March 23, 2006
 

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Posted: 05.12.05

A Girlís Best Friend

Iím skeptical of thin and lights that donít include an optical drive. Ever since I first met the Panasonic CF-W2, which is under three pounds and has an integrated optical drive, I donít see a need to go without one? But then I met Dellís latest thin and light, the Latitude X1, and Iím hooked.
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By Teresa von Fuchs




The Latitude X1 has a 12.1 inch wide-aspect screen, which means you have a shorter, wider screen and room for a full keyboard while still being a small package. I actually think this design is easier to use—it feels more portable and balances easier on my lap than traditional square clamshells—and that’s a huge perk in terms of mobility. For one, it fits neatly inside my purse. At only .9 inches thin, I just slip it into a padded carrying case (OK, sometimes a bubble envelope) and it’s still easy to carry around. On my last cross country flight to Seattle, I plunked it on my tray table, opened it up and it fit really unobtrusively, even when the guy in front of me reclined all the way back. I didn’t have to type with my arms all scrunched at my sides. And when I was working at a café recently, it fit so neatly on the table, I didn’t feel like I was pulling out my portable cubicle to hide behind.

And in terms of portability, Dell went the extra mile and made the AC adapter smaller and lighter. It always bugs me that when advertising thin and lights, few vendors ever include the adaptor weight (who travels without the plug?), but for the X1, it’s still safely under 3 pounds (the X1 weighs 2.5 on its own). And the batteries (3 hour comes standard, a 4 hour extended battery is also available) are fast recharging and will fully recharge in about an hour. It also comes with all the standards we expect in terms of wireless and top of the line insides: Intel Centrino b/g wireless connectivity, as well as integrated Bluetooth.

And though it’s no Toughbook, it’s held up very well in my bang-up tests, like in my bag on the subway. Dell has also included a shock absorber system to protect the hard drive; so if the computer suffers more damage than it can handle, your info is still safe inside.

All things considered, I’ll sacrifice the integrated optical drive to carry this little guy around with me everywhere.
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