Dell Latitude 2120 review: Dell Latitude 2120

Dell is offering several preconfigured versions of the Latitude 2120, ranging in price from $414 all the way up to $746. The lowest-end version has an Intel Atom N455 CPU and 1GB of RAM, and ditches Windows for Ubuntu Linux 10.10. On the other end of the spectrum is a configuration with the dual-core Atom N550, the previously mentioned HD display and touch screen, and 2GB of RAM. We tested a version that was in the middle, with the faster CPU and 2GB of RAM but the lower-resolution screen.

In performance, the Latitude closely matched other Netbooks with the same CPU, running slightly faster in some benchmark tests, slower in others. In hands-on use, the system behaved as one would expect a Netbook to, which is to say fine for moderate use, but prone to occasional slowdowns.

Even with the switch to dual-core versions of Intel's Atom processor, the Netbook platform as a whole continues to feel dated, especially compared with the faster, less expensive 11-inch ultraportables. Case in point, recent ultraportables from HP and Lenovo, both with AMD's E-350 CPU, easily beat the Latitude 2120 in performance, while costing less.

Juice box
Dell Latitude 2120 Avg watts/hour
Off (60%) 0.7
Sleep (10%) 0.7
Idle (25%) 6.91
Load (05%) 16.41
Raw kWh Number 26.6
Annual power consumption cost $3.02

Annual power consumption cost
HP Pavilion dm1-3005
$3.20 
HP Mini 5103
$3.20 

Battery life was a bright spot, with the Latitude 2120 running for 5 hours and 6 minutes in our video playback battery drain test. However, that's with a giant six-cell battery that protrudes from the bottom of the chassis like a kickstand. Netbooks without this extralarge battery, such as the HP Mini 5103, only ran for about half as long.

Dell includes a standard one-year parts and labor warranty with this system, which includes mail-in service. Given its price, we'd want either a longer default term or on-site service. A wide variety of add-on services is available, including accidental damage protection ($49 for three years), and three years of data recovery service for help with failed hard drives ($75).

Jalbum photo conversion test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion dm1-3005
97 
HP Mini 5103
113 

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion dm1-3005
2,314 
HP Mini 5103
2,419 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion dm1-3005
472 
HP Mini 5103
859 

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion dm1-3005
319 
HP Mini 5103
162 

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations

Dell Latitude 2120
Windows 7 Home Premium; 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 Dual-Core; 2,048MB DDR3 SDRAM 667MHz; 256MB (Shared) Intel GMA 3150; 250GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Asus Eee PC 1015PN
Windows 7 Starter; 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 Dual-Core; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB Nvidia ION; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

HP Mini 5103
Windows 7 Professional; 1.5GHz Intel Atom N550 Dual-Core; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 256MB (Shared) Intel GMA 3150; 160GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Lenovo ThinkPad X120e
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.6GHz AMD Fusion E-350 Dual-Core; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 667MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6310; 320GB Hitachi 7,200rpm

HP Pavilion dm1-3005
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit); 1.6GHz AMD Fusion E-350 Dual-Core; 3,072MB DDR3 SDRAM 667MHz; 384MB (Dedicated) ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6310; 320GB Hitachi 7,200rpm

What you'll pay

    Pricing is currently unavailable.

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