Dell manufactures some of the most popular business laptops in the industry, but the model names and numbers can be confusing for anyone who doesn't follow the company closely. The Latitude and Vostro laptop lines have overlapping prices, and sizes, which can make it difficult to come to a decision. The good news is that between these two product lines, Dell has a laptop for nearly every business need, and once you find the computer that is right for you, you are certain to be very pleased with it.
The laptops in the Vostro line range in price from $274-599 before optional upgrades as of late 2009, and come equipped with screen sizes from 8.9 to 17.0 inches. The Vostro line is intended to be a lower-cost range of business laptops, with the high level of durability and security that business users require. Vostro laptops can be purchased with fingerprint readers, and hard drive encryption.
The Latitude product line ranges in price from $389-$4,279 before optional upgrades as of late 2009. The available screen sizes range from 10.1 inches on the low end to a maximum of 15.4 inches. Latitude laptops tend to have higher-power components than Vostro laptops do in their default configurations, and can be docked to simulate desktop computers. Ultra-rugged models are available, as is a Tablet PC version. Additionally, some Latitude models can be customized with a second "slice" battery, providing a massive total battery life of up to 19 hours.
Mini Segment Comparison
In the mini segment are the 8.9-inch Vostro A90 at $274, and the 10.1-inch Latitude 2100 at $389 as of 2009. Both laptops use the Intel Atom N270 processor, have 512MB of RAM, and run Ubuntu Linux (Windows is available at an additional cost). Both have Intel integrated video processors. However, the Vostro A90 has an 8GB solid state hard drive, while the Latitude 2100 has an 80GB conventional hard drive. The Latitude wins with a much classier, more business-like appearance, and for having an extra 72GB of storage space. The 8GB are hardly enough for serious business use, although both machines can be expanded with memory cards.
Midrange Segment Comparison
In the midrange segment, the Vostro line weighs in with the 15.5-inch A860, costing $549. Representing the Latitude line is the 14.1-inch E5400, priced at $789. The Vostro A860 sports a 2.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive and Intel X3100 integrated graphics. The A860 also includes a DVD burner. The Latitude E5400 is powered by a 2.2 GHz Intel Celeron processor, and has 2GB of RAM, a 160GB hard drive, and Intel 4500MHD integrated graphics, along with a DVD drive that can play, but not burn, DVDs. In this segment, the Vostro clearly provides more value for the price; all prices are as of 2009.
High End Segment Comparison
The Vostro line does not include a high end product such as the Latitude E4200, a 12-inch laptop with monster power and a $1,956 price tag to match as of 2009. The E4200 includes a 1.40 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, Intel 4500MHD integrated graphics, and a 64GB solid state hard drive. All of this power is packed into a thin and light magnesium alloy chassis that oozes style. The E4200 provides Dell's best combination of power and portability in the business-class segment, and is an excellent choice for those who can afford it.
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