August 15, 2012
- Sturdy design
- Extra long battery life
- Very good performance
- Slightly heavier & larger than others
- Pointing stick isn't placed correctly
Just in time for fall shopping, the Dell Latitude E6430 is a 14-inch laptop that hopes to break through. It has a sturdy design, very strong performance and extra long battery life. It does weigh more than other similar laptops and has a few other small quirks.
The Dell Latitude E6430 has a gray aluminum lid and a matte chrome body, which is similar to the Dell Latitude notebooks that have come before it. It has a slightly flashier design that other 14-inch notebooks to help it stand out from the crowd in that respect, but for the most part, it has a standard design. It measures 13.9 x 9.5 x 1.3-inches and weighs 5.4-pounds, which is a little bit larger and heavier than most 14-inch notebooks, which can hold it back slightly in the portability category.
Dell chose a spill-resistant keyboard with full backlighting for the E6430. The keys gave a good amount of feedback and didn't feel mushy. The typing experience was only made even more comfortable because the palm rests below the keyboard were soft. The touchpad was large enough for multitouch gestures and the two discrete buttons below the pad worked well. For pointing stick officionados, Dell placed one between the G and H keys but we found it too low in height to use with good accuracy.
The 14-inch LED backlit display has a native resolution of 1600 x 900-pixels, which is on-par with other similar laptops. We found the display's quality to be very good with wide viewing angles in addition to a bright backlight. Watching streaming HD movies was a plesant experience.
The selection of ports includes two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a USB 2.0/eSATA combo port, an HDMI-out port, VGA-out, Ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks, an ExpressCard/54 slot and a SmartCard slot. There is also a DVD+/-RW drive and 802.11n wireless connectivity.
Our review model included a third-gen Intel Core i7-3520M (2.9GHz) CPU, 6GB of RAM, a 128GB solid-state hard drive and integrated Intel 4000 HD graphics. A PCMark 7 benchmark scored 5,009, which is a score almost double the category average. The solid-state hard drive returned speedy file transfer speeds and boot times.
The integrated Intel graphics means that the E6430 is definitely no gaming laptop, so look elsewhere if you want to do 3D gaming.
Battery life with the 9-cell battery that our review unit had lasted almost 11-hours, which is several hours longer than similar 14-inch laptops.