They just don't make business laptops like they used to. Gone are the dull, grey boxes that used to typify Dell's Latitude range, replaced by stunning machines such as this E4200. Its rich finish – a deep burgundy red in our review's sample case – will make an immediate and positive impression.
Dell piles in the features too. The integrated HSDPA modem is complemented not only by Bluetooth and draft N wireless, but also a GPS radio and a huge number of security tools. A fingerprint reader and a TPM 1.2 chip are standard in business machines, but Dell has gone the extra mile by offering features like full disk encryption and a smart card reader.
And there's more. With a solid-state disk inside, the E4200 should prove more resilient to life on the move than a laptop with a mechanical hard disk. The overall build quality is impressive and this is reflected on the outside, with a tough magnesium-alloy chassis and no obvious areas of weakness.
Typists should derive pleasure from the keyboard, with its large, touch-typist friendly keys; the only obvious sacrifice to fit the keyboard on the small chassis being half-height function keys, but owing to their limited use, it's something that is bearable.
Overall, we have slightly mixed feelings about the Latitude E4200, despite its good points. It looks fantastic, it's incredibly light for a laptop of its size, the three year on site warranty is excellent, and the flexibility offered by the tiny power supply and five hour plus battery life will give it real appeal to mobile professionals.
But the screen is a disappointment for one too many reasons and that, coupled with the high price – even for a laptop of its features and specifications, means we have to hold off from a perfect score. But nonetheless, provided you have the budget, it is a solid buy.