Despite the Latitude's bulky frame, Dell hasn't used the space all that well when it comes to ports. There are just two USB ports, although one of these does double up as an eSata port. You get a VGA socket, but there's no HDMI port. There is a little room for expansion thanks to the ExpressCard slot, and the security-conscious will also be pleased to see the Smart Card reader found on the left-hand side of the laptop.
On the storage front, our review sample had a 250GB hard drive, which is a tad small, but you can configure it with drives of up to 500GB in size when buying it from the Dell site. Our model also had a DVD writer, but again there is an option to add a Blu-ray drive if you'd prefer.
The biggest difference between this model and the older E4300 is that Dell has switched from ultra-low-voltage chips to more powerful standard mobile processors. Our machine had a dual-core Intel Core i5-520M processor, clocked at 2.40GHz. This was backed up by 2GB of RAM and, like most business laptops, Dell had preloaded the Professional version of Windows 7 rather than the Home Premium one you find on consumer laptops. The i5 processor is certainly speedy and helped the laptop post a pretty potent score of 6,238 in the PCMark05 benchmark test, so it'll easily handle even more demanding business applications.
Abysmal battery life
In saying that, the processor takes a large toll on battery life. In the Battery Eater test, it only kept running for an hour and 34 minutes. We expected it to last a good deal longer than this, especially given the size of the battery that protrudes out the rear of the laptop.
Good 3D performance isn't such a big necessity on business machines, and the E4310 makes do with integrated Intel HD graphics, which never perform particularly well in our 3D Benchmark. It was no surprise, then, that it only posted a score of 2,091 in 3DMark06. You definitely won't be using this laptop for a spot of after-hours gaming.
Overall, although the Dell Latitude E4310 is a fairly speedy machine, the big and boxy design and shortish battery life are disappointing, especially when you take into account the high asking price.
Edited by Emma Bayly