Dell entices enterprise buyers with new Latitude notebooks

Dell has announced its new line of mid-range, 14-inch business notebooks. Like previous versions of the Latitude, this new 3000 series isn’t going to win a beauty contest, but it offers enough configurations to make your head spin. And, to make matters more confusing, Dell’s announcement is really about two notebooks, not one. The first Latitude 14 3000 models will be based on Intel’s fourth-gen Core processors.

Let’s start with the newer model, which will be available this month. Dell plans to sell it with a variety of Core i3 and i5 processors, up to 4GB of RAM, and a 14-inch 1366 x 768 anti-glare display. A 500GB mechanical disk will be standard, but can be replaced with a 500GB hybrid drive, and Nvidia 830M graphics will be available as an option. These early models have a 58 watt-hour battery.

The later versions, though, will upgrade to fifth-gen Core M processors and expand the roster of options to include Celeron and Core i7 chips, alongside Core i3 and i5. Maximum RAM quadruples to 16GB, and larger 1TB hard drives will compliment the original 500GB options. The original 1366 x 768 display will be joined by an optional 1080p screen and a new 1366 x 768 touchscreen built with Corning Gorilla Glass. The 58 watt-hour battery will be available, though Dell also plans to offer a 43 watt-hour battery to users looking to decrease weight. Nvidia 830M graphics will remain available alongside Intel’s upcoming HD 5500 integrated GPU.

While the internal hardware in each model varies significantly, they share the same exterior design. Dell says the Latitude 14 3000 will be about 22 millimeters thick, and weigh around 4.2 pounds with the 43 watt-hour battery (Dell doesn’t quote weight with the larger pack, but we’re sure it will add some bulk). All versions come with two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI, VGA, and Ethernet.  Operating system choices are shared between them, too. Dell will install Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or even Ubuntu if you desire. Wi-Fi connectivity will be handled via 802.11n. 802.11ac won’t be available as an option at any point, but Bluetooth is present on all models.

Dell paired the reveal of the new Latitude 14 3000 notebooks with the a new Latitude 12 5000 series announcement. The latter is a 12-inch notebook that will join existing 14-inch and 15-inch systems in this line.  Dell has revealed very little information about this notebook, however. The company says it will be 20 percent thinner than previous 5000 series notebooks, and it claims to offer all-day battery life via a 4-cell battery. Aside from that, we don’t know the specifics of display resolution, or even the processors it will ship with.

Dell says the Latitude 14 3000 will launch sometime this month in Asia at an MSRP of $640, but there’s no word of U.S. availability yet. The Latitude 12 5000 will land on September 25 in the United States, Europe and Asia, and will start at $769.