Review: Dell Latitude XT2 XFR
March 12, 2010
Dell announced the Latitude XT2 XFR on October 27, 2009. The XT2 XFR is Dell's first rugged Tablet PC and enters a small market - its only major competitor is the Panasonic Toughbook 19. With its 5.4 pound minimum weight and convertible configuration, the XT2 XFR has the potential to meet the needs of the University's Windows-based users who need rugged Tablet PC capability (examples of such needs include field work, manufacturing, and law enforcement).
The Latitude XT2 XFR is a single-spindle, 12-inch widescreen convertible Tablet PC. It uses a 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo ultra-low-voltage (ULV) processor.
At approximately 30% to 60% brighter than most LCD screens (400 nits), the 1280 x 800 display is a wide-aspect LCD designed for outdoor viewing. For input, the screen is a capacitive multi-touch screen, allowing input from both finger and pen. Touch input supported includes scroll, rotate, zoom, and double-tap.
The Latitude XT2 XFR includes standard 4-pin FireWire along with an Express Card 54 slot and a SecureDigital card slot. Three USB ports are included, one of them shared with an eSATA port.
Ruggedness is accomplished with features such as sealed keyboards (one backlit and rubberized), heavy duty, reinforced hinges, protective covers for I/O ports, and shock-mounted drives. As is expected with highly ruggedized notebooks, the XT2 XFR is MIL-STD-810G-certified.
The Latitude XT XFR weighs approximately 5.4 to 5.9 pounds (depending on battery) with a travel weight (including power adapter) of about 5.9 to 6.4 pounds. This is heavy by the standards of non-rugged notebooks, but light compared to most other ruggedized notebooks - many of which have traveling weights in the 8.0 pound range.
The Latitude XT2 XFR is EPEAT Gold-compliant and Energy Star 5.0-certified.
Several considerations when ordering a Latitude XT2 XFR through Dell's Premier Page for the University:
See ISC's Tablet PC Purchasing Guide for more configuration hints, with a note that pricing in the guide is for "normal", non-rugged Tablet PCs. As of March 2010, configuring a Latitude XT2 XFR to the Tablet PC specification can be done for approximately $2,950 to $3,350.
ISC tested a Latitude XT2 XFR with 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo, 667 MHz 2.0 GB RAM, integrated Intel 4500MHD graphics, 64 GB solid state drive, and Windows Vista Business 32-bit. It received a Windows Experience Index base score of 3.2, with individual scores of:
These scores suggest that Windows Vista and Windows 7 performance will be acceptable for most users on a Latitude XT2 XFR configured in this manner.
ISC sees the Latitude XT2 XFR as being an important option among rugged Tablet PCs available in early 2010. The combination of multi-touch capability along with light weight for a rugged notebook give users options they did not previously have for challenging environmental conditions.
Like with any user of a rugged notebook, potential purchasers of the XT2 XFR need to be sure that the extra capability justifies the considerable extra cost compared to that of a "normal" enterprise class Tablet PC. The price delta between an XT2 XFR and an XT2 is approximately $850.
Thanks to Shane Budde, Erica Hilgeman, Jason Trumpy, and Chuck Wilkinson for their help with this review.
Latitude XT2 XFR graphic courtesy of Dell
--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services (March 12, 2010)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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