The Dell Latitude E6320 is a very solid laptop aimed at business users and those who need a portable system that’s comfortable to work on in all conditions.

At 1.88kg, the Latitude is just light enough to take anywhere and shouldn't tire your shoulder even when carried for long periods.

When it's opened up you're presented with an excellent keyboard that blends good-size keys with functionality.

The touchpad is a useful size considering the small chassis, and there is a business-like trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard for those used to the older method of cursor steering. Most impressive of all, though, is the screen.

The 13.3in widescreen display offers sharp definition and has a matt, non-reflective finish so you won't get distracted by the dazzle. Its resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels is well-judged for that size too. The colours are a little dull, but that's the payoff for a non-reflective screen.

There is one significant black mark against this Dell as a portable work tool though – the poor battery life. It only managed a shade over three and three-quarter hours in our battery life tests, which isn't good enough for something that needs to last you through a working day or a long flight.

You can pay extra for a more capacious battery, or buy a spare, but this will add to the cost of a laptop that’s already the wrong side of a grand.

We were loaned the cheapest version of the Dell Latitude E6320 for this review, with 2GHz Intel Core i3-2310M processor, 4GB memory and 250GB hard drive.

This costs £849 plus shipping and VAT (£1043). You can spec this model up to 2.7GHz Core i7 and 7200rpm 500GB hard drive, for £1271 inclusive.

In standard form it’s no workstation replacement but the performance in our WorldBench 6 tests suggested it’s capable of any everyday business task. A score of 101 is still good and means the Dell can take on more than just send emails and construct spreadsheets.

You might find the 250GB hard drive a little tight for storage space and though connectivity options are pretty good you don't get Bluetooth functionality as standard; nor a webcam – unusual these days but more understandable on a business machine. One of two USB 2.0 ports doubles for eSATA connections, and is joined by HDMI and VGA video outputs.

Overall construction is very tough. Where many consumer laptops gleam with metal components, closer examination usually reveals them to be spray-painted plastic. Not so the Dell Latitude E6320, which takes a Tri-Metal casing (choice of three metals not specified) with anodised aluminium lid and magnesium alloy eges.

The base is powder-coated plastic. Hinges are steel and the display catch is said to be zinc alloy; plus there’s a spill-resistant keyboard.

This laptop is built for knocks and to last, much more so than your average consumer laptop.

Dell Latitude E6320: Specs

  • 2.0GHz Intel Core i3-2310M
  • 3MB level 3 cache
  • Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
  • 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR13-1333 RAM
  • 250GB SATA 3Gbps 5400rpm hard disk
  • 13.3in (1366 x 768) matt LED-backlit LCD screen
  • Intel HD 3000 graphics
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0
  • 1 x USB 2.0
  • removable DVD±RW drive
  • SmartCard reader
  • SD card slot
  • stereo speakers
  • mic
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • removable 30Wh lithium-ion battery
  • 15-month Trend Micro security software subscription
  • 335 x 223 x 30mm
  • 1884g
  • 2.0GHz Intel Core i3-2310M
  • 3MB level 3 cache
  • Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
  • 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR13-1333 RAM
  • 250GB SATA 3Gbps 5400rpm hard disk
  • 13.3in (1366 x 768) matt LED-backlit LCD screen
  • Intel HD 3000 graphics
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0
  • 1 x USB 2.0
  • removable DVD±RW drive
  • SmartCard reader
  • SD card slot
  • stereo speakers
  • mic
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • removable 30Wh lithium-ion battery
  • 15-month Trend Micro security software subscription
  • 335 x 223 x 30mm
  • 1884g

OUR VERDICT

The Dell Latitude E6320 is aimed squarely at the business market and though it would suit someone who needs a portable workhorse that can be used in all conditions, you wouldn't want to stray away from a wall socket for long with the tiny battery onboard. It's also quite expensive for its feature set. To make up for some of the spec shortcomings you can specify a larger or spare battery, and add Bluetooth – but it'll cost you yet more. Its main assets are strength and durability though, which may be worth their weight in Tri-Metal.

Find the best price