Heat and Noise
The Dell Latitude E6420 ATG handles the heat from internal components pretty well even when the notebook is under considerable stress. The heavy-contact areas like the palm rests, touchpad and bottom of the notebook remain at pretty reasonable temperatures as long as you stay clear of the heat coming from the fan exhaust on the left side of the notebook. Fan noise during our tests stayed at reasonable levels, with the fan staying off or at a very low speed under a low stress, and the fan volume reaching just above a whisper under a heavy system load. The peak external temperatures shown below are listed in degrees Fahrenheit.
Dell supplied us with a 9-cell extended Li-Ion battery with a 97Wh rating. The standard battery for the E6420 ATG is a 60Wh 6-cell battery and, as previously mentioned, you can add an optional 3-cell battery to the “E-modular” bay instead of an optical drive. We were pretty happy with our results, given the higher-end processor configuration. With the screen brightness reduced to 70%, wireless on and refreshing a webpage every 60 seconds, and Windows set to the Balanced profile, the Latitude E6420 ATG stayed on for 9 hours and 54 minutes. Granted, this is with the optional 9-cell battery … but that is pretty good battery life.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
The Dell Latitude E6420 ATG is one of the most well-balanced notebooks we’ve seen in the semi-rugged class of business notebooks. This tough 14-inch laptop combines fantastic durability (nearly rivaling fully-rugged notebooks), great battery life and impressive expansions options via its modular drive bay.
Of course, nothing is perfect and the E6420 ATG has some flaws as well. Even if you overlook the $3,000+ price tag on our review unit, this 14-inch laptop tips the scales at around seven pounds as configured! Add to that the fact that you have to disassemble much of the notebook to upgrade the RAM, limited screen resolution options and a less-than-perfect touchpad.
If you can look beyond the cost and the weight, what you’ll find is a surprisingly durable semi-rugged notebook that can survive just about anything you throw at it (or anything you throw it into) and has the performance and battery life to do just about anything a mobile professional needs to do in the field.
- Excellent durability
- Good battery life
- Fantastic expansion options (modular bay)
- Heavy like a magnesium alloy brick
- Difficult to upgrade (lots of screws)