Dell's new Latitude line feels compact and self contained. Perhaps it's the orange line around the keyboard, or the return of the traditional keyboard instead of the island-style seen on so many laptops these days. Maybe it's the silver trim, the matte finish and matte screen or even the fact that the 6420 is only 14-inches in size. Whatever it is, it's a reasonably well appointed business machine, right down to its secure card reader and track-point controller in the middle of the keyboard.
It feels a bit chunky, too, in contrast to the trend of the rest of the industry. Still, it feels absolutely solid, like it could withstand a decent drop.
Sadly, there's no backlit keyboard, but everything else seems to be here: HDMI-out, VGA-out, four USB ports (one integrated with eSATA), gigabit Ethernet, ExpressCard 54 slot and a DVD drive. It's most definitely a business machine, as the lack of USB 3.0 ports and combined headphone/microphone jack give away.
Our review sample came equipped with a Core i5 2520M 2.5GHz processor, 4GB of RAM and, disappointingly, a 32-bit operating system, meaning that you won't be able to take the most advantage of said RAM. Dell offers no option for a 64-bit OS at checkout, either, although we'd imagine that anyone doing a corporate roll-out would be given that extra flexibility. We just wish that Dell would do as Toshiba and Fujitsu do, and offer both the 32-bit or 64-bit install during system recovery.