Buying A Mini Laptop – Dell Latitude E6220

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Are you considering buying a mini laptop? If you want buy one of those premium ultraportables you might want to consider getting this Dell Latitude E6220 especially if you do a lot of travelling for business purposes. If you think that the MacBook Air is not as rugged as you wished, this model could be an interesting option to consider.

This would have to be a powerful 12.5-inch laptop that offers a solid battery life and benefits from a bunch of military-spec rugged features that make it one of the most resistant ultraportables available on the market. However, all of these goodies come at a steep price because the base model will set you back $1,663 while the following version costs a little over two grand!

Dell Latitude E6220 (Source: images.logicbuy.com)

Dell Latitude E6220 (Source: images.logicbuy.com)

Under the hood is a second-gen Intel Core i5-2540M processor running at 2.60 GHz which should take care of all the tasks you have to accomplish. It works together with 4GB of DDR3 RAM running at a speed of 1,333 MHz. For storage it packs an SSD that has a capacity of 128GB which might not be enough for some people (256GB SSD available for more money). The chipset installed in this Dell Latitude E6220 is an Intel HM65, while the graphics department is handled by the Intel HD 3000, an integrated GPU solution with shared system memory.

The operating system that this ultraportable is working on is Windows 7 Professional, the 64-bit edition. The E6220 measures 12.2 x 8.9 x 0.97 inches and has a curb weight of 3.7 pounds, while the AC adapter weighs an additional 0.7 pounds, for a grand total of 4.4 pounds. As we mentioned earlier, we are dealing with a rugged laptop so it’s safe to compare it to a Toshiba ToughBook or a Lenovo ThinkPad. It adopts Dell’s “Tri-Metal” design which consists of magnesium alloy corners, an anodized aluminum back lid, steel rear hinges and a powder-coated magnesium base. In addition, the keyboard on this ultraportable is spill-resistant.

Dell Latitude E6220 (Source: killerfeatures.com)

Dell Latitude E6220 (Source: killerfeatures.com)

We have to warn you that even though the laptop is sort of lightweight, it feels chunky and thick due to the reason that it has a small footprint which accentuates the ultraportable’s thickness. In addition to this, there’s also a rear lip behind the lid which increases the bulk of the back end. The advantage of this additional thickness would have to be the shock absorption, but the bad news is that Dell wasn’t able to fit this model with an optical drive which for some business users is an important feature.

The semi-raised keyboard of the Dell Latitude E6220 is backlit and manages to be quite comfortable, much like most of the keyboards made by this company lately. It comes with a small yet wide touchpad that also works great as it offers a high response level. However, since its size is on the small side, performing multitouch gestures might be a problem. Underneath this touchpad you will notice the discrete buttons, while above the keyboard you’ll find a bunch of dedicated volume control buttons.

Dell Latitude E6220 (Source: bestlaptopnews.com)

Dell Latitude E6220 (Source: bestlaptopnews.com)

Unlike most of the other laptops out there, regardless of their type, the 12.5-inch display of the E6220 has a matte finish which protects it from attracting glare. However, even though the picture is bright, it is not vivid enough in our humble opinion so it makes it suitable only for work, rather than entertainment. Its native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels is pretty much the standard these days among laptops up to a size of the 15.6 inches. On the underside of the front edge Dell has installed stereo speakers which offer an average sound so you might want to buy a pair of headphones or even some external speaker for better audio quality. Also on board is a webcam which is capable of capturing pictures at the maximum resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. The quality of the photos is good but nothing to write home about.

Now, let’s talk about what the Dell Latitude E6220 has to offer in terms of connectivity. To begin with, you get VGA and HDMI ports for video connections, while in the audio area it has a headphone/microphone jack. As for data, it packs two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 2.0/eSATA combo port, an ExpressCard slot and an SD card reader. For networking it comes with 802.11n Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, Bluetooth, along with optional mobile broadband and WiMax.

Dell Latitude E6220 (Source: pricemug.com)

Dell Latitude E6220 (Source: pricemug.com)

The CPU in this configuration is an Intel Core i5-2520M running at 2.50 GHz while for $120 more you could get this Latitude E6220 with a beefier Core i7-2640M clocked at 2.80 GHz. However, you should be just fine with the less powerful i5 when running office and productivity tasks. For a power graphics user, that Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics solution is not enough, but for the business traveler is more than enough.

The entry-level version of this ultraportable is equipped with a 250GB hard drive running at 5,400 rpm and 4GB of DDR3 RAM. On the company’s website you can double the RAM amount for $175 more, while a 128GB solid state drive costs an additional $230 ($580 for the 256GB SSD). For approximately $1,600 you could order an Apple MacBook Air equipped with a 256GB SSD.

Dell Latitude E6220 (Source: regmedia.co.uk)

Dell Latitude E6220 (Source: regmedia.co.uk)

It comes with a 6-cell battery that can last for approximately five and a half hours during a very demanding video playback test. This is a good performance offered by the Dell Latitude E6220 but most of the ultraportables available are able to offer more battery life than this Latitude. Keep in mind that this performance is available with the extended battery which is going to cost you an additional $19 and it will add rear bulk to the laptop.

What we like about this model is that it’s offered with a 3-year, mail-in service hardware warranty, but even so the ultraportable remains quite expensive for most people. You are able to extend the warranty of this model for up to 5 years but this is going to set you back more than $300.

All things considered, the Dell Latitude E6220 is a fast and durable ultraportable that manages to remain compact. The battery life is also good while the hardware components are powerful enough. The bad news? It costs a small fortune! If you do have the money, it’s totally worth it.