Dell Latitude 2120 Review

by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (47,755)
Editor's Rating
4.71

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 5
    • Usability
    • 5
    • Design
    • 4
    • Performance
    • 5
    • Features
    • 4
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 2
    • Total Score:
    • 4.71
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Excellent keyboard
    • Solid build quality
    • 8-hour battery life
    • Anti-glare screen
  • Cons

    • Looks like a toy
    • Thick and bulky
    • Cramped touchpad
    • Expensive

Quick Take

A nice netbook with good battery life and anti-glare screen but an expensive price tag.


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:

  • 10.1-inch display with anti-glare coating (1024×600 resolution)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
  • Intel Atom N550 dual-core processor (2.0GHz, 512k cache, 533MHz FSB)
  • Integrated Intel GMA 3150 graphics
  • 2GB DDR2 RAM
  • 250GB 5400RPM Western Digital hard drive (WD2500BEVT)
  • Dell Wireless 1520 802.11n wireless LAN
  • No internal Bluetooth
  • No internal optical drive
  • 6-cell extended battery (11.1V, 56Wh)
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Weight: 3.1 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 10.43 x 0.89-1.57 x 7.36 inches
  • MSRP: $608 (starting price: $414)

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.


Build and Design
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 blue exterior is actually a rubber coating; it has an inlaid square pattern and feels soft yet durable. It extends to the underside of the machine as well, save for the battery. As a computer intended for business use, this might not have been the best color choice though. The 2120 is constructed out of high-strength ABS plastic. The matte black plastic has a slightly granular texture and is quite solid. Keeping in tradition with business notebooks, there is no glossy plastic used on the exterior.

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.


Front: Status lights, ventilation holes, SD card reader


Back: Extended battery pack


Left: Kensington lock slot, VGA, cooling exhaust vent, USB 2.0, microphone and headphone jacks


Right: 2x USB 2.0, Ethernet, AC power, Kensington lock slot


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