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Is there a quality or other difference between Dell's Inspiron and Latitude lines? [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : Is there a quality or other difference between Dell's Inspiron and Latitude lines?


X
06-29-06, 02:05 PM
Is there any quality difference? Any basic feature difference?

I'm trying to pick out a notebook and I don't know what the differences between the lines are.

Dave99
06-29-06, 04:54 PM
After using both (latitudes for the last 2, d820 right now), it seems they are just a little more structurally sound than the inspirons. Drawbacks though since they are business oriented, the sound & video cards are pretty basic, and you can't get the glossy screen (trulife or whatever they call it). I do like this one pretty well though, in spite of those things.

X
06-29-06, 05:01 PM
That's about what I was seeing when I did a search. The Latitudes are maybe more sturdy and that's why they're found in the business section.

Sound and video isn't much of a concern and I'm recommending against the trulife/trubrite/whatever screen due to glare. Battery life is a big concern.

4KRG
06-29-06, 11:30 PM
Quality wise there are almost no differences between the two, when you are comparing similar units. What I mean by that is don't compare the lowest end inspiron to the highest end latitude.

I would also say that the inspiron has an entry level machine below the quality level the latitude starts at, in other words, don't buy the lowest end inspiron, but moving up from that you should be fine.

In many cases the inspiron and the latitude share the same exact motherboard and other components.

What makes the latitude a "business series" laptop, is the life cycle of components that doesn't change as frequently as the inspiron. I also think that some latitude models have better cooling.

If I buy a latitude today and build a corporate image for it, that same image will work fine on the same model latitude machine I buy in 6 months. The inspirons tend to vary hardware often, even if you order two of the same on the same day they could have slightly different parts on the inside.

I own an inspiron as one of my personal machines.

X
06-30-06, 01:41 AM
Thanks for the info!

I'm finding that I can't configure a Dell for anywhere near what I can pick up a Toshiba notebook for with fairly equivalent features. I don't need a dual core machine and I'm thinking it's probably not worth about a 50% premium for a moderately equiped Dell.

Kumar J
06-30-06, 02:55 AM
You should check out the Dell Outlet.There are very good deals there.Most of the machines are in perfect condition and they ship right away.Check every hour if you have to because they change the inventory all the time.Si you want top of the line then go for the XPS.The Latitudes are a bit boring side on the designs.But they have better built to it. If you want a computer to heavy on workload then chose a Latitude.If you going for just personel and entertainment.Then go for the Inspirons. Toshiba's are really very good if you get the Tecra series.

AGuyNamedMike
06-30-06, 09:16 AM
Yep, it's the old business versus consumer line issue. I have found that business line devices have lower failure rates, have sturdier housings, and are easier to manage in a corporate setting. In recent years the MBTF difference has declined, especially as manufacturers start to use the same components in both lines to cut costs. If it's a personal use device, get the feature set you want regardless of line. For institutions, the business line continues to make more sense.

Dave99
06-30-06, 11:42 AM
I've been impressed with the battery on mine, I've gotten 4+ hours on random email/web/office use, with the 9 cell battery. I have the dual core 2.0, gig of ram, 7200 rpm drive, bluetooth and quadro 120 video card, so I'd imagine if you go with the slower single core & integrated video you could get even better.
That's about what I was seeing when I did a search. The Latitudes are maybe more sturdy and that's why they're found in the business section.

Sound and video isn't much of a concern and I'm recommending against the trulife/trubrite/whatever screen due to glare. Battery life is a big concern.

4KRG
06-30-06, 12:46 PM
X - Toshiba can be scary :) Make sure you get the 3 year warranty on it and you will be fine if you can tolerate the down time. I have a major toshiba repair center a 20 minute drive from me and they have same day turn around, so I have no problems going there to save a buck.

The tecra series is a cut above in quality, toshiba does not share major components accross the platforms like Dell does.

X
06-30-06, 01:00 PM
That's good to know about the warranty. The one I'm looking at has a 1 year and it can be extended to 3 for a fairly reasonable cost.

Jason
06-30-06, 05:17 PM
We ordered an Inspiron 6400 for a new faculty member who specifically requested it. We usually order Latitudes. It came in, and died within a week. They sent out someone to replace the motherboard (who told us the problem was a bad battery) and it died again that afternoon. I received the replacement just as I was getting ready to leave for the holiday, so I'll have to wait till next week to see if this one craps out too.

From what I've heard, the internals in the Inspirons are whatever they can get the cheapest, while the Latitudes use only specifically tested hardware.

I wasn't overly impressed with it. I did like the glossy screen (I think I'm pretty much alone in that) but the machine was too clunky. It looked like a dog turd when it was sitting next to my boss's new Macbook Pro.

4KRG
07-01-06, 09:28 AM
X - how does this price compare to what you are seeing?

4.67lb Dell Latitude D610 Notebook $899 shipped free (there is tax from the SB site)

Latitude D610 Pentium M 740 1GB/60GB, CD, 802.11g, Case, 3yr warranty for $899 after $428 off Coupon Code: $JBG?Q2H068T3K Exp Soon - Free shipping.


http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?cs=04&kc=6vaff&oc=d610aff&x=8&y=6

X
07-01-06, 02:43 PM
This is the best Dell deal I've seen but it's still more expensive than the Toshiba I'm looking at.

http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/pdet.to?poid=325273&coid=-30596&seg=HHO

The Dell has a slightly faster processor and 1GB RAM. The Toshiba has 512MB RAM, same size hard drive, bigger screen, dual-layer DVD burner, some more features such as media card reader, and costs $650 at Office Depot (after $200 rebate) through today.

http://www.officedepot.com/textSearch.do?uniqueSearchFlag=true&Ntt=433347&x=0&y=0

The additional 2 years of warranty would add $134, still putting it under $800. The Toshiba also comes with a free photo printer and some other junk.

4KRG
07-01-06, 03:55 PM
IMO for rougly $130 extra (unless I missed something) - I would buy the Dell D610 - but I am biased towards Dell, over the last 5 years they have managed to make my day to day life much easier.

No rebate to mess with is just an extra bonus

The D610 is quality step up from the Toshiba you linked to

The slightly faster processor probably won't be noticed, but I would bet the motherboard design on the D610 allows for overall faster throughput that would be noticed. We all know processor speed is only so important for most office apps.

The 1gb of ram (extra 512) is worth what? about $30 these days retail? - I would add to the Toshiba anyway.

The better dvd burner is worth about $70 maybe? Dual Layer disks are still not cheap enough for me :)

The bigger screen value is 100% your personal opinon on value, some people would give their left nut for a bigger screen, others don't care and my opinon doesn't matter. :D

Since my local Toshiba repair is about the best I have ever seen, the warranties between the two are 100% interchangeable for me, not sure how it is where you live. I know many of both companies repair techs here by first name, both are good.

The D610 will have a more solid feel to it as well. and can you really ever forgive Toshiba for selling secrets to the Russians? :) ;)

X
07-01-06, 04:45 PM
I might be confused but the Dell appears to not come with any DVD burner (or reader) or even a CD burner at the $899 price. A DVD burner adds $119 and that is a requirement.

This isn't for me or I would prefer the smaller screen in order to get a smaller notebook. I don't want to travel with a huge machine and about the only time I use a notebook is when I have to take it somewhere. The people this is for will like the larger screen and it is to used as a second notebook at home, it will not travel often.

Since I was having a hard time finding a Dell priced well enough with decent features, even with a 35% off coupon, I talked to them about going cheap for a while and getting something new in a couple of years. At the $650 price they figured they could replace their existing notebook (an old IBM P3) and get two of the Toshibas. The cost of two of them was pretty close to what I was finding for a Dell with an onsite warranty. (I ended up with $1117 for the model you suggested with a DVD burner and 3 year onsite warranty.)

They didn't want to be without the new computer so an onsite Dell warranty was going to have to be purchased, adding considerably to the cost. And then they figured if they had two new ones one would probably always be working and if they're unhappy with the battery life a second battery could be shared between the two notebooks. The Toshiba service center is about 5 miles away so that's not a problem. An AmEx card doubles the one year warranty so I'm thinking we might just see how they do over the first year before deciding on getting what would essentially be just a third year of warranty.

Due to IBM's sale to the Chinese I lost my favorite laptop and have decided to end my boycott of Toshiba. It served its purpose for a long time and I was running out of alternatives. BTW, now even the North Koreans have quiet propulsion in their diesel subs thanks to the Russians passing on the technology.

I do appreciate your help and had the two notebook issue not come up we might have gone with the Dell you suggested.

4KRG
07-01-06, 05:43 PM
Sounds good. I can never tell what is important to people until specifics start coming up :)

I think you will be fine with the Toshibas as long as you back up (same with the Dell) data and have the warranty for the useful life of the machine. A slightly faster motherboard is NOT worth $400 :)

Seeker
07-01-06, 05:45 PM
Thanks for the info!

I'm finding that I can't configure a Dell for anywhere near what I can pick up a Toshiba notebook for with fairly equivalent features. I don't need a dual core machine and I'm thinking it's probably not worth about a 50% premium for a moderately equiped Dell.

I recently bought my wife a Dell Inspiron 6000, but I'm a big Toshiba notebook fan - all of my notebooks up until this current purchase were Toshiba's and I've been very happy with them (still have one) --- and the resale has been decent on old Toshiba's on ebay.

Seeker
07-01-06, 05:48 PM
Due to IBM's sale to the Chinese I lost my favorite laptop and have decided to end my boycott of Toshiba. It served its purpose for a long time and I was running out of alternatives.

Maybe this means you have to buy American, but I recently bought 2 Lenovo X60s units for clients and they LOVE them. I still have been a Toshiba/Dell person myself, but these little Lenovo's (although expensive) seem really nice, small and lightweight.

BobDole42
07-02-06, 12:58 AM
I have a latitude from work. The biggest difference is that the Latitude's can be docked and the Inspirons cannot. My Latitude is docked in my office and connected to a Dell LCD, keyboard and mouse. It functions just like a desktop, except I can take it with me.