It’s funny to think of older technologies as a niche, but most businesses have done away with many of the technologies that were commonplace in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Dell Latitude E5430 laptop is for veteran users who can’t let go of VGA monitors, ExpressCards, and optical discs. It is a solid laptop with one of the highest port counts we’ve seen on a non-desktop PC in a while. Though it works with Dell standard docking stations, it really doesn’t need them unless you’re constantly on the road with this laptop. The high-performance Core i7 processor will blow away many of those lower powered ultrabooks as well.
Design and Features
The Latitude E5430 looks every bit the old-school mainstream business system, with a dark grey surface bisected by a silver bezel around the chassis. It looks kind of bulky next to ultrabooks, at 10 inches 14 by 1.28 inches (HWD). There’s a reason why it is so thick: This system still has plenty of old-school internal expansion slots, I/O ports, and a DVD drive. The DVD drive will be important to you if you still have a large archive of information on DVD. Most businesses won’t need the archived 1998 version of a sales proposal to Kozmo.com or a CD telephone directory from 1995, but your business might. Likewise, older ports that are being eliminated from ultrabooks are present on the Latitude E5430: eSATA/USB 3.0 combo port, VGA, and even an ExpressCard reader, with its quaint molded dummy card that doubles as a letter opener and short ruler. The other ports on the system are modern: HDMI, two USB 2.0 ports, another USB 3.0 port, and Ethernet.
The Latitude E5430 also has a removable 60WHr battery on the bottom, with options for up to a 97WHr battery, though the 60WHr clips flush to the bottom of the system. The system has an E-family docking port, if your business has standardized on that Dell peripheral. This is one thing that the Latitude E5430 has over the Editors’ Choice business laptop Dell Latitude 6430u ($1,328) and the budget business laptop Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E431 ($599). The Dell 6430u and Lenovo E431 both lack a docking port; thus, the Latitude E5430 is better suited a wider variety of business users.
The Latitude E5430 has a 14-inch, 1,366-by-768-resolution screen. The screen is not touch-enabled, so it’s better suited for Windows 7 Professional, even though the system has the option of Windows 8 Pro under the same license. This isn’t huge deal yet. A 2-in-1 hybrid tablet like the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix ($1,679) is a better choice, however, if your users are migrating to Windows 8 already.
The anti-glare screen is a mixed bag. Yes, it will prevent screen reflections from fatiguing your users’ eyes, but the screen is also a little dull looking next to newer ultrabooks.
The Latitude E5430 comes with an Intel Core i7-3540M processor with Intel HD 4000 Graphics, 4GB of memory, and a 320GB 7,200rpm SATA hard drive. This combo translates into a powerhouse system with very good multimedia test scores. The Latitude E5430 finished the Photoshop CS6 test with a class-leading 4 minutes 37 seconds. Contrast this with 5:38 for the Lenovo E431 and a slower 7:07 for the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch (2013) ($999). The Latitude E5430 has its quickly clocked Core i7 processor to thank for that. The Latitude E5430 is also decently efficient at the battery rundown test (5:11): It outlasted the Core i5-powered Lenovo E431 by over an hour (3:55).
The Dell Latitude E5430 is a solid, reliable choice if you’re looking for old school portable computing on a budget. It’s got a sub-$1,000 price tag that isn’t bad considering that it has a powerhouse Core i7 processor in it. If you’re a Dell E-Family dock user, you can obviate the relatively low-resolution screen by adding a docked large screen monitor, or you can use one of the two video ports on the system. The Latitude E5430 is kind of left behind by the latest ultrabooks with 1080p screens and eight-hour battery life, but this is a good system to get the veteran user that needs more speed but won’t abandon older technologies, ports, and optical discs.
|Processor Name||Intel Core i7-3540M|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Professional|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 4000|
|Type||Business, Small Business|
|Networking Options||802.11n (2.4+5 GHz Dualband)|
|Processor Speed||3.0 GHz|
|Primary Optical Drive||Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW|
|Screen Size||14 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||320 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc