It's weird to be using a Dell business laptop and feel like you're using a Lenovo. Well, perhaps there isn't the same feeling that it would survive a tactical nuclear strike, but the aesthetics are certainly there.
Whether it's the matte black surface, the orange function keys or even the increased rigidity in the screen, we can't help but expect to see a little red trackpoint control in the middle of the Latitude E5520's keyboard. There's actually one there, it's just black.
There are differences of course: Dell's got more curves, has a silver trim and a dark, brushed aluminium lid. It also tends to use white LEDs, which lends a certain sophisticated look to the device. Thankfully, the annoying and difficult-to-use lid-latch found on the previous generation Latitudes has been replaced with a more standard slider, making the E5520 significantly easier to open.
The most striking thing? The gorgeously bright and vivid matte screen. At 1920x1080 on a 15.6-inch screen it's just glorious, with text incredibly readable and popping off the screen. It still suffers poor off-axis viewing as laptop screens do, but from the optimal angle it's really quite impressive. For those who don't need a high-resolution screen, a 1366x768 version should be available as well.
One thing we don't see enough of is backlit keyboards, and the E5520 has one that has four different levels of illumination, plus the ability to switch off. Don't move the mouse or type for a while and the backlight will turn off — a battery-saving measure.
There's only three dedicated function buttons, located at the top left under the screen: mute, volume up and volume down.
Catching up with consumer land, there's now an array microphone at the top for the webcam, a concession perhaps that more video-conferencing is happening thanks to the proliferation of things like Skype.