The Dell Latitude 6430u is the first ultrabook to grace Dell's business-focused Latitude lineup, and our hands on time with the machine suggests that it'll be one to watch. Rumors of the ultrabook's existence date back to May and, like the Latitude 10 tablet, proved to be correct. The device is 0.82-inches thin and weighs 3.7 pounds; that's not exactly revelatory for an ultrabook, but noticeably slimmer than the 4.5 pound Latitude 6420 it follows. The Latitude 6430u will be powered by Intel Ivy Bridge processors, and can be configured to include up to a Core i7-3667U, with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive. It forgoes an optical drive to keep its slim profile, but external options will be available.
A simple, attractive ultrabook
The Latitude 6430u is a simple, attractive piece of equipment. The black magnesium shell is accented with a simple silver band that runs around the edge of the machine. The chassis tapers towards the front lip offering a pair of convenient ledges to grasp on to, and it feels nice and slim in our hands.The 14-inch display is bright and pleasant to look at, but saddled with the bog-standard 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. Windows 8's tiles fill the space neatly, but extra pixel density would've been a nice touch — particularly once you're back on the traditional desktop.
No touchscreen, but there are two pointing devices to choose from
Speaking of touch: the Latitude 6430u lacks a touchscreen, which we still find a bit odd on Windows 8 machines. That said, you have two pointing devices to choose from — the touchpad was both comfortable and handled Windows 8's multitouch gestures amicably, and there's a pointing stick nestled in the center of the keyboard. The chiclet keyboard is also spacious and comfortable, and while our typing session was necessarily limited we found the experience satisfying.
Dell claims the machine will offer "all-day productivity" on a single battery charge, but we'll need to test the machine ourselves to see how long it lasts. That said, you can purchase a larger 6 cell battery, and swap batteries out at your leisure — not many ultrabooks can attest to that. There's no word on pricing, but the Latitude 6430u will be available alongside Windows 8 on October 26th.