The Dell Latitude E4310 is an ultra-portable that's targeted at business users who need a small and light machine for use on the road. Priced at around £1,400, it's quite expensive, so does it do enough to justify its high price tag?
While we understand that most business users want a laptop that feels like it'll stand up to a fair amount of abuse -- and the E4310 certainly does feel sturdy -- we doubt they're happy to lug around a model that looks like it was knocked together in the pre-Glasnost USSR. This really is a horribly boxy ultra-portable, and the fact the battery sticks out about an inch from the rear doesn't help matters, either. In fact the only 'stylish' element is the brushed-metal effect used on the lid.
As with most business machines, the E4310's screen has a matte rather than glossy finish, which helps to cut down on glare, making it less tiring on your eyes when you're putting in long hours working on spreadsheets and Word documents. As with most 13.3-inch displays, the resolution only stretches to 1366x768 pixels, but the screen's smaller dimensions mean text still looks razor-sharp and there's enough real estate on offer to allow you to work on two documents side by side. Colours aren't as in-your-face as they are on the glossy displays you find on most consumer laptops, but pictures and videos still look fairly punchy and the display's viewing angles are good, both on the horizontal and vertical axis.
Tiny wee trackpad
Rather than opting for an isolated keyboard design, Dell has instead used a keyboard with traditional tapered keys. The keyboard feels very sturdy and doesn't suffer from the flex you sometimes get on ultra-portables. Its layout is also excellent and the keys have a fair amount of travel, so they feel responsive under your fingers. The trackpad, however, is a different matter. Although its matte finish means your finger glides effortlessly across the surface, it's just far too small, even by ultra-portable standards. That said, the E4310 does have a pointing device nestled in the middle of the keyboard with an extra set of buttons mounted above the trackpad, so if you're a fan of pointers you may not find the small trackpad such an issue.