Worried about spills on your new computer? Try this wipe-clean netbook
Dell’s Latitude 2110 is a standard-looking netbook computer with a rather odd case – it’s covered with a rubbery material that Dell says makes it easier to wipe spills from, although the laptop itself is not actually waterproof.
The processor is an Intel Atom N470 and it comes with 1GB of memory (cheaper models are available with less powerful processors). There’s a 160GB hard disk, though an expansion to 250GB costs £20.
A relatively clean design is spoiled a little, on the model we reviewed, by
the large battery which protrudes from the bottom of the laptop. If you don’t
need the larger battery a smaller one is available, although this will obviously
result in a lower battery life. As it was, it worked out at around seven hours
in general use.
Like a lot of modern computers, this one comes with a touch-sensitive screen, a 10in widescreen model. It was quite clear but the colours were a little washed out for our liking even with the brightness turned up.
The touch-sensitive screen worked well but we’re not convinced that it’s an enormous amount of use – few applications are set up to use it to full effect and for now the keyboard and touchpad are perfectly adequate. The keyboard was fine, with shallow but well-spaced keys that allowed for comfortable typing.
Interestingly, for £12 extra you can switch to an ‘anti-microbial, tamper-resistant’ keyboard. The Latitude 2110 is being sold into schools where it makes sense to cut down on the possibility of the computer transmitting infections as it’s passed from hand to hand, though we can’t say how effective the more expensive keyboard will actually be.
There are three USB ports, a memory card reader, VGA output for monitor connection and headphone and microphone sockets. It can connect to wired and wireless networks although if you want to connect it to Bluetooth devices such as phones and external keyboards you’ll need to shell out another £18 for the Bluetooth accessory. A webcam is built into the top of the screen, with its own microphone.
The Windows 7 Starter operating system is provided, as is Microsoft Office Starter 2010, which is a slightly cut-down version of the full Office suite, including word processor and spreadsheet functions. It also comes with a 15-month subscription to Trend Micro’s anti-virus software, which is good when other computers come only with a 60-day trial of anti-virus software. Unlike many touch-screen computers it doesn’t include the Microsoft Touch Pack of applications to show off the screen, but it does have an on-screen keyboard should you be particularly averse to real keyboards.
The touch-screen adds quite a lot to the price, though if you don’t need Windows, the same model with the Ubuntu Linux operating system installed is £100 cheaper.
The touch-sensitive screen means the Latitude 2110’s price is just a bit too high Good points Wipe-clean cover; good software supplied Bad points Touch-screen is a bit pointless; screen not the best
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