from the five components, namely calculations per second (7.1), memory operations per second (7.5), desktop graphics performance (5.7), gaming graphics (6.5), and disk data transfer rate for the primary hard disk (8.1).

Games started without a hitch, running well in their highest settings (I played Dead Island), and the USB ports are the exact embodiment of the plug- and-play ideal.

No hitches either whenever a USB thumb drive is plugged in, and the file-transfer rate is ridiculously fast. I transferred a 1GB movie from laptop to USB in seconds.

This particular ultrabook is equipped with a 6-cell Li-polymer battery with ExpressCharge. That means you can have the laptop powered on for an entire workday without charging. That is 7–8 hours of uninterrupted work.

Playing games, however, will whittle down the number of hours to 4–5 depending on the settings. But if you need to charge, ExpressCharge will fill your battery up in no time.

As for the start-up time, you can work from the get-go since the Latitude 6430u has substantially reduced boot time. Press the power button and start working in less than 15 seconds.

Final Verdict
The Dell Latitude 6430u is ideal for mobile businessmen who want to work and play on the same devise. Highly recommended if you’ve got money to burn because this ultrabook costs a hefty Php73,500. The price means, however, that you get a powerful machine that can answer all the laptop needs you didn’t know you had.

The drawbacks of this laptop? It’s not touch-enabled and there’s that unnecessary pointing stick. Other than that, Dell did not go down the gimmicky road and kept things simple with the Latitude 6430u, unlike other brands.

Print ed: 11/13


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