Review Update Dell Latitude 6430u HD+ Ultrabook

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 05/25/2013

Pixel-dense. Dell's 14-inch business ultrabook is now available with the sought-after display resolution of 1600x900 pixels. Is the price-competitive Latitude 6430u HD+ a viable alternative to the outrageously expensive Lenovo X1 Carbon?

For the original German review, see here.

Energy-efficient ultrabook hardware has found its way into business machines.  More and more manufacturers jump on the bandwagon and offer their ultrabook-variations to the business customer. Lenovo broke the ground with their ThinkPad X1 Carbon (reviewed August 2012), which they followed up with a touchscreen version (March 2013). Lenovo also released the ThinkPad T430u for the less affluent customer around the same time (December 2012). Fujitsu introduced the LifeBook U772 (August 2012) also fairly early, while HP released the Folio 9470m a little later (January 2013). 

We reviewed the Latitude 6430u for the first time in January 2013. The US model disappointed more demanding buyers with its rather paltry display resolution of 1366x768 pixels - initially also the only available display resolution offered in some countries. Presumably to compete with Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon, Dell also now offers a HD+ version. Our review model equipped with said panel currently retails for 1215 Euros (~$1560). Except for the expensive X1 Carbon, none of the competing models mentioned above feature a WXGA++ panel. Samsung's Series 9 900X4B-A01DE (June 2012) and the Zenbook series from Asus (FHD) offer higher resolutions - but those are premium consumer and not business notebooks.

As usual for review updates, we skip some sections and start with evaluating the display. Users interested in the build quality, the ports, connectivity, the mouse and the keyboard, should check out the initial review of the Dell Latitude 6430u. For this review we want to focus primarily on the display and less so on performance, mobility, and ergonomics. Interesting for performance fans though: the Samsung PM830 mSATA SSD (installed in the US model) was replaced by a LITEON SSD LMT-128M6M.

Display

The 14-inch display has a native resolution of 1600x900 pixels and a pixel density of 131 PPI. Compared to the X1 Carbon - which features the same screen size and resolution - the price of admission into the world of HD+ panels is almost a bargain: the version with an i3 processor and 64 GB SSD costs 1140 Euros (~$1465). The comparable 643u version with HD panel (112 PPI) retails for 980 Euros (~$1260). All things considered, the price difference seems worth it.

The TN panel (model M4RTT B140RTN) offers a less than stellar contrast of only 326:1 and a black level of 1.01. The brightness is more of a high point: we measured 332 cd/m² in the middle of the display. Although the brightness decreases on both sides, the distribution of 88% is still very good. The display is also free of halos, spots, or other artifacts.

304
cd/m²
306
cd/m²
317
cd/m²
302
cd/m²
332
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
307
cd/m²
291
cd/m²
308
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 332 cd/m²
Average: 308.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 261 cd/m²
Black: 1.01 cd/m²
Contrast: 329:1

The display doesn't handle the professional color spaces very well: sRGB is only covered to about 52%. To determine if the panel is really not suitable for photo editing, we analyze it using both CalMAN software and a photospectrometer.

Latitude 6430u HD+ vs. sRGB
Latitude 6430u HD+ vs. sRGB
Latitude 6430u HD+ vs. AdobeRGB
Latitude 6430u HD+ vs. AdobeRGB
Latitude 6430u HD+ vs. 6430u HD (US version)
Latitude 6430u HD+ vs. 6430u HD (US version)

We measured the panel before (first screenshot each) and after calibration (second screenshot each). Especially around the middle values, the gray levels suffer from a high DeltaE deviation of 11, so grays don't look like they should according to sRGB. A calibration helps: the average DeltaE 2000 is now 5 and the darker grays are represented accurately.

Color accuracy also benefits from a calibration. While cyan and magenta are not close to their ideal values - DeltaE of 13 and 12 respectively - blue is completely off the charts (DeltaE of 18), which results in a strong bluish cast. After calibration, we recorded values of 8, 2, and 15. This means that the bluish cast remains, but magenta (and also yellow, green, red) are much closer to sRGB than they were before.

All in all, the display handles colors less then perfectly. Consumer-oriented notebooks with IPS panels like the Aspire V3-571G are not much better (bluish cast, cyan DeltaE 10) - but the ThinkPad X1 Carbon with its TN panel certainly is better: no bluish cast and all colors except for magenta have a DeltaE value of less than three (after calibration).

Color accuracy
Color accuracy
Color accuracy, calibrated
Color accuracy, calibrated
Gray levels
Gray levels
Gray levels, calibrated
Gray levels, calibrated
Color saturation
Color saturation
Color saturation, calibrated
Color saturation, calibrated

When the ultrabook is running on battery power, screen brightness decreases to 261 cd/m² - still sufficient for outdoor use even in sunlight because of the non-glare display panel. However, since the contrast is low, it's a little hard to decipher the screen content. The 6430u doesn't come with an ambient light sensor, which is a plus in our book: all too often the auto-adjustment is quite distracting for the user. The decrease in screen brightness can't be counteracted - Dell doesn't offer a tool or an option in the BIOS to prevent the dimming of the display.

The Latitude 6430u HD+ outdoors
The Latitude 6430u HD+ outdoors
The Latitude 6430u HD+ outdoors
The Latitude 6430u HD+ outdoors
The Latitude 6430u HD+ outdoors
The Latitude 6430u HD+ outdoors

TN panels usually don't do well as far as viewing angles are concerned. However, displays based on IPS and PLS (Samsung only) technology don't exhibit color changes even at fairly extreme angles. The TN panel of the 6430u only handles deviations of up to 45 degrees in the horizontal and 15 degrees in the vertical plane before inversions and ghosting occurs. Two or more people will have a hard time sharing the screen.

The X1 Carbon offers a slightly better viewing angle stability. All aforementioned business ultrabooks don't offer IPS displays. Consumer notebooks, like the Asus Zenbook UX31/UX32 or the Samsung Series 9 900X4B are vastly superior in that regard.

Viewing angles Latitude 6430u HD+
Viewing angles Latitude 6430u HD+

Performance

Our review model is equipped with the middle of the available CPUs - a Core i5-3437U (1.9 GHz). The dual-core CPU has a TDP of 17 watts and can overclock to 2.9 GHz (one core, theoretical limit) using Turbo Boost. The Intel HD 4000 GPU is integrated into the CPU. For technical details, please take a look at the links above. 

If lower performance and no Turbo Boost are acceptable, the Core i3-3217U might be an option: the 643u-2669 comes with a 64 GB SSD, Windows 7 Professional and a display with the same 1600 x 900 pixel resolution for about 200 Euros (~$260) less. The top model 643u-5530, which is equipped with a Core i7-3367U, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, UMTS, and Windows 7 Professional, sells for 1815 Euros (~$2350).

Our review model features Hynix 2 x 4 GB RAM operating in dual-channel mode (maximum: 2 x 8GB). Instead of the 128 GB Samsung PM830 MZ-7PC128D mSATA SSD - installed in our first review model - our version comes equipped with a 128 GB LITEON LMT-128M6M mSATA SSD. We will address the hardware differences in the following sections.

CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z Cache
CPU-Z Cache
CPU-Z Motherboard
CPU-Z Motherboard
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z Memory
GPU-Z HD Graphics 4000
GPU-Z HD Graphics 4000
DPC Latency Checker Idle OK
DPC Latency Checker Idle OK
DPC Latency Checker WLAN On/Off OK
DPC Latency Checker WLAN On/Off OK
System information Dell Latitude 6430u HD+

CPU Performance

The Intel Core i5-3437U (1.9 GHz) is an Ivy Bridge processor manufactured using the 22 nm process. The 1.8 GHz i5-3427U installed in our US review model featured a slightly lower clock speed, although that's not really noticeable (-2% Multi-CPU test). The Cinebench R11.5 benchmark tests - single-threaded load (2.7 GHz) and multi-threaded load (2.7 GHz) - show how the CPU uses its Turbo while the ultrabook is connected to external power (see screenshots below)

The CPU Multi-test shows negligible differences in performance between the different processors. Even the Core i7-3667U installed in the X1 Carbon Touch is only about 11% faster. The OpenGL test, which taxes the graphic card, shows larger gaps in performance, even though all mentioned notebooks - except for the Samsung 900X4C - use the integrated Intel HD 4000. Because the RAM operates in dual-channel mode (two RAM modules), the 6430u is the fastest of the bunch. Of all Ivy Bridge ultrabooks mentioned, HP's Folio 9470m is the slowest (-34%).

The less expensive version of the 6430u equipped with Core i3-3217U (1.80 GHz) is about 32% slower (R11.5 Multi 1.8 vs. 2.66 points).

R11.5 test 2.7 GHz (single CPU)
R11.5 test 2.7 GHz (single CPU)
R11.5 test 2.7 GHz (multi CPU)
R11.5 test 2.7 GHz (multi CPU)
OpenGL test 1150 MHz (GPU)
OpenGL test 1150 MHz (GPU)
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.2 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.66 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
18.24 fps
Help
Cinebench R11.5
OpenGL 64Bit
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+
18.24 fps ∼17%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
9.96 fps ∼9% -45%
Fujitsu LifeBook U772
13.09 fps ∼12% -28%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
14.21 fps ∼13% -22%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
15.54 fps ∼14% -15%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
12.04 fps ∼11% -34%
Dell Latitude 6430u
17.57 fps ∼16% -4%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
16.23 fps ∼15% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
15.52 fps ∼14% -15%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+
2.66 Points ∼15%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
2.19 Points ∼12% -18%
Fujitsu LifeBook U772
2.38 Points ∼14% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
2.39 Points ∼14% -10%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
2.57 Points ∼15% -3%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
2.6 Points ∼15% -2%
Dell Latitude 6430u
2.6 Points ∼15% -2%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
2.82 Points ∼16% +6%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
2.96 Points ∼17% +11%
Legend
      Dell Latitude 6430u HD+ Intel Core i5-3437U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Lite-On LMT-128M3M
      Samsung 900X4B-A01DE Intel Core i7-2637M, Intel HD Graphics 3000, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZMPC256HBGJ-00000
      Fujitsu LifeBook U772 Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Micron RealSSD C400 MTFDDAK128MAM
      Lenovo ThinkPad T430u Intel Core i5-3317U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 620M, Toshiba THNSNF128GCSS
      Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SB2128G
      HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Intel SSD 520 Series SSDSC2BW180A3L
      Dell Latitude 6430u Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Samsung SSD PM830 MZ-7PC128D
      Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H Intel Core i7-3517U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, ADATA XM11 256GB
      Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE Intel Core i7-3667U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Intel SSD 521 Series SSDSCMMW240A3L SFF

System Performance

PCMark 7 sub-scores
PCMark 7 sub-scores

We use PCMark 7 and PCMark Vantage to determine the overall system performance. The 6430u does well here - only the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch completed the PCMark 7 benchmark 5% faster. The X1 is equipped with the Intel SSD 521, which shows almost identical performance in the System Storage Score sub-test. Is the performance difference between the SSDs really as minimal as the System Storage Scores would lead us to believe? We will investigate that in the next section.

5.8
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
7.1
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
7.5
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
5.8
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.5
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
8.1
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage13546 points
PCMark 74925 points
Help
PCMark Vantage - 1024x768 Result
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+
13546 Points ∼58%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
12507 Points ∼53% -8%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
12265 Points ∼52% -9%
Fujitsu LifeBook U772
11577 Points ∼49% -15%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
11738 Points ∼50% -13%
PCMark 7
Score
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+
4925 Points ∼74%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
3724 Points ∼56% -24%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
3775 Points ∼57% -23%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
4168 Points ∼63% -15%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
4202 Points ∼63% -15%
Fujitsu LifeBook U772
5039 Points ∼76% +2%
Dell Latitude 6430u
5065 Points ∼76% +3%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
5129 Points ∼77% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
5185 Points ∼78% +5%
System Storage
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+
5200 Points ∼73%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
5332 Points ∼75% +3%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
5155 Points ∼72% -1%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
5281 Points ∼74% +2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
5390 Points ∼76% +4%
Fujitsu LifeBook U772
5132 Points ∼72% -1%
Dell Latitude 6430u
5132 Points ∼72% -1%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
4978 Points ∼70% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
5223 Points ∼73% 0%

Storage Solution

The LITEON SSD does its job very well. Only the drives installed in the T430u and the X1 Carbon show slightly better 4K reads (small, dispersed data). The measurements have to be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the different tests can show quite different results (see X1 Carbon non-touch-20% vs. +13%). Since the manufacturers also change SSD brands and models, it's hard for the buyer to know in advance what exactly they will be getting. For users who don't happen to be performance enthusiasts, it doesn't really matter if the SSD reads and writes at 200 or 300 MB/s - the SSD is going to be significantly faster than any conventional hard drive.

The move to the LITEON SSD definitely was a good choice. The 4K tests show performance gains between 14 and 21% for 4K reads compared to the Samsung PM830 installed in the US version (first test 6430u).

HDTune 253 MB/s sequential read
HDTune 253 MB/s sequential read
CrystalDiskMark 513 MB/s sequential read
CrystalDiskMark 513 MB/s sequential read
AS SSD 497 MB/s sequential read
AS SSD 497 MB/s sequential read
Lite-On LMT-128M3M
Transfer Rate Minimum: 138.6 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 289.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 252.8 MB/s
Access Time: 0.1 ms
Burst Rate: 192.3 MB/s
CPU Usage: 5 %
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 - Read 4k
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+
21.66 MB/s ∼50%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
24.39 MB/s ∼56% +13%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
21.91 MB/s ∼51% +1%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
19.56 MB/s ∼45% -10%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
24.57 MB/s ∼57% +13%
Dell Latitude 6430u
17.08 MB/s ∼39% -21%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
21.36 MB/s ∼49% -1%
Fujitsu LifeBook U772
22.64 MB/s ∼52% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
13.83 MB/s ∼32% -36%
AS SSD - 4K-64 Read
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+
297.94 MB/s ∼45%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
203.27 MB/s ∼31% -32%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
201.16 MB/s ∼30% -32%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
222.89 MB/s ∼34% -25%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
238.73 MB/s ∼36% -20%
Dell Latitude 6430u
255.76 MB/s ∼39% -14%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
273.1 MB/s ∼41% -8%
Fujitsu LifeBook U772
292.31 MB/s ∼44% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
337.52 MB/s ∼51% +13%
Legend
      Dell Latitude 6430u HD+ Intel Core i5-3437U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Lite-On LMT-128M3M
      Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H Intel Core i7-3517U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, ADATA XM11 256GB
      HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Intel SSD 520 Series SSDSC2BW180A3L
      Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE Intel Core i7-3667U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Intel SSD 521 Series SSDSCMMW240A3L SFF
      Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, SanDisk SD5SB2128G
      Dell Latitude 6430u Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Samsung SSD PM830 MZ-7PC128D
      Samsung 900X4B-A01DE Intel Core i7-2637M, Intel HD Graphics 3000, Samsung SSD 830 Series MZMPC256HBGJ-00000
      Fujitsu LifeBook U772 Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Micron RealSSD C400 MTFDDAK128MAM
      Lenovo ThinkPad T430u Intel Core i5-3317U, NVIDIA GeForce GT 620M, Toshiba THNSNF128GCSS

GPU Performance

The HD 4000 - the standard GPU integrated in Ivy Bridge CPUs - operates between 350 MHz (idle) and 1150 MHz when the Turbo is active. Depending on cooling requirements and the manufacturer's settings, this frequency dips slightly during the CPU/GPU stress test - to 1000 MHz in our case. Most competitors show a similar reduction in clock speed.

The GPU offers decent performance due to the dual-channel RAM configuration. Both the 3DMark benchmark tests as well as the OpenGL test (Cinebench R11.5 - see above) show that clearly. Nearly all business notebooks make use of the integrated GPU except for the ThinkPad T430u, which can also be had with a GeForce GT 620M. Since April 2013, Asus offers the Asus Pro BU400VC with an Nvidia NVS 5200M. The performance advantage is not significant - unless the software can make use of the CUDA cores. The drivers for NVS GPUs are designed for business scenarios and therefore more stable.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
5593 points
3DMark Ice Storm39397 points
3DMark Cloud Gate4211 points
3DMark Fire Strike604 points
Help
3DMark (2013) - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+
4211 Points ∼17%
Asus BU400VC-W3040X
4352 Points ∼18% +3%
3DMark 06 - 1280x1024 Standard AA:0x AF:0x
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+
5593 Points ∼19%
Fujitsu LifeBook U772
3537 Points ∼12% -37%
Samsung 900X4B-A01DE
3770 Points ∼13% -33%
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m H4P04EA
4185 Points ∼14% -25%
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon N3N34GE
4916 Points ∼16% -12%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch N3NAQGE
5054 Points ∼17% -10%
Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-C4027H
5110 Points ∼17% -9%
Dell Latitude 6430u
5300 Points ∼18% -5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T430u
6892 Points ∼23% +23%
low med.high ultra
Fifa 13 (2012) 1195627fps
SimCity (2013) 371511fps

Emissions

Noise Level

Looking for a quiet notebook? No need to look any further. Both idle and load tests show almost identical results - even at the highest fan setting, the noise tops out at only 33 dB(A). It almost seems like the fan is off during idle - but that's not the case. The spinning fan just happens to be barely audible regardless of the profile used and is thus hardly noisier than our test environment.

Noise Level

Idle 29.9 / 29.9 / 29.9 dB(A)
Load 32.6 / 32.8 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test: 1.9 GHz CPU
Stress test: 1.9 GHz CPU

The extremely quiet fan - which never turns off - does a good job removing the heat from the chassis. During idle, both the top and the bottom reach about 30-32 °C (86-89.6 °F). The stress test - which simulates heavy load and taxes both CPU and GPU - is accompanied by a frequency reduction to 1.9 GHz (CPU) and 1050 MHz (GPU) and causes the chassis to heat up to a maximum of 51 °C (123.8 °F). The average is still a very acceptable 36 °C (96.8 °F); the palm rest area stays as cool as it does during idle. The ultrabook can be used on the lap regardless of load levels.

Users don't really have to fear a performance reduction for two reasons. Firstly, the stress test simulates loads that will normally not occur except during some games - and the HD 4000 is the wrong choice for gaming in the first place. Secondly, the Cinebench tests we conducted above also show that the Turbo is active at all times: the CPU is running at 2.7 GHz, the GPU at 1150 MHz. When we conducted a 3DMark06 test after running the stress test for several hours, we saw no reduction in performance due to heat.

 29.8 °C35.7 °C32.2 °C 
 28 °C33.7 °C31.8 °C 
 25.4 °C25.8 °C26.2 °C 
Maximum: 35.7 °C
Average: 29.8 °C
34 °C35.7 °C32.8 °C
33.1 °C34.9 °C30.1 °C
26.7 °C26.4 °C26.2 °C
Maximum: 35.7 °C
Average: 31.1 °C
Power Supply (max.)  36 °C | Room Temperature 23.6 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Energy Management

Power Consumption

During the stress test, the 6430u consumed between 32 and 37 watts depending on the Turbo frequency. The maximum of 37 watts seems unusual at first: this value should be higher than the maximum recorded during the 3DMark06 test (40 watts). Since the frequency never drops below the core frequency, throttling does not occur.

Overall, the results are similar to what we saw during our first test of the 6430u - although the US model (1.8 GHz Core i5-3427U) operated at a lower GPU frequency range from 700-900 MHz. Our review model, on the other hand, always maintained at least 1000 MHz.

The 65 watt power adapter recharged the running ultrabook in 2 hours 21 minutes. The battery is removable just like on the T430u and the EliteBook Folio 9470m. The X1 Carbon and the Asus BU400VC both come with integrated batteries.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.2 / 0.4 Watt
Idle 7.8 / 10.9 / 12.2 Watt
Load 39.7 / 37 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 960

Battery Life

Charging - 2 hours 21 minutes
Charging - 2 hours 21 minutes
Battery life under load: 2 hours 6 minutes
Battery life under load: 2 hours 6 minutes

During idle, the ultrabook consumes a low-voltage CPU typical 8-12 watts. The competitors are similar - even those with dedicated GPU: the ThinkPad T430u needs 11 watts, the Asus BU400VC requires only 9 watts. We should mention though that these two models feature display panels that are over 100 cd/m² less bright.

The battery life is right in line with what we've come to expect from Latitudes: the 6430u lasts 12 hours during idle (lowest possible power consumption) and 7 hours 29 minutes during our WLAN test (automated surfing using a script). The first 6430u lasted 6 hours and 16 minutes and 3 hours and 25 minutes respectively. The reason was the smaller 3-cell battery with a capacity of 47 Wh. Dell now uses a 60 Wh 6-cell battery; some lower-end models still come with 3-cell batteries.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
12h 9min
WiFi Surfing
7h 29min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 06min

Verdict

The HD+ version of the Dell Latitude 6430u is a well-rounded ultrabook for business professionals. Because we consider many different factors, the final score only improved by 1% to 86%. The new model doesn't have any major flaws - but adds an improved display to the available options. Some users will certainly appreciate the resolution of 1600x900 pixels and the improved display brightness. The new panel is not perfect, however: the professional color spaces are not adequately covered, the color accuracy isn't very high, contrast is low, the viewing angles are restricted, and the display has a bluish cast.

The competition either doesn't offer panels with HD+ resolution (HP Folio 9470mAsus BU400VCThinkPad T430u) or charges a hefty premium (ThinkPad X1 Carbon). For more HD+ or FHD alternatives, the user needs to consider consumer ultrabooks (Asus Zenbook UX31/UX32, Samsung Series 9 900X4C).

A second improvement: the battery life. The ultrabook with the 6-cell battery now lasts 7 hours 29 minutes during the WLAN test - neither the T430u (3 hours 25 minutes) nor the 3-cell US model of the 6430u (4 hours 34 minutes) get close. The HP 9470m (7 hours 39 minutes), Asus BU400VC (6 hours 25 minutes), and Lenovo X1 Carbon (6 hours 54 minutes) last roughly the same amount of time.

The input devices don't quite reach the high standard set by the Latitude E-series. Although the keys have ample travel, the feedback is somewhat spongy.

The magnesium-alloy chassis is very sturdy - even though the cutout for the replaceable battery weakens the base unit a little. The weight of 1.825 kg with the 6-cell battery is higher than that of most competitors: X1 Carbon (1.5 kg), Folio 9470m (1.64 kg), Samsung Series 9 900X4C (1.66 kg). Only the ThinkPad T430u (1.9 kg) is heavier.

Other positive attributes: the noise levels are very low and the port selection is certainly adequate for the class. Although the 6430u doesn't have a docking port like the Latitude E-series - the only ultrabook in our comparison equipped with one is the HP Folio 9470m - Dell is going to offer WiGig docking shortly. At the time of writing, we don't know the price of the device, which allows connecting input devices, monitors, and other peripherals without any cables.

Dell Latitude 6430u HD+: a good ultrabook with an imperfect display
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+: a good ultrabook with an imperfect display

Comment this article:

In Review: Dell Latitude 6430u HD+, courtesy of Dell Germany
In Review: Dell Latitude 6430u HD+, courtesy of Dell Germany

Specifications

Dell Latitude 6430u HD+

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel QM77 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
8192 MB, PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM SO-DIMM Hynix 2x 4 GB Dual Channel
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4000, Core: 350-1150 MHz
:: Display
14 inch 16:9, 1600x900 pixel, M4RTT B140RTN, TN LED
:: Harddisk
Lite-On LMT-128M3M, 128 GB LITEONIT LMT-128M6M mSATA 128GB
:: Soundcard
HD Audio
:: Connections
3 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata, Audio Connections: Headphone/line out combo jack,
:: Networking
Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN (a g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 20.9 x 338.2 x 229.7
:: Weight
1.825 kg Power Supply: 0.338 kg
:: Battery
60 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 6 cells
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 Pro 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: 720p 1280x720, Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Dell Backup & Recovery, 36 Months Warranty

 

Dell Latitude 6430u HD+, take 2.
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+, take 2.
We review the business-ultrabook from the Texan manufacturer for a second time.
We review the business-ultrabook  from the Texan manufacturer for a second time.
New: the 14-inch notebook is now also offered with an HD+ (WXGA++) panel.
New: the 14-inch notebook is now also offered with an HD+ (WXGA++) panel.
This version starts at less than 1000 Euros.
This version starts at less than 1000 Euros.
The price for the well-built ultrabook is attractive - only the expensive X1 Carbon offers the same desirable resolution.
The price for the well-built ultrabook is attractive - only the expensive X1 Carbon offers the same desirable resolution.
The new review model also comes with an Intel Core i5 processor.
The new review model also comes with an Intel Core i5 processor.
Now it's a 1.9 GHz Core i5-3437U.
Now it's a 1.9 GHz Core i5-3437U.
No changes to the positive aspects: the non-glare display is very bright.
No changes to the positive aspects: the non-glare display is very bright.
The keys feature a curved surface and ample travel.
The keys feature a curved surface and ample travel.
Which is why the chassis measures 23 mm ...
Which is why the chassis measures 23 mm ...
... which is thicker than what's acceptable for ultrabooks (21 mm).
... which is thicker than what's acceptable for ultrabooks (21 mm).
The high weight of 1.8 kilograms seems acceptable, since the ultrabook is very sturdy.
The high weight of 1.8 kilograms seems acceptable, since the ultrabook is very sturdy.
The keyboard features backlighting.
The keyboard features backlighting.
Two brightness levels are offered.
Two brightness levels are offered.
The keyboard with the backlight turned off.
The keyboard with the backlight turned off.
The keyboard is pretty good overall, but the feedback is a bit lacking (spongy).
The keyboard is pretty good overall, but the feedback is a bit lacking (spongy).
The 65 watt power adapter is sufficient to handle all load levels.
The 65 watt power adapter is sufficient to handle all load levels.
A little less height would be appreciated.
A little less height would be appreciated.
The ultrabook only ships with the power adapter and the warranty information.
The ultrabook only ships with the power adapter and the warranty information.
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+: many different configuration options are appealing.
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+: many different configuration options are appealing.
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+: Dell is going to offer a WiGig docking station, which might make the physical port obsolete. Unfortunately we haven't been able to test the dock yet.
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+: Dell is going to offer a WiGig docking station, which might make the physical port obsolete. Unfortunately we haven't been able to test the dock yet.
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+: the panel with its 1600x900 pixels doesn't offer extensive viewing angles and the contrast is low.
Dell Latitude 6430u HD+: the panel with its 1600x900 pixels doesn't offer extensive viewing angles and the contrast is low.

Similar Notebooks

Links

  • Manufacturer's Information

Price Comparison

Amazon.com

Show results on Amazon.com

Pricerunner n.a.

Pro

+High resolution
+Sturdy construction
+Battery is replaceable
+High performance
+Easy to maintain
+Very quiet
 

Cons

-Gets a little warm during idle
-Keyboard feedback is lacking
-Comparatively heavy and thick

Shortcut

What we like

Long battery life, resolution works well for getting work done, price is appealing.

What we'd like to see

Why are there no IPS panels available for business notebooks? Better viewing angles and increased usability outdoors would be clear benefits. Also, where's the WiGig docking station? We would have liked to review it with the ultrabook.

What surprises us

The attractive price for the HD+ version and the many different configurations. The panel reflects the price though: viewing angles and contrast are not that great. Luckily for Dell, the other competitors - except for the expensive X1 Carbon - feature even lower quality displays.

The competition

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, HP EliteBook Folio 9470m, ThinkPad T430u, Asus Pro BU400VC, Fujitsu LifeBook U772; Consumer: Samsung Series 9 900X4B, Asus UX31A/Asus UX32VD.

Rating

Dell Latitude 6430u HD+
05/06/2013 v3
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
92%
Keyboard
84%
Pointing Device
84%
Connectivity
74%
Weight
89%
Battery
92%
Display
77%
Games Performance
71%
Application Performance
96%
Temperature
76%
Noise
95%
Add Points
88%
Average
85%
86%
Office *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Update Dell Latitude 6430u HD+ Ultrabook
Author: Sebastian Jentsch, 2013-05-25 (Update: 2013-06- 6)