What is being reviewed?
Up for review today is the Dell Latitude E6520, a 15 inch notebook that (if you ask us) is sporting a rather nice overall look and feel. The Latitude E6520 brings specs to include 2nd generation Intel Core processors, up to 8GB of RAM, a 15.6 inch display, Windows 7, a spill-resistant keyboard and overall rugged design.
Disclaimer: This Dell Latitude E6520 noteboook was provided to Gadgetell for the purpose of this review.
While these will certainly change depending on the amount of customizing you choose, here is what the base model Latitude E6520 (priced at $729) will ship with;
- 15.6 inch HD (1366 x 768) Anti-Glare LED display
- Intel HD Graphics 3000
- 2.10GHz Intel Core i3-2310M processor
- 2GB RAM
- 250GB (5400RPM) hard drive
- 6-cell battery
- 8x DVD optical drive
- Windows 7 Home Premium
And as for the unit that we tested, that arrived packing a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2520M processor with 4GB of RAM and running Windows 7 Professional.
Having spent a few weeks with the Latitude E6520 we are finding ourselves impressed. But perhaps a bit more important, some non-techie guests that have stopped by the office have also commented on the notebook. Overall the reaction from us as well as others has been positive. The E6520 is a sturdy feeling notebook, which most likely comes as a result of having a MIL-STD 810G tested Tri-Metal design. According to Dell, the notebook has a “highly durable anodized aluminum display back, a tough powder-coated base, reinforced steel hinges, a magnesium alloy internal frame and zinc alloy latch.” According to us, it feels like it will take quite a bit of abuse before it breaks — not that we would suggest or endorse abusing your laptop. Furthermore, they keyboard comes as spill-resistant and the display has a protective seal and bumper for added protection. In short, it is nice to have something that does not feel fragile, or like you are going to break it.
Otherwise, speaking other than the processor, RAM and version of Windows — the E6520 is pretty nicely equipped. The notebook has Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity as well as HDMI, VGA, firewire and several USB ports. And nicely done, of those several USB ports, you can find one on the right side, one on the backside and one on the left side. There is also a headphone jack (on the left), an SD card reader (on the front) and a hardware switch to turn the Wi-Fi on or off when not needed to save battery power.
The E6520 is sporting a hardware volume up/down and mute key which sit above the keyboard. And speaking of the keyboard, it comes (as one would expect on a 15 inch notebook) as full sized. But perhaps a bit more to the point, it is a full sized keyboard that also has a separate numeric keypad sitting on the right side. As for the trackpad, that was there with two-buttons. The trackpad and buttons seemed to be of good size and had good response in use. But coming as something that ThinkPad users will like, there is also a finger mouse that sits in between the G, H and B keys with three buttons just below the space bar. The keyboard itself felt pretty nice to type on, the keys feel solid and are fairly sensitive in that you do not need to mash in super hard on them.
Aside from the keyboard and port layout, of which that later is super important, especially for those times you want to plug in an external mouse and need a right side port for a right handed user. And vice versa, for the lefty as well. The notebook itself stood in for what we needed and more. It performed well for both work and play related tasks and that suggests that the techie and non-techie audience should be right at home. After all, we are talking about typing, editing some images, editing some home video, listening to music and watching video. And for the music and video, it came as a mix of streaming content as well as locally stored content. But again, the notebook we tested had a solid processor and a decent amount of RAM, and Mac users can say what they want about Windows, but Windows 7 Professional is more than enough to get the job done. The display offered a nice viewing experience for web video, and the occasional movie and thanks to the internal DVD drive, we were able to watch a regular DVD as well as streaming from Netflix.
The bottom line
While we are not necessarily fans of the overall size of the notebook in terms of portability, that is something that would arrive with any 15.6 inch notebook. Not to mention, we suspect that plenty of notebook users rarely if ever take their computer outside of home so in that respect, the larger display and nicer keyboard are welcomed. That aside though, having the Latitude E6520 in house for a few weeks, we have to say that we are certainly impressed. Of course, with an Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM we sort of expected it to perform well, but speaking in terms of the notebook itself — the look, overall design and build quality — lets just say that Dell has done well with this model. That leaves the big question; Would we shell out any of our hard earned cash towards the purchase of Dell Latitude E6520 notebook? Without question, and taking that a step further, we also would not hesitate to offer a recommendation should a friend of family member find themselves looking for a notebook with a 15.6 inch display.
Product [Dell Latitude E6520]