Review: Dell Latitude 6430u Ultrabook

When did “business laptop” become a euphemism for a machine that’s stripped down and overpriced? Are the corporations of the world so flush with cash that basic features and value are no longer concerns?

Dell’s Latitude 6430u, an ultrabook designed for the business market, is a case study of what’s going awry in the business computing space in 2013. But let’s start with the good.

Dell has built this ultrabook with the best of intentions. It is corporate-friendly handsome and well-designed, with thoughtful features like soft-touch paint and your choice of input devices, touchpad or pointing stick. There are three USB 3.0 ports (one an eSATA combo port), HDMI, Ethernet and VGA ports, and an SD memory card slot.

The keyboard is spill-resistant, and for environments tougher than Starbucks, Dell says the laptop has passed 14 of the 29 military-standard 810G tests. As is the case with most corporate laptops, it’s vPro-enabled for central management and security.

Updated February 4, 2013: The review has been updated to correct a statement about the absence of keyboard backlighting and to fix a typo on mention of the USB ports. The laptop does have a backlit keyboard, and it has USB 3.0 ports. These changes do not warrant an adjustment to the rating.

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