Review: Dell Latitude E4200
July 7, 2010
After an August 2008 product announcement, Dell made its Latitude E4200 12-inch widescreen notebook available for ordering in September 2008. The E4200 is based on Intel's Montevina/Centrino2 notebook platform and replaced the Latitude D430 as Dell's smallest and lightest Latitude. This review is a significantly revised follow-up to an earlier review from January 2009.
Unlike the 13-inch, 14-inch, and 15-inch E-series Latitudes, the Latitude E4200 will not be receiving an upgraded model with Intel's Core i chipset. Rather, it continues with ultra low voltage versions of the Core 2 Duo processor. Information Systems & Computing (ISC) does not expect the E4200 to be significantly revised until early 2011.
Design and Changes
The Latitude E4200 weighs 2.3 pounds and its enclosure is approximately the same size as the Latitude D430 it replaced. Travel weight (which includes power adapter) is 2.8 pounds. Along with all of Dell's E-series Latitudes, the E4200 has a brushed black and aluminum look and feel and includes ports such as eSATA and SmartCard. In casual use, it may feel almost too light to those familiar with the dense feel of many enterprise class 12-inch and 13-inch notebooks. Over time, most users will feel gratified with the E4200's light weight (even the power supply is notably thin and light).
A backlit keyboard is optional and multiple color options are available at extra cost. An integrated web camera was not offered on introduction but is now available.
The Latitude E4200 includes a significant software enhancement from previous generation 12-inch systems, but this change is as yet incomplete and comes in two types.
When appropriately configured, the Latitude E4200 is EPEAT Gold-compliant and Energy Star 5.0-certified. Power usage information for the E4200 and other notebooks and desktops in use at the University is available here.
Several notes when ordering a Latitude E4200 through Dell's Premier Page for the University:
See ISC's Notebook Purchasing Guide for more configuration advice. As of July 2010, configuring a Latitude E4200 to the lightweight notebook specification can be done for approximately $1,950. A configuration that meets and sometimes exceeds this specification is available from the Computer Connection.
Windows 7 Performance
ISC tested a Latitude E4200 with 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo ULV, 1066 MHz 3.0 GB RAM, integrated Intel 4500MHD graphics, a 128 GB solid state drive, and Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit. It received a Windows Experience Index base score of 3.2, with individual scores of:
These scores suggest that Windows 7 performance will be acceptable to good for most users of a Latitude E4200 configured in this manner. The primary hard disk score reflects the speed of the solid state drive.
ISC sees the Latitude E4200 as being a competitive choice among lightweight notebooks available in mid 2010, especially for the traditional thin and light customer (someone who is replacing an older lightweight Latitude or ThinkPad). Pricing with the solid state-only E4200 continues to be higher than 12-inch notebooks that are available with hard disk drives, so price sensitive 12-inch buyers may wish to consider Lenovo's ThinkPad X201 and X201s, which are available with hard disk drives.
When correctly configured to the lightweight notebook specification in the Notebook Purchasing Guide, the Latitude E4200 continues to be approved for general use at the University.
Latitude E4200 graphic courtesy of Dell
--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services (July 7, 2010)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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