The Latitude 3000 series has been a workhorse for Dell and its commercial customers, and Dell continues to improve it with the newest updates in this line of business notebooks. Marginally enhanced 14-inch and 15-inch versions have been unveiled, and we got some hands-on time with them.
Dell says the most significant improvement in both iterations of the Latitude 3000 series is a reduction in thickness. These models will be just under 0.9 inches, while their predecessors are 1.0 inches thick.
Dell also marginally decreased their weights. With a 3-cell battery, the 14-inch version will be 4.2 pounds, and the 15-inch one will be 4.9 pounds.
While those are fairly minor improvements, any reduction in bulk is welcome. Even more importantly, it was accomplished without removing any important features from these laptops – they offer everything their predecessors do.
This includes two USB 3.0 ports and a USB 2.0 port, a built-in reader for the most popular types of memory cards, Ethernet, and a VGA port. Even better, an HDMI port has been added.
At launch, the Latitude 14 3000 and the Latitude 15 3000 will be available with standard 1366 x 768 displays. While we aren’t too happy about that, Dell will make a 1920 x 1080 versions (including touchscreen options) available starting at the beginning of next year.
The keyboard on the 13-inch model seems better suited for a 10-inch notebook, as there is ample dead space on either side. On the 15-inch one, Dell’s designers added a number pad to fill up the extra space. These are spill-resistant, and backlighting is one of the options.
For the first few months, the 14-inch and 15-inch models in the Latitude 3000 series are going to be available with fourth-generation Intel Core i3 or i5 processors. Versions with the latest Core i7 chips won’t be available until January 2015. Until then, the maximum amount of RAM available will be 4 GB. Later, 8 GB will be an option.
Initially, the largest hard drive will be 500 GB. Those getting the Core i7 versions will have the option of 1 TB of storage.
Dell will ship these with Windows 7, Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, and even Ubuntu.
The Dell Latitude 14 3000 and Latitude 15 3000 are only minor improvements over the current models in this series. Even though a slight decrease in bulk is welcome, as is the addition of a HDMI slot, users of their most recent predecessors aren’t going to be feeling jealous.
Still, these now models will help keep Dell competitive in the market for business-class laptops.