Dell Latitude D600 review: Dell Latitude D600

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The Good Respectable performance; light, well-designed case; DVD+RW drive; 802.11b/g wireless; long warranty and comprehensive support.

The Bad Mediocre battery life.

The Bottom Line With a well-rounded combination of speed, features, and service, Dell's Latitude D600 remains among the most versatile enterprise laptops available.

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7.9 Overall

Dell's venerable corporate thin-and-light laptop, the Latitude D600, gets a tune-up for summer 2004. The system now sports upgraded innards, including a 1.8GHz Pentium M Dothan processor, a DVD+RW drive, and a larger 80GB hard drive, but it keeps the same slick exterior we've grown so fond of. While the component boost doesn't result in extralong battery life, the Dell Latitude D600 remains among the most well-rounded enterprise laptops available.

Smaller and sleeker than Dell's older, gray C600, the Latitude D600 measures 1.2 inches thick, 12.4 inches wide, and 10.1 inches deep, and it weighs in at an easy-to-tote 5.5 pounds. It still includes a comfortable keyboard, a pointing stick and touch pad, and an internal swappable bay that houses the included DVD+RW drive, plus an optional second battery or one of various optional drives: CD, DVD, DVD/CD-RW, floppy, or a second 40GB hard drive. Three handy buttons for turning the volume up, down, or off sit in the upper-left corner above the keyboard.

The Dell Latitude D600 offers all of the standard ports and slots required for everyday business applications. The best of them include two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, and one Type II PC Card slot, which features an embedded smart-card reader; removable smart cards, which are available in a number of sizes and prices from various third-party manufacturers, are handy for storing passwords and other sensitive info. The Dell Latitude D600 also features the latest in integrated wireless technology: 802.11b/g.

The laptop's new 1.8GHz Pentium M 745 (a.k.a. Dothan) processor and 512MB of memory served up respectable, if not outstanding, speed in CNET Labs' tests. Although Dell has not upgraded the Latitude D600's aging 32MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics chip, the system kept up with the Dothan-powered IBM ThinkPad T42. The Latitude D600's smallish 11.1V, 4,700mAh battery took a beating in our drain tests, lasting up to 1.5 hours less than a battery overachiever such as the HP Compaq nc6000. Part of the blame for the Latitude D600's shorter battery life lies with its power-hogging 14.1-inch screen, which features an impressive 1,400x1,050 native resolution.

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