Acer TravelMate 4150LMi
Dell Latitude D610
LG LW60 Express
MSI Megabook S260
MSI Megabook S270
Samsung M40 plus
Toshiba Tecra M3
How we tested
CPU -- Intel
For its size and features the Dell is surprisingly heavy at 2.42kg. The notebook is quite robust although moderate impacts on the back of the display tend to unsettle the image. With a standard aspect ratio and 1024 x 768 resolution resulting in large but blocky screen fonts, this 14in display is not a standout in this crowd. Graphics power is derived from the integrated Intel chipset and proves more than acceptable for most business applications, however it is certainly eclipsed by the third-party graphics solutions sported by many of the other notebooks in this review.
The Dell's keys are surprisingly large, in particular the often-used keys like Enter, Shift, Backspace and Tab, for example, are as large or even larger than most desktop keyboards. The travel and feedback is good and while the keys are not colour differentiated some of the bright blue legends do stand out. The Dell has both a track point and a touch pad -- both are pretty standard fare with just two buttons each and no dedicated scroll areas.
The volume level from the two speakers under the palm rest is very loud, however the audio is tinny and can be irritating at high-volume levels.
WLAN and LAN connectivity is broad with 802.11a/b/g and gigabit Ethernet and while four USB2 ports are generous, the lack of a Firewire port may be a problem for those that have external storage or video camera applications that require this port. Other omissions include memory card slots although with the single PC Card slot you could of course purchase an adaptor.
The Dell was the only notebook to include a smartcard reader and associated OtaniumSuite management software. It also was equipped with the fastest Intel mobile processor available and sports 1GB of DDR2, with a possible upgrade to 2GB -- an impressive configuration, with impressive performance figures to boot. This machine scored the highest in the Content Creation test than any of the Intel-based notebooks, only the Asus equipped with an AMD Turion managed to best the Dell in this test. Business application performance was also very good with a fourth place overall.
Dell claims a four-hour battery life, which may sound ambitious but we managed to draw the battery pack to four hours, 34 minutes.
Heat generation for this processor was slightly above average with a spot peak temperature of 37°C and a milder 29°C issuing from the heat exchanger vent.