Once just a consumer's gadget, netbooks have found a market in the business world as well as among educators. Today we look at Dell's offering, the Latitude 2120 featuring a 10-inch display and eight hours of battery life.
Our Dell Latitude 2120 review unit has the following specifications:
These are rank-and-file specifications for a modern netbook. The dual-core Atom processor is notable as the base 2120 comes with a single-core Atom N455; the N550 is significantly more powerful. The MSRP of $608 is well on the high side; typically netbooks go for $400-500. We'll see if the Latitude 2120 is worth extra.
The 2120 at first glance looks like something out of a toy catalog – it's thick, block-like, and blue. My first impression was, "There's no way Dell is serious with this design." But they are, and the kid-friendly design fits with the education market, so let's take a closer look.
The overall build quality is excellent. None of the plastics flex under pressure. The display resists twisting well yet could use more protection from the back; I was able to produce some ripples by pressing on the back. The display hinges are strong and do not allow the display to wobble back and forth.
There is a meager array of design features. The most noticeable physical feature is actually the extended battery, which protrudes out the bottom and effectively doubles the thickness. A 3-cell battery is available that sits flush with the chassis. The volume control buttons, keyboard status lights and power button are all characterized by overly-bright blue LEDs. Power, hard drive, battery, and wireless indicator lights are located at the bottom left corner of the chassis. There is a light bar at the top of the back of the display, which does not appear to serve any functional purpose.
Upgrading the 2120's internal components is tedious and time consuming; replacing the memory module or hard drive requires removing the keyboard and access panel. Overall the 2120 has impressive build quality for a netbook, Although the toy-like external appearance makes a perfect fit for K-12 education, it seem out of place in the business world.
Ports and Features
The 2120 has the bare essentials as far as ports go, which is expected on a netbook. It does not have USB 3.0, ExpressCard, eSATA, or an internal optical drive. It is interesting to note the 2120 has two Kensington Lock slots.
All picture descriptions are left to right.
Right: 2x USB 2.0, Ethernet, AC power, Kensington Lock slot
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