Review Dell Latitude D820 Notebook
Basic version Besides the well-known Inspiron and XPS series, Dell also offers the Latitude series for business, but also private customers. The notebooks of this series feature special security mechanisms and robust cases out of magnesium. This should make the notebook's use reliable for hard business work.
When handling the notebook, its robust case gets soon apparent. The base unit except of the region in the middle above the keyboard can really take a lot of pressure and is insensitive on deflection forces. Once in a while we could observe creaking noises, however, in total you can neglect these.
The case should be made out of a kind of magnesium alloy, and the cover at the top side is out of plastics. The magnesium display cover is also very robust and bears resemblance to a light Clamshell design, which on the one hand improves the flexural rigidity of the display and on the other hand the stability of the closed notebook.
The design of the Dell Latitude D820 is not really similar to the lines and forms used in the Inspiron series. A remarkable difference is the Latitude's rather angular and geometric design, but also the black and mainly dark gray colors used.
Despite of the really high-quality materials, the Latitude could not convince us regarding the haptics of its surfaces. The gray notebook left a rather unimpressive mark regarding this matter.
The display is hold only limited tight by two relatively big hinges, a slight see-saw is possible here. In order to ensure a securely closed state, the notebook comes with a central ramshorn hook, which is not able to completely circumvent a wobbling. However, it is comfortable in use.
Typical Dell, most of the interfaces are at the back side. This keeps both sides free and helps avoid cable spaghetti, which could limit the area of operation of a mouse, even if most of the ports are in use.
The keyboard of the Latitude D820 seems clear and is in general well-structured. The size of the keys is alright. The notebook has e.g., an enter-key, which extends over two rows and function keys of adequate size. The cursor block is a little separated from the other keys and therefore, it's easy to use. Typing with this keyboard is all-in-all comfortable.
The touch pad is also comfortable in use. Both of its buttons have an adequate travel, however, the surfaces slightly wobble.
Besides a touch pad the D820 also comes with a track point, which plastic cover is somewhat little ergonomic. A more circular shape with less big nubs would be better.
The reviewed notebook came with a non-reflecting 15 inch 1280x800 standard wide screen display. Besides this version, you can also choose between two other displays, a WSXGA+ panel with a resolution of 1680x1050 and a 1920x1200 WUXGA display.
When choosing a suitable display, you have to make a trade-off between font size and overview. More details about this matter can be found in our article about DPI - Fineness of Displays.
The measured maximum brightness of 129.1 cd/m² is somewhat below average. The illumination of 80.6% is average.
The color diagram depicts a nearly ideal red and green color curve and the usual deviation of the blue color curve. Therefore, the colors the colors seem warmer.
A black value of 0.9 cd/m² leads to a calculated maximum contrast of 143:1, which is not really convincing.
The display can be used outdoors, because of its matt surface. However, in very bright environments, the displayed contents seem to be darker, because of its moderate brightness, and the contrast diminishes.
The stability to the vantage point is, especially vertically, not really one of this notebook's strengths. E.g., you can not only observe a loss in contrast, but also heavy color changes, if you look from top to bottom. Looking from bottom to top, the display clearly darkens and the gray levels clearly change. Horizontally, the area of operation is more than adequate.
The Dell Latitude D820 is offered with a variety of Intel's high-performance Core 2 Duo CPUs. A T2300E with 1.6 GHz up to an up-to-date most powerful T7600 processor with 2.3 Ghz are possible.
The reviewed notebook was equipped with a T7200 CPU, which is together with the Intel GMA 950 video solution a rather passable solution for office applications. This equipment is besides office applications also adequate for internet and Windows Vista.
If you are going to run 3D applications, you should consider choosing one of the optionally available NVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M/120M video cards, which are regarding performance comparable to a Geforce 7300/7400.
You should not even think on playing current games, because you can only expect limited graphical power for games from a video card of class 4. Older games without demanding 3D graphics should yet be possible.
The notebook was equipped with a 80 GB hard disk with 5400 revs by Fujitsu. The test uncovered slightly average values regarding transfer rates, but also a longer access time of 20.8ms.
Further information regarding the video cards can be found here (NVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M/NVS 120M, Intel GMA 950) and in our Comparison of Mobile Video Xards. Detailed information about the Core 2 Duo CPU can be found here.
|3DMark 05 Standard||536 points|
|PCMark 05 Standard||3173 points|
The Dell Latitude is in the reviewed version pleasingly very quiet. In Idle mode or while using low-demand office applications the fan runs steadily at its lowest level and the notebook emits a very quiet background noise.
Not until steady load the fan starts to run quicker, still the notebook's noise is rather decent with a maximum of 37.2 dB.
Not only the measured noise, also the surface temperature was always alright. At the top side we measured a maximum of 32.7°C at the bottom side of 41.4°C.
palmwrist: 29.2°C max: 32.7°C avg: 27.1°C
max: 41.4°C avg: 32.7°C
The D820's speakers are left and right besides the keyboard. The sound is therefore very clear and more or less alright for music playback and background music during work.
The reviewed Dell Latitude D820 was equipped with a 85Wh (7600MAh) battery, which ensures an excellent battery runtime. E.g., under load you can work for nearly two hours and at low demand a maximum of up to 5.5 hours. Therefore, nothing gets in the way of an unplugged mobile use.
|Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)||5h 30min|
|Load (maximum brightness)||1h 50min|
|Off / Standby||0 / 0 Watt|
|Idle|| 16.3 / 22.6 / 23 Watt|
48.1 / 46.8 Watt|
Key: min: , med: , max:
On the one hand the robust case, which is mostly out of high-quality materials, ensures a very good flexural rigidity and robustness of the Latitude D820. On the other hand the user does not really get a high-quality impression. This is because of the decent design and the not really convincing haptics.
The notebook's input devices are, except of the track point, comfortable in use and user-friendly. The mean weakness of the track point is the ergonomic of its plastic cover.
The 1280x800 pixels WXGA display has a moderate brightness, but a good illumination. Our expectations regarding the vertical stability to vantage point were underachieved.
The Dell Latitude D820 is offered with a variety of Intel Core 2 Duo processors and the user can also select between three video solutions. So the user can individually select the notebook's equipment according to his needs, starting at a rather small CPU with weak video performance up to a notebook with top calculation power and moderate video performance.
The reviewed notebook's strengths are low temperature and noise emissions and a gook battery runtime, which depends on the supplied battery. The reviewed 55Wh battery provided a runtime between 2 and up to 5 hours.
So, the Dell Latitude D820 is a typical office notebook with strengths regarding emissions and battery runtime.