Dude, it

Earlier this year, Dell Inc. introduced two new business-class notebooks that offer dual-core processing, expanded wireless mobility options and the promise of extended battery life that was not available on previous models.

I recently had the opportunity to test one of the company’s new laptops, the Dell Latitude D620, for a period of two weeks. The other new model released by Dell was the Latitude D820.

The first thing I noticed when I got the notebook was how light it was. I couldn’t believe the box held a laptop. The D620 was a lightweight at 4.4 pounds, making it easy to lug around when I was traveling about.

While the D620 looks small in size, it actually boasts a 14.1-inch-wide aspect screen that looks similar to the screen on my personal laptop, Dell’s Inspiron 6000, which has a screen size of 15.14 inches.

The notebook is also just a little bit over an inch in thickness, with the D620 measuring 1.26 inches. It managed to fit nicely in my bag without the unit sticking out, unlike my Inspiron 6000.

The keyboard also had a nice feel to it and my hands and wrists were able to rest comfortably on the edge of the laptop.

As well, the D620 features both a touchpad mouse and a trackball mouse. However, I found the touchpad mouse awkward to use as it wouldn’t let me scroll up and down Web pages or documents easily. Instead, I had to keep pressing the screen’s scroll bar to accomplish this task. My Inspiron 6000, on the other hand, lets me scroll up and down a page using the touchpad with relative ease.

A new feature with the D620 that has not been available on previous Dell notebooks is a “Wi-Fi Catcher,” which indicates what available wireless networks are operating within the area without having to power up the laptop.

The notebook also has a dual-core processor that promised better performance, but I didn’t really notice any difference between the D620 and my single-core laptop.

However, the one thing I did notice was the lesser amount of heat that was emitted from the dual-core computer than from my Inspiron.

The most important question, however, is how long do the batteries last?

Dell has said that the battery life on these notebooks is supposed to enable all-day computing (about eight hours). However, when I took it away from its power cord to test this theory, I only got about five hours out of the notebook.

Aside from the dual-core processors and the promise of all-day computing, securing the laptop is also important and the D620 offers several different security features.

Biometrics is hot right now, and the D620 comes with a fingerprint scanner to enable a greater level of security. Unfortunately, I had a hard time configuring this security option. I had trouble locating the pre-installed Dell Embassy Trust suite that was supposed to help me set this feature up and, growing frustrated, I soon gave up my search.

According to Dell, the D620 comes equipped with hard drive protection, magnesium alloy construction and a spill-resistant keyboard that is designed to “withstand life’s bumps and bruises.” As much as I wanted to drop the laptop and spill my drink across the keyboard to test these features, I resisted the temptation, so I’ll just have to take Dell’s word for it.

While I liked the look and feel of the D620 and the dual-core processor, I would have to pass on it because I found the notebook slightly difficult to configure for my personal use and setting up the security features proved a frustrating experience, as was using the touchpad mouse.

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— with files from Greg Enright

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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