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Dell Latitude E6510 review

Barry de la Rosa
5 Jul 2010
Dell Latitude E6510
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
2,352
inc VAT

Desktop performance, SSD storage, a Full HD display and numerous security and support options

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Dell's Latitude E6510 is one of the company's latest range of business laptops, designed to take more punishment than an average consumer laptop while providing all of the features that business users need. Prices start from £1,103 including VAT, but Dell sent us a fully-loaded model, which costs over £2,000.

The E6510a is a solid hunk of a laptop, with square edges and a plain finish (except for the brushed-metal lid). Build quality is superb, with the keyboard and casing having very little flex, while the stiff lid protects the screen completely. We were impressed with the reinforced hinges that look like they'll take years of operation.

The fitted 256GB SSD is immune to the shocks and bumps that can destroy a hard disk, but it's an expensive option at £486 + VAT. If you want to opt for a standard hard disk you'll get more disk space, while a free-fall sensor will park the disks' heads in the event of a fall, protecting your data.

At the heart of the laptop sits a 1.73GHz Core i7-820QM. Part of the vPro range designed for workstations, this chip flew through our benchmarks. A score of 110 overall puts it in the same class as a desktop PC.

We found it a little strange that only 32-bit Windows 7 Professional was installed, when the laptop has 4GB of RAM and can handle up to 8GB. However, when you buy this laptop you can pay an extra £4 plus VAT to have 64-bit Windows instead.

The laptop's Nvidia Quadro NVS 3100M is a mid-range business graphics card, designed with drivers that provide stability in business applications rather than high frame rates in games. It can still decode HD video, though, and will be useful for the increasing number of applications supporting GPU acceleration. Unfortunately, it isn't currently a model supported by Adobe's latest CS5 suite.

Cramming a Full HD (1,920x1,080) resolution into a 15.6in screen means that images and text are pin-sharp and there's loads of desktop space. An anti-glare finish reduces reflections from overhead lighting, which is perfect for office environments but does mute colours somewhat. Viewing angles are perfect for meetings where you want those beside you to see what you're talking about. The lid also tilts back to almost 180 degrees, making it ideal for use in cramped airline seats.

Battery life's average and a full charge will last you just over four hours. This is enough for occasional use around the home or in meetings, plus a commute. It's unlikely that you'll want to carry this computer for long, though, as it weighs 2.5kg. This probably means that you won't need the optional 3G modem (£83 plus VAT, although it wasn't available online as we went to press), to access the internet when you're out and about.

We were a little disappointed with the keyboard and trackpad. Although well laid-out and comfortably large, the keyboard is spongy and lacks feedback. The touchpad is too small, and we found the cursor had a mind of its own sometimes. Using the touch stick, our hand brushed the touchpad, so you have to disable the pad via a tray icon if you want to use it.

For business users, there's plenty to like. For starters, the E6510 is compatible with old E-series docking stations, so there's no reason to upgrade any old ones. There's also extra security with a contactless SmartCard reader built-into the wrist wrest, plus a fingerprint reader and TPM-chip, which you can use with Windows 7's BitLocker if you upgrade to the Ultimate edition (£44 plus VAT). Then there's the three-year warranty with next business day response for peace of mind.

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