Heat and Noise
Under normal usage conditions such surfing the Internet or typing documents, the 2120's chassis is only lukewarm. There is one small fan that pushes warm air out the left side of the chassis, however it seldom turns on; when it does, it is audible but easily forgotten against any background noise. The 2120 is otherwise is silent. All external temperatures shown below are listed in degrees Fahrenheit.
Our 2120 review unit is equipped with the optional 6-cell extended battery (56Wh). During our standard battery rundown test (Windows 7 Balanced power profile active, 70% screen brightness, wireless active, and refreshing a web page every 60 seconds), the 2120 lasted eight hours before hitting the 10% warning. This is a great time for a netbook; the price paid of course is the big extended battery sticking out the bottom. The standard 3-cell battery sits flush with the chassis.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
The Latitude 2120 is one of the few netbooks on the market designed for business usage. It has a great keyboard, solid build quality, and an anti-glare display, all of which are expected in business machines. Another upside is the excellent eight-hour runtime courtesy of the oversized 6-cell battery.
The 2120 is not without its downsides. Its rubber blue exterior makes it look and feel like a toy as opposed to a business machine. The 2120 is also quite thick and bulky, compounding the awkward appearance. Furthermore, the touchpad is cramped and has hard-to-press buttons. Lastly, our test unit's 1024x600 screen resolution requires too much scrolling; we recommend the optional 1366x768 screen.
In the end, recommending the Latitude 2120 comes down to price. At over $600 with a one-year warranty, our test unit is far too expensive for a netbook, even a business-oriented version. It is important to point out, however, that Dell sells this netbook to many school districts under special pricing plans, so it's possible that the per-unit price is more attractive for some clients. Assuming the price is right, the Latitude 2120 otherwise is a reasonable pick.
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