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April 17, 2013

Dell Latitude 6430u Ultrabook Review

The Dell Latitude 6430u Ultrabook is a Windows 8-powered 14-inch laptop that packs a 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB Solid State Drive. Dell claims that this is the world’s most manageable ultrabook. Read our full review below and find out if this machine lives up to that statement.

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Design and Build

The Latitude 6430u is a Windows 8 machine built for businessmen on the go. With that concept in mind, the 6430u’s design looks simple yet stylish enough to go well with executives whose focus is to make sure that things get done.

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The 6430u’s body is mostly made up of high-quality soft touch plastic with a magnesium frame surrounding the sides. The top lid is also made of plastic but has more of a matte finish which resists fingerprints well but clings to dust like crazy. Also found here is the Dell logo in chrome finish which nicely breaks the dark monotony. Take a look at the left side and you’ll see the charging port, full-size VGA port, USB 3.0 port, headset jack, and WiFi switch. On the right side are the Ethernet port and another USB 3.0 port. Also located here is the SD card slot which is set too deep and a little hard to reach. Located at the back are the air vents, HDMI port, and the eSATA port.

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Prop the lid open and you’ll be greeted by the large 14-inch display. Right above it is the HD webcam and built-in speakers. While down below are the spill-resistant chiclet-style keyboard with backlighting, power button, illuminated soft-touch volume buttons, dual speakers, a pointer nub with left and right click buttons, and the trackpad.

Overall, the Latitude 6430u has really sturdy build and good-looking design. At 20.9mm it’s still relatively thin but a little heavy at 1.69kg (w/ 3-cell battery).

Display

The 14-inch screen on the 6430u has a resolution of 1366×768 with Anti-Glare and LED backlighting. Colors are okay with acceptable viewing angles. Although powered by Windows 8, it doesn’t have touch capabilities.

dell_display

Business users who usually work on Word documents and PowerPoint presentations will surely enjoy the large screen. The lack of touchscreen capabilities is not really a deal breaker even with Windows 8 on board. If there’s one thing Dell should have improved on is the color reproduction. It’s not ugly but it could use a little boost in vibrancy.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The 6430u’s chiclet keyboard is really pleasant to type on. It’s soft with just the right amount of springiness and depth. In addition, the keys are quiet and won’t produce much sound even if we type roughly on it. Keys are evenly spaced so accuracy isn’t a problem. There’s keyboard backlighting as well so typing in the dark won’t be an issue.

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Found in the middle of the G, H & B keys is the pointer nub which reminds us of the Thinkpads. We rarely used this as we’re more accustomed to using the trackpad. The trackpad isn’t as wide compared to other notebooks but it is smooth, responsive and supports Windows 8-based gestures.

Multimedia

At 50% output, the 6430u’s speakers are more than enough to fill an entire room. We cranked it up to maximum and hoping to get a dramatic increase in volume but unfortunately it failed to deliver the amount of loudness we expected. It’s not a downer but if there are lots of background noise you’re better off listening through a headset.

Performance

The Latitude 6430u sports a 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 (3427U) processor clocked at 1.8GHz, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, Intel HD 4000 graphics, and running a 64-bit Windows 8. Windows Experience Index gave the processor a subscore of 7.1. RAM got a score of 7.5, 8.1 for the hard disk, and 6.5 for gaming graphics. Desktop graphics got the lowest thus giving an overall score of 5.7.

WEI

As for gaming performance, we played Devil May Cry 4 with everything in its highest settings. It played smoothly without any issues. However, we noticed that the bottom of the 6430u becomes really toasty. It didn’t cause any crashes or reboots but it is recommended that you avoid putting it on surfaces that could burn or melt like your lap or plastic.

Battery

Most Ultrabooks don’t have removable batteries but it’s not the case with the 6430u. If you need to replace it just slide the latch from underneath and pull out the battery.

battery bar

As for battery life, the 6430u is equipped with a 6-cell (60Whr) Li-polymer battery and it managed 6 to 7 hours mostly on Word documents, surfing the net and watching a few movies at 80% brightness. Throw gaming into the mix and you’re down to 4 to 5 hours.

Conclusion

To conclude, the Dell Latitude 6430u is perfect for executives or office-centric users who spend most of their time working on documents and presentations. The large display and above average processing power is also good enough for some games and movies in case you want to kick back and relax. In addition, it has a good battery life, a really nice keyboard, and full set of ports. It may not be as thin or as light as some Ultrabooks out there but the 6430u’s features surely make up for it.

Dell Latitude 6430u specs:
3rd Gen Intel Core i5 (3427U) 1.8GHz
8GB DDR3 SDRAM (1600MHz)
Mobile Intel QM77 Express Chipset
14.0″ HD (1366×768) Anti-Glare LED-backlight
Intel HD Graphics 4000
128GB SSD
6-cell (60Whr) Li-polymer battery with ExpressCharge
10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
WiFi 802.11 g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
USB 3.0 (x2), 1 USB/eSATA combo
SD card reader
VGA, HDMI
338.2 x 229.7 x 20.9mm
1.69kg (w/ 3-cell battery)
Windows 8 64-bit

The Dell Latitude 6430u starts at US$1,508 (about Php62,000 in local currency) and will soon be released by local dealers.

What we liked about it:
* Solid build quality
* Simple yet elegant design
* Large display
* Comfortable keyboard with backlighting
* Full set of ports
* Good battery life
* Great performance

What we didn’t like about it:
* Display color needs a little boost
* Top lid is dust magnet
* Bottom side heats up when playing games
* Hefty compared to other Ultrabooks
* SD card slot set too deep

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8 Responses to “Dell Latitude 6430u Ultrabook Review”

  1. presyo says:

    I think one of the most important aspect of a full gadget review is the availability and the price in the local market…..

  2. Danny says:

    Looks on the side : Samsung
    Keyboard : Lenovo
    Lid : HP
    At the back : Acer

    Can’t dell think of something of their own?

    I second with “presyo” availability matters

  3. manuel says:

    this is too expensive for an ultrabook it is even made up of plastic, bad screen resolution and not even ips panel. Asus zenbook with an ssd and apple macbook air is better.

  4. Ric says:

    $1500 with 1366 X 768 screen? Better wait for the Thinkpad T431s

  5. Blue says:

    Hmm I wonder if this will be the next laptops to be issued by our office. I’m up for an upgrade in June, wouldn’t mind if this replaced my current Dell laptop.

  6. sarabee says:

    I have this at work and it’s battery life is awesome, the battery is removable/replaceable, which I believe not a lot of Ultrabooks are capable of

  7. manuel says:

    most users that have the money to buy that kind of laptop upgrades every 2-3 years so removing battery is no concern for them.

    • sarabee says:

      Well for usual office professionals, sometimes there’s no accessible outlet to plug into, a replaceable battery on-the-fly is beneficial, and you are in dire need to open a report, update it and send it…I am talking about a work environment scenario…not a laptop that is constantly plugged into a wall outlet for typical consumer end-user scenarios.

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