This review appears in the October 06 issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.
If you're in the market for a well-built, functional and versatile business laptop, you could do worse than the D520. The beauty of the Latitude is in its simplicity – and its low price tag.
It isn't the most portable laptop at 2.9kg, but it won't be too much of a pain to carry once in a while. It's not geared for entertainment either, as it uses a conventional screen form factor, it doesn't have a standalone graphics card and the speakers aren't much cop.
However, everything else about the D520 is appealing. It's sturdy and looks smart – but not flashy – and the keyboard is a good size. The screen is strong, offering sharp detail and, while the lack of a standalone graphics card will prevent graphics-intensive applications running easily, for normal office applications it's more than adequate.
But the real selling point is the performance-per-pound ratio. Not many laptops in this price bracket would achieve a WorldBench 5 processing-speed score of 89. What really impressed us was the battery life: five hours and 45 minutes. And although the screen gets quite dim when it's unplugged, the Dell does a good job of preserving every last iota of power.
For a business laptop, a 60GB hard drive should be plenty; you might even squeeze the odd MP3 track on to the Dell without using up all the storage space. A DVD writer covers backup, and there are options for connecting to wired and wireless networks. There's a VGA output for connecting to projectors, and it slots into a docking station as well.