Touch and go – The Asian Age


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The Dell Latitude 14, model 3450 aims for a touchscreen work experience

Recalling Mark Twain’s classic quip when he read his own obituary in the newspaper, it’s time to say about the laptop computer: Rumours of its death are an exaggeration.

Industry surveys speak of laptop and notebook travails in the face of the tablet onslaught. But the fact remains: the laptop form factor is still the best for productivity on the hoof. A few companies, continue to roll out business laptops, which cannily offer the best of both worlds: traditional portable PC features with the tablet’s touch functions added. The Dell Latitude 14 model 3450, part of the 3000 series of 14 inch laptops is a good example.

The configuration I tried out, is fueled by a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i5 chip with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM and 500 GB of hard disk. It runs a 64-bit professional version of Windows 8.1 — and by end July it can be upgraded for free to the upcoming Windows 10. This is reassuring for die-hard fans of the look-n-feel of Windows 7 and earlier, because Windows 10 is a case of Back to the Future: with the option of switching any time between the tiled Windows 8 look and the classic Windows desktop of old.

For me, the icing in the cake is the combo of a standard HD (1366 by 768) screen with the touch controls that tablets have made so popular (there is another model with non-touch full 1080p HD). I quite enjoyed switching at will from using the laptop touch pad to swiping the screen with my finger.

The 14-inch screen and the full keyboard is about right for productive office apps — but I think a 500 GB HDD is on the lower side — as it is, hardly 430 GB, on a single drive, is left after the factory software installations. With no DVD drive, I would have thought 1 TB should have been the entry level of a laptop that flaunts its business plumage.

Also, at 2 kilos this is not exactly a lightweight, nor is the asking price of Rs 73,000. But its combo of touch and key controls will appeal to professionals who look to throw in some play after work.

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