Dell have proven time and time again that they know how to make a quality notebook, but do all of them stand up to the gamer’s needs? We’re here to look deeper into what the Dell Latitude D620 offers and what features it has that might make it a good choice for gamers.
Meta: We review the business friendly Dell Latitude D620 to see what it might have to offer gamers and home users alike.
Dell’s Latitude D620 was first released in 2006 as an upgrade to their D610 and, at the time, was in the upper scale of business notebooks on the market. It was targeted at the business user or student rather than the serious gamer and this position as a market leader was well deserved. By today’s standards as well it still stands up a serious notebook.
After the stunning success of their Inspiron range, Dell did not rest on their laurels and continued to innovate and hold a place as a market leader with the introduction of the Latitude series. Their D620 was one of their most popular yet, but in what ways did it stand out? We’re here to review the notebook and see what it has to offer users, both at home and in business.
Overview of the Dell Latitude D620
The Latitude D620 made a huge effort to redefine what the corporate notebook was like, and added wide screen display to make it a standout. They offer more wireless options than before and smart security features that will keep your notebook safe and sound. With an emphasis on productivity, the Dell Latitude D620 ticks all of the boxes to get the job done.
With its cutting edge design and construction, and dual-core processor, these notebooks were a little more expensive than some of Dell’s competitors retailing at around $2200 in the US when they first released them in 2006.
Just like other computers throughout history, more competition and technology has made the D620 a more affordable option today. Whether you want to purchase one new or find a refurbished model, there’s still a lot you can get out of these notebooks.
What The Experts Were Saying When It Was Released
At the time of release, the Core Duo was Intel’s latest mobile processor and featured two cores to enable faster overall performance which is even maintained when multi-tasking with programs. With a clock speed of 1.83GHz (and a 2GHz option available) is it certainly more than ample for business use, and remains so even in today’s business environment.
The hard drive technology used is SATA, which allows configuration up to a 100GB storage size hard drive. Hard drives with up to 7200RPM configurations can be installed for increased performance and it can be configured for as much as 4.00GB of RAM with speeds of up to 667MHz.
Top Features and Specs of the Dell Latitude D620
The Dell Latitude 620 prides itself on being a supercomputer for business users, and with the capacity of 1 minute 21 seconds to calculate Pi to 2 million places it does the job. By comparison, the Sony VAIO takes 1 minute 57 seconds and Fujitsu LifeBook takes 1minute 48 seconds to do the same, which proves its place in the market when it was released. Here are a few other notable specs and features:
- Intel Core Duo T2400 1.83GHz;
- 1GB 533MHz DDR2 RAM;
- 80GB 5400RPM HD;
- Comes with Windows XP Pro pre-installed;
- 14.1-inch WXGA screen;
- Integrated graphics using Intel Media Accelerator 950 card;
- 24X CDRW / DVD Combo;
- Dell Wireless 1490 802.11 a/g and built-in Bluetooth;
- Audio: High definition audio codec 2.0W (4-ohm speakers) with microphone;
- Graphics chip: Choice of Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 (up to 224mb) shared or 256 MB NVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M with TurboCache;
- Dimensions 1.26″x 13.27″ x 9.37″;
- Ports: Serial, docking connector, 4 USB, VGA, 1 PC card slot type;
- Weight: Base model at 5.50lbs with 6-cell battery and CD-ROM;
- Service & Support: 3-year Limited Warranty for brand new models;
In its day, the Dell Latitude D620 would have been a fair gaming laptop for the more basic video games and that was fine, given that its primary purpose was for business or for the student. However, as games progressed the Dell Latitude D620 could not keep up with the increasing demands on the processor, RAM and video and sound cards.
There are possibilities to address this, as the D620 can be updated with some limits due to its size. Installing an Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 2.16GHZ CPU processor and 4GB DDR2 RAM for speed and the SanDisk Z400s 128GB SSD for video will give you a laptop that handles most current games if this would better suit your needs.
The market for this laptop was more directed at business and student applications, and in that area t definitely performed. Even by today’s standards, it would still outperform much of the competition, as we’ll see by looking more closely at its features.
Dell Latitude D620 Display
The D620 is available as a WXGA (1280 x 800) or WXGA+ (1440 x 900) display. The 14.1-inch widescreen display immediately placed it ahead of many of Dell’s competitors and identified this unit as something more than a basic workstation. This means means less eyestrain and a much better video experience, whether it is watching movies or basic gaming.
The resolution of 1440 x 900 makes for crystal clear images at a much lower flicker rate. From the work perspective, the larger screen and higher resolution improve the capacity to have multiple screens open at once and still be able to clearly read each of them.
The Build of the Notebook
With an understated elegance and beauty of design and build, and finished in matte silver with a black base, the aesthetics of this laptop make it equally at home in the most prestigious of boardrooms or in the room of a gamer. With a lightweight feel of around 5.6lbs including battery and charger, it’s easy to take with you wherever you need to go.
The hinges and latch are built for durability and made from steel, giving a reassurance that this is no flimsy device. You can be sure that the screen will never detach or there’ll be issues with opening and closing the notebook, which can be common with devices from this era.
Dell has also developed what it calls a StrikeZone, being a special shock protected housing for the hard drive to protect it from damage arising from drops and bumps. For the student this is a great innovation, as living in a backpack can mean a lot of unintended damage from everyday use.
Dell understands just how important it is to type on your notebook, including being able to move the mouse and cursor with ease, and they prove this with the D620. The keyboard is full size; it is firm with a comfortably light key touch that reduces the amount of pressure you must apply to a key to get a result. There is no flexing of the keyboard and it is ergonomically sound in layout and spacing including the spacing of the body around the keyboard.
The D620 has two options for movability with a pointing stick and touchpad. There are two mouse buttons that have been positioned at the bottom, and have the perfect feel for gamers. Their position means that even if you use the pointing stick, you’ll be able to access the upper buttons and if you use the touchpad, you can reach the lower ones as well.
One of the power saving functions is the built-in ambient light sensor that controls the brightness of the screen when running on battery. This has the effect of lowering the brightness when in a dark room and the opposite when in bright areas. When plugged into power the screen will automatically become brighter or you can manually override the sensor and control the brightness for yourself.
The screen brightness is decent although nowhere near the levels of the higher end laptops and especially for those wanting to use it for gaming. However, with the matte finish, it’s able to minimize reflections from office or classroom lighting, which is a great help in reducing eye and neck strain and associated headaches.
Communications and Wireless Options
Wireless communications was a top priority for the Dell Latitude D620. WI-FI connection is provided through its wireless network card or using a cable and port where WI-FI is not available. Dell has another innovation here, being a Wi-Fi finder feature. This allows you to search for nearby Wi-Fi by sliding a switch on the laptop’s left edge. The feature works even when power is off, so you don’t need to boot up to find a handy network.
Other wireless options include Bluetooth + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) card and an array of ports, jacks, and slots will satisfy standard business connectivity needs. These include infrared, VGA, and four USB 2.0 ports, plus a serial port.
Security and Safety
The D620 is equipped by Dell to be secure and provide end users with multiple options for keeping data secure. Using Dell’s innovative “Smart Security”, the laptop has 3 factors of authentication, hard drive encryption capability, and defense against viruses.
For added security measures, you’re also provided with a fingerprint reader and a smartcard reader that renders the laptop inaccessible to anyone without the correct one. You’ll also get a cable lock port so that your laptop can be secured to a desk or other structure if you have to leave it unattended.
Battery Options and Life
The D620 can take a 4-cell, 6-cell or 9-cell battery if needed, but going with the more powerful option could mean some bulk for the notebook. Running a 6 cell with Wi-Fi on and screen at mid-brightness, using some basic features, you can expect a little over 2 hours 30 minutes. A 9-cell extends that to about 3 hours at the cost of a little extra weight and some bulk, it could be worth it t some.
Dell batteries have ‘Express Charge’ which means you can charge your laptop up to 80% in about 40 minutes or the full 100% in one hour. Battery life management is enhanced through the provision of an LED display that shows you remaining charge and helps you avoid running out of power when you least expect it.
In terms of gaming, you’d be able to get a couple of hours play from this device, so it’s probably not ideal for taking on long journeys. By lowering the quality you may get some extended play, but it’s likely not worth it for the huge hit you’d take in terms of picture and sound.
Final Thoughts of the Dell Latitude D620
The D620 even today holds its own in the world of business and student use laptops. It is a sturdy, speedy, reliable and particularly aesthetically pleasing machine that will manage most of the tasks thrown at it, and all at a price point that makes it accessible to most.
Dell’s baseline warranty lasts for three years and includes next business day on site service. Toll-free, 24/7 tech support is also included. In addition, Dell has a great web support site that provides FAQ’s, troubleshooting tips and real-time chat support as well as a forum.
Dell was quite rightly convinced that the D620 would compete well in the 2006 marketplace. To find that even now in 2018 this laptop is able to hold its own with much more expensive business and student-focused laptops is an indication of just how good the D620 is. This further proves just how innovative and commited Dell is when it comes to its machines.
Although a great option for business and study, it’s not ideal for gamers. The lack of graphics and display means you could enjoy some lower end titles, but for serious gameplay you’d be better off upgrading to one of Dell’s more intense models.