Review: Dell Latitude D600
March 24th, 2003
In late March 2003, Dell's Latitude D600 became commonly available. The D600 is the first Pentium-M based laptop from Dell. Along with internal advances in chip and motherboard, the Latitude D600 is also a complete redesign (including module bay) of the mid-weight 'desktop-equivalent' portion of Dell's five-part laptop line - the first such redesign in several years.
What it has
What it doesnt have (that some competitors in the same laptop segment do)
Configurations & availability
The Latitude D600 configuration tested for this review was a fairly high-end version, with a 1.4 GHz processor, a 40 GB hard drive, a SXGA+ screen, a CD-RW/DVD-ROM 'combo' drive, a dual-mode 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi card, and Bluetooth. With these specifications, it comes in at approximately $1,800 educational - the kind of competitive pricing the University has come to expect from Dell.
The Latitude D600 is offered in many build-to-order configurations, which can be ordered through the Computer Connection. Major configuration variations include processor (1.3 GHz to 1.6 GHz), hard drive size (20 GB to 60 GB), screen resolution (1024x768 [XGA] or 1400x1050 [SXGA+]), optical drive (CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM, or CD-RW/DVD-ROM 'combo'), integrated Wi-Fi (Dell or Intel), and integrated Bluetooth (yes or no).
The Computer Connection also has a specially priced configuration available for the Latitude D600:
1.4 GHz/512 MB/30 GB/combo/14.1-inch XGA/modem/ethernet/802.11b (PennKey authentication required)
The Latitude D600 shows the improvements gained from both a complete redesign and the Pentium-M chip. Compared to its Latitude C640 predecessor, the D600 is about 0.7 pounds lighter (5.3 pounds versus 6.0 pounds with optical drive onboard) and 0.2 inches thinner (1.2 inches thick versus 1.4 inches thick). This brings Dell's professional laptops into the weight and size mainstream in this laptop segment.
The Latitude D600 also shows significant refinement in other ways. In addition to being 2/3 the size of the C-series modules, the D-series removeable modules are now in the more standard side-entry configuration, instead of the front. Furthermore, the modules can now be ejected without turning the laptop over.
These workstations form the vital center of Dell's professional laptop line. Dell attempts to differentiate in this market by the additional of value-added features, such as:
Technical issues & recommendations
Information Systems & Computing (ISC) does not expect there to be significant hardware-related compatibility problems with the Latitude D600. However, the Latitude D600 will have the same software-related conflicts that any Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional workstation would have.
ISC has tested the Latitude D600 for compatibility with University-supported hardware and software. The Latitude D600 is compatible with the 2002 PennConnect CD-ROM and with Penns supported network applications.
It should be noted that the Latitude D600, like many newer laptops, does not ship with a standard floppy drive. Dell's suggested solution for users who need a floppy drive is to connect one via USB.
Properly configured, these workstations meet ISCs Recommended Configurations for Mid-Weight 'Desktop-Equivalent' Laptop Workstations. As always, support providers should be aware of the potential technical issues associated with any new workstation design.
--John Mulhern III, Senior IT Project Leader, ISC Technology Support Services (March 24, 2003)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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