Review Dell Latitude 6430u Slim Ultrabook

Review Dell Latitude 6430u Slim Ultrabook - The Dell Latitude 6430u is the slim Ultrabook cousin to the Dell Latitude E series 14" business notebook. Despite its business roots, this is a very stylish looking laptop that looks slimmer than it is at 0.82" thanks to a side-tapered design that reminds us of Samsung Series 9 Ultrabooks. The Latitude 6430U has a 14" display and Intel Core ULV CPUs just like its Ultrabook brethren, but it weighs 3.7 pounds rather than the usual 3 pounds for an Ultrabook. That said, it's still significantly lighter than most standard 14" notebooks on the market.

Design and Ergonomics

The machine has a magnesium frame and a metal casing with Dell's soft touch black finish that's understated yet very attractive. A metal trim ring saves it from dark visual monotony and the Dell logo on the lid is a bit more sedate than on the XPS series. It has a superb backlit island style keyboard with both an Alps trackpad and an eraser stick pointer reminiscent of ThinkPads, compete with dual mouse buttons (a set above the trackpad for the pointer and a set below for the trackpad). Dell says the Latitude 6430u has passed 16 mil spec tests (though they didn't provide us a list of actual tests passed) and it feels very solid and durable. The Latitude has a spill-resistant keyboard and an LCD seal around the display.

Performance and Configurations

You can order the Ultrabook with Intel Core i3-3217U, i5-3427U and i7-3667U CPUs, all third generation Ivy Bridge and there's Intel vPro. All models use SSD drives, and our 128 gig SSD has the fast Samsung PM830 model. The base Core i3 with 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a 64 gig SSD is $899. Our test unit with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3427U CPU, 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a 128 gig SSD and an external modular eSATA DVD burner sells for $1,265. You can order it with dual band Dell WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n, or move up to Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 or Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 dual band WiFi with WiDi wireless display. It has Dell Bluetooth 4.0 LE and a mediocre 1MP webcam. The Latitude 6430u is available only with Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. The machine is available with up to 16 gigs of RAM, which is more than enough for a machine with a ULV CPU that's capable of productivity, software development and light gaming.

Review Dell Latitude 6430u Slim Ultrabook -

An Ultrabook with Upgradable Parts

Ultrabooks tend to be sealed affairs where even the battery isn't removable. No so with the Dell, and we're sure IT shops will love the Latitude 6430u. Not only is the battery removable (slide a latch to remove it), but just two Phillips head screws stand between you and the internals. Remove the bottom plate and you have access to two standard DDR3 SODIMM RAM slots (1600MHz RAM modules are standard), the mSATA SSD, half height wireless card and a full height mini PCIe slot for the optional 3G HSPA+ or 4G LTE wireless module. Note that there's no room to retrofit a conventional spinning 2.5 hard drive.


We like most everything about the Latitude 6430u except the display. It's an average 1366 x 768 WLED backlit TN panel with passable viewing angles, not great contrast and just OK color gamut (56% of Adobe sRGB). Colors will suit business users well enough but graphics professionals should look elsewhere unless you plan to plug into an external monitor using the full size VGA or HDMI ports. Dell offers a 1600 x 900 resolution option, though we had to use the Enterprise section of their website to find that option. On the plus side, this is a matte display so glare isn't a problem. That's a good thing because with 200 nits of brightness, the Latitude can't combat bright light and glare would further reduce viewability. This is NOT a touch screen, and that can make using Windows 8's Metro UI a bit tedious, though the trackpad handles gestures well. For those of you who order the machine with Windows 7 or plan to spend all your time in the desktop UI portion of Windows 8, this isn't a deal breaker.

Battery Life

The machine is available with a 36WH 3 cell or 6 cell battery. We have the 6 cell 60 WH that integrates perfectly into the laptop's flowing lines, and it managed 6.5 to 7 hours on a charge with average business and productivity use with display brightness set to a barely usable 50%.

The machine comes with a 65W standard notebook style compact brick charger and the machine supports quick charging. In just an hour the laptop charged up to 80% from 15%. Handy if you have a short break between flights at the airport.

Review Dell Latitude 6430u Slim Ultrabook -

Operating System Options and Standard Ports

The Dell Latitude 6430u is available with Windows 7, Windows 8 or Ubuntu. It has two USB 3.0 ports with sleep-and-charge, decent stereo speakers, 3.5mm audio out, built in mics for the webcam, an eSATA port and full size VGA, HDMI ports and a full size SD card slot. It has built in gigabit Ethernet, a must-have for a business notebook.


The Dell Latitude 6430u is a business Ultrabook that's good enough looking for executives yet durable enough to drag to off site sales calls month after month. It offers solid Ultrabook level performance with ULV Intel third generation CPUs and it's powerful enough for business tasks and downtime with HD movies and even some light gaming. It's not as thin and light as classic 3 pound Ultrabooks like Dell's own XPS 13, but it is significantly lighter than the Dell XPS 14. We won't complain because the added weight and well-hidden thickness get you a laptop with a swappable battery and easily accessible internals. If the display wasn’t so downright bleh, we’d give it a significantly higher star rating.

Price: $899- $1,500


  • Display: 14", 1366 x 768 TN WLED backlit display. 1600 x 900 optional for approximately $50 more. Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics. HDMI and VGA ports.
  • Battery: Lithium Ion rechargeable, battery is removable. 3 and 6 cell batteries available.
  • Performance: Third generation Intel Ivy Bridge ULV CPUs. Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 models available up to i7-3667U. 4 to 16 gigs of RAM, has two DDR3 SODIMM RAM slots. Dual channel, 1600MHz.
  • Size: 13.31 x 9.04 x 0.82 inches. Weight: 3.7 pounds with 3 cell battery.
  • Camera: 1.0MP webcam with built-in mic.
  • Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.
  • Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE and Gigabit Ethernet. Available with Dell and Intel WiFi options, Intel WiFi has WiDi wireless display. 3G and 4G LTE optional.
  • Software: Windows 7, Windows 8 and Ubuntu available.
  • Expansion and Ports: Two USB 3.0 ports with charging, 1 combo USB/eSATA port, HDMI, VGA, RJ45 Ethernet, 3.5mm combo audio and 1 SD card slot.

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