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Hardware Thread, Dell Latitude D520 - Any good? in Technical; In the normal fashion of Mushroom Management, as I was leaving tonight I was handed a copy of an email ...
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    Irazmus's Avatar
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    Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    In the normal fashion of Mushroom Management, as I was leaving tonight I was handed a copy of an email from CSD - SLAMNet (first line LEA IT support) regarding 'laptop computers at a greatly discounted price'. As our current staff laptops are due for replacement this year, money has been allocated and SMT want to know whether we should go for these, and if so which, and they want to know tomorrow as they will have to be ordered by the end of the week >_<

    There are two specs on offer:
    #1 £655
    Dell Latitude D520
    Intel Core Duo T2300 (1.66GHz 667FSB 2MB L2 Cache)
    512 MB RAM
    40GB HDD
    CD-RW/DVD
    Office 2K3 Pro
    I'd assume XP but it doesn't say if Home or Pro
    Dell 3Yr onsite warranty (I'm assuming NBD)

    #2 £555
    Dell Latitude D520
    Intel Celeron M 420 (1.60GHz 553FSB 1MB L2 Cache)
    512 MB RAM
    40GB HDD
    CD-RW/DVD
    Office 2K3 Pro
    I'd assume XP but it doesn't say if Home or Pro
    Dell 3Yr onsite warranty (I'm assuming NBD)

    These laptops will never be given to kids, they'll be staff use only, mainly running MS office and the occasional DVD (Teachers will not be given access to SIMS).

    So, what I need to know is, how good are these laptops? Has anyone got any and what are your impressions? What's the build quality like? How good is the wireless? Can we get something better for the same price?

    I'd also be interested to hear from anyone else who's recieved this email, and to know if you intend to follow this up.

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    Any idea if you're quoting prices ex or including VAT? There's plenty of value to be had around the £500 mark, even including VAT. Throw in an Office VLK license for £60 and you're laughing... Probably won't beat the onsite warranty though.

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    There's no mention of VAT in the email so your guess is as good as mine.

    The 3Yr onsite warranty has me leaning towards saying yes, the curriculum laptops we got last year only had a 1Yr RTB warranty, the school will be regretting that soon as the screens are cracking at the hinges, but it was before my time here so we'll just have to deal with it.

    We're currently covered by an MS Schools Agreement so an office licence per machine isn't vital, but would be useful if we decide to drop the Schools Agreement in favour of an Open or Select licence, which is one of the things I'm currently investigating.

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    @Raz
    Go for option #1. You want to futureproof it as much possible.
    Are you seriously going to try to run Vista on a Celeron!!!!

    I'm guessing it's still Centrino even though it's a dual core mother.

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    If #1 is ex VAT then I seriously suggest you speak to your local Dell rep.

    I got similar for cheaper than that (a large order and considerable negotiation ... and they threw in bluetooth as well) even after adding on the office licence (speak to Ramesys and Pugh for latest deals and freebies).

    The machines are very good ... good enough to run most things (except serious games) and we had *no* DOAs from the 97 we have had so far ... a record for us with any laptop roll out.

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    @NetworkGeezer: Am I seriously going to run Vista anytime soon? Hell no. But I agree, we should always be thinking of future developments so the higher spec is the preferable choice, and even with the higher spec we should still be in budget (well depending on the cost of the new Mac, but that's for another post).

    @GrumbleDook: Cheers, that's what I was hoping. I'll probably call our local rep tomorrow to see if they'll do it cheaper, but it's only a small order compared to yours, ~20 units so I hold out little hope.

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    D520's are good. Using one now. I'm getting about 4hrs of real world use from the battery.

    NBD onsite rocks. Dual core is best.

    That price ....., it better include accidental damage theft cover and VAT.
    - if not *you* can do better.

    Don't forget that the latitude is the corporate model. If you want another 20 in a years time they can supply exactly the same machine. More importantly if one is broken/stolen and needs to be replaced you don't have worry about getting one 'odd' laptop - it will be able to use the same ris/ghost/whatever image!

    They are also compatable with all D series docking accessories (from 2002-2008ish).

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    Well, I've contacted SLAMNet and that price is excluding VAT, I've tried Dell once this morning but only got voicemail >_< I'm about to try again. I'll let you know ...

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    Well it seems I can't get it cheaper, the lowest Dell would go (even without Office) was £660 Excl VAT. Either the quantities were too small or my negotiating skills are carp. If I had the time I'd try a couple of resellers, but we need a decision today so I think we're pretty much stuffed on that one >_<

    Thanks for the advice anyway, even if they are overpriced, at least I know we won't be buying a box of lemons.

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    I sometimes find the build quality of dells to be....less than desirable for the price.

    Chris

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    @ChrisC: Don't tell me that, I want good news :P
    But even if they're not perfect, with a 3Yr warranty on them, we'll have some backup if things do go wrong.

    I hope ^^;

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    The hardware etc is good enough, and yea, with 3 years you should be ok.

    If there is anything causing pressure in laptop cases, they end up having the outline of the keyboard embossed into the screen,they just seem a little flimsey.

    This:
    http://edugeek.net/index.php?name=Fo...ewtopic&t=2895
    is also a little bit worrying....

    In terms of reliablilty etc they're good

    At the moment we're looking at going for acer travelmates for around £390 for similar spec.

    Chris

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    That sounds like most of the Mac laptops we have, they've got that screen feature now.

    Yikes, that is a little worrying, but if that happens to the Dells, at least they'll match the curriculum RM's ^^;

    Good reliability, that's what I'm after. They're going to teachers not pupils, so I'm sure they'll be looked after and no damage will be done. After all, none of our G4 Powerbooks look like someones taken a hammer to them, so I'm sure these will be fine too </sarcasm>

    £390 for similar spec, including 3Yr warranty? You wouldn't happen to have a link to that would you?

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    http://www.acernotebooks.co.uk/Acer_...aptops/cat.asp

    We're starting to use 2423WXMi, the only problem is that the smaller widescreen might not suit all staff, but they're compact, and feel very sturdy, and the screen casing doesn't seem to bend as much as the dells, haven't been running them long enough to give great feedback on long term reliability though...

    But make sure you get a battery with 6+ cells, seeing as only 6cell up have their 1 year battery warranty.

    yea, it's £375 with added 3year warranty (ex vat)

    Chris

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    Re: Dell Latitude D520 - Any good?

    Nice looking little machines, but if I'm looking at the right model, it's a Celeron-M, and as I expect these to run Vista someday, I'm not sure they'll take it very well (Judging by how my AMD 1800+ crawls running Vista).

    The battery life isn't remarkable but as they should mainly be used in school, that shouldn't be a great problem.

    It's certainly something to consider, as these would save ~6.5k over the Dells which I could certainly do with right now.

    So, do I go for the more futureproof Centrino Dell that will send me 3k overbudget, or the Celeron that'll keep me 3.5k under budget?

    Pity I only have until morning to decide. Oh well, I did ask for alternatives ^^;

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