Dell Latitude E6530 Review: Business Class Performance - HotHardware

Dell Latitude E6530 Review: Business Class Performance

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Software-wise, Dell ships the E6530 with a surprisingly light suite. Windows 7 Professional is the OS onboard, and beyond that there are minimal extra programs to deal with. Perhaps this is due to its enterprise nature, assuming end users will be populating it with a lot of company-approved apps and removing those that aren't -- but either way, we appreciate the light and clean feel. Dell does include its own Backup and Recovery software suite to keep those essential files from being zapped in the event of a catastrophe.

One other bit of import is the inclusion of vPro extensions; they're optional on this machine, but our test unit included them. They're primarily useful to enterprise customers who seek the ability to manage an installed base of systems.


In other words, you're able to do things like make a single BIOS change in your vPro management console, and have that trickle out to your entire group of systems. You'll also get remote access capabilities and battery management (on the notebook side). Nothing too meaningful for the average user, but small business owners and enterprise IT folks may appreciate the extra reach when thinking about outfitting the entire crew with similar systems.

The only browser onboard is Internet Explorer, in case you're wondering, and there's no Microsoft Office suite at all -- not even a trial. Thanks to the limited amount of extra software loaded from the factory as well as having an SSD onboard, booting the machine up was delightfully quick.


Compared to HDD-based machines, the bootup on this is actually exciting to watch. It's amazing how much faster an SSD can boot compared to HDDs, and while this computer is available with varying hard drive options, we'd obviously recommend springing for an SSD if it's even remotely close to being within your budget. Outside of extra RAM, it's the biggest upgrade you can snag for performance boosts you can feel.

Using the E6530, after getting over its extra weight, is a generally pleasant experience. But, then again, you never really do "get over" the heft. It's a beast of a machine to tote around, and it genuinely feels as if you should be getting 17 (rather than 15) inches of notebook. As alluded to earlier, the keyboard and trackpad experience is top-notch. We can't count how many times we've been let down by an otherwise well-configured machine because the input mechanisms were below our expectations.

The keyboard here is well spaced and the travel is ideal, but it's shifted to the left due to a full numerical keypad being included to the right of it. That took some getting used to, but it's not a deal-breaker. The pointer nub works extremely well, and if you've wanted to leave your ThinkPad but couldn't stomach the idea of using a trackpad, here's your alternative. The accuracy was great, but we'll confess that the tiny nub feels a bit comical on such a vast machine. Functionally, however, it's great.


The LCD hinge was stiff enough to hold the 15.6" (1600x900) panel wherever we placed it, and the viewing angles are good enough that you'll have no problem showing your colleagues an Excel sheet as they huddle behind you. (Or, your high score in Solitaire.)

The Core i7 CPU, combined with 6GB of memory and a wicked fast 128GB SSD, made for a predictably fast surfing experience. Be it the launching of multiple apps, multitasking or chewing through a photo gallery in Lightroom, we couldn't get the machine to hiccup. Everyday tasks were handled with extreme poise, and you really won't hit any significant hurdles unless you're taxing the machine from a graphics standpoint.


The Windows 7 Experience score shown above has a total score that's actually lower than the less powerful Lenovo ThinkPad X230T. Why? The GPU. While the E6530 is available with an NVIDIA NVS 5200M for an extra $99, our review unit had an integrated Intel HD 4000 chipset. It's unquestionably the only real bottleneck in this machine.  This is also a machine that already checks in at over $1700; what's another $99 to ensure the graphics are up to snuff with the rest of the components?


You'll notice that throughout the benchmarks, things are occasionally held back by lackluster GPU performance. We recognize that many business users have no need whatsoever for a discrete GPU, but from an overall performance standpoint, for a modest investment in cost, it could have taken performance to an exceptional level. Intel's HD 4000 graphics is fine for playing back 1080p videos and handling your favorite YouTube clips and Powerpoint presentations, but don't throw any heavy computational modeling tasks at this thing without opting for the NVIDIA GPU.

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It's good to see business models are finally improving. I adopted a business laptop long ago and I had to completely wipe it to make it function well.

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It's not to bad when you can wipe them.Getting them as an actually business laptop and having to keep the programs on it is far worse.

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Boy I agree. I think all brands of computers come with too much pre-installed JUNK! My trick is to burn all of the device drivers to a CD, wipe the machine and install a full non-OEM license of the OS. Then as I find hardware that does not work I install then manually from the Device Manager having the system scan the CD for the device drivers. The only machine I could not do this with was an e-Machine, and I immediatly returned it. I wish vendors would give us the option of buying a "clean" machine.

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I have used the Dell lines before, especially the latitude model. The newer ones, though not inherently fast do work well if a little bit slow. The laptops are durable and reliable as long as you don't mess with the system settings or registry too much.

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The difference in performance that you may be seeing as opposed to the performance they are reporting may be in the choice of hard drive. Their test machine was using a Solid State Hard Drive (SSD) as opposed to the old platter Hard Drives. The boost in performance from going to Solid State is incredible. I used to do Engineering design work on a machine with a platter drive, and it took several minutes to start up. I would turn it on first then walk to the break room to store my lunch, and the machine would still be starting up. With SSD I couldn't even get away from the desk and it was ready to log in. This was the same machine, only change was going to Solid State.

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On paper looks good. And for business. The only laptop i bought was for my mom for mothers day. And that was way back then. This is a good upgrade and with ssd programs will be blazing fast

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This sounds like a great biz laptop. I like the higher res matte screen, and back lit spill resistant keyboard. Nice features to have indeed.

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Love the USB 3.0 ports, although they may be useless for a business laptop. And is it just me that loves Intels WIDI tech, that would be perfect for a business or media laptop. Its a huge option in my opinion and a must for me if I look for a laptop, anybody else??

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Wait with the Ivy bridge processor and the Intel Centrino wireless card this thing should support WIDI, am I missing something here??

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Looks good...but I really don't understand why business laptops need to be high end

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