Small and Medium Business - Guide to Growth

Small and Medium Business - Guide to Growth
Join us as we explore ways to grow your business with technology--brought to you by Dell and Microsoft

Latitude vs. Inspiron vs. Precision

  • I am looking at buying a laptop for my small business but I am torn as to if I should buy a Inspiron or a Latitude. I will just need it for basic business purposes, but it has to have some power as I need it to run statistical software as well. I will be doing a lot of presentations, so connectivity is also a biggie as is it being able to survive me. I am a good owner, I take care of my equipment, but it gets used hard and I really need a laptop that will last me 5 years. That being said, I have an Inspiron now and it has survived me for 2 years and is still solid, though the wear from my hands is quite evident on the palm rests. I really like the Latitudes, but the price has me second guessing. I priced out two systems which were as equal as I could get them, with both serving my needs, and the Latitude was $400 more! Granted it has 2 more years on the warranty (which I really never use honestly) and a better video card, but neither of those things are that important to me. Are there other reasons to go for a Latitude that I am not aware of? What are some of the pluses and minuses? FWIW, this laptop will come with me everywhere I go for the next 5 years, it will not be one that just camps out on my desk. Thanks everyone! EDIT: I also am curious about the Precision notebooks? How do they differ from the Latitudes? I saw a brief blurb on the website but I don't understand why the price differences and if it would be worth it for me. I am willing to spend whatever it takes to get the laptop I need though, I just want to be able to justify the $400 or whatever it is.

    Message Edited by irish80122 on 04-05-2007 02:26 AM
  • My own understanding of Dell's marketing of the Latitude vs. Inspiron series is that the Latitude is a business product and the Inspiron is an end-user product designed for "higher end" technologies.  I think the latter part is where Dell's marketing gets befuddled.
    I've been upgrading the Latitude C6xx series for a few months and have noticed some basic issues.  For every Latitude there is an Inspiron with the same motherboard.  What's interesting is that each motherboard type has onboard video, so the real difference is in the physical package you purchase.  There are Inspirons with 15-inch displays, for example, and the Latitudes only have 14.1 inch (in the C6xx series).  I mention this because it generates a alot of confusion for the buyer.
    Typically, business people like the smaller/lighter packaging, and I think this is the principal difference between the two.  Every Inspiron I've encountered so far, when compared to its Latitude cousin, is heavier/bigger/bulkier.  I've started looking at the D series laptops and see the same marketing patterns.
    Typically business people like the bigger display, but this can easily be offset using the external SVGA connector and using an external bigger LCD panel when in conference.  So in this situation the Latitude is better, because it is more portable and yet has the same potential has the Inspiron.  Doubtless someone from Dell may elucidate further with some exceptions, and that would be helpful.
    The best thing you can do is to ensure you have the fastest CPU and highest-capacity memory in your purchased system.  Often people buy these laptops and then realize months later they could get a faster CPU or larger SODIMM.  The Latitude C610 motherboard, for example, can take up to a 1.2 GHz CPU and 2 512MB SODIMMs, and I am sure alot of people bought these systems new with less than 1GHz and 256MB.  The SODIMM sizes are also mixable.
    Another consideration is whether you are getting Vista or want a Vista capable system.  Vista wants to see a minimum of 128MB of Video memory cache in your system for full graphical functionailty, and this is not possible on the C6xx series, but is on the D610 and above using an entry in CMOS to allocate CPU memory to video (I think it is 64MB possible), meaning if your onboard video already has 64MB you have the full requirement.  Video memory cache should always be a consideration for business users when deciding on a system.
    Good luck.
  • Thank you for your help so far, I appreciate it.  The inner specs are one of my concerns, so I am very thankful for the second response.  Since I don't think I will use the warranty (usually you know within a year if something is going to work or not) right now it sounds like the best option is to get an Inspiron and just get $400 in upgrades to it.  I am going to be traveling with it, but I don't mind the Inspiron's bulk...I have a Inspiron 6000 now and I am used to it.  I wish my case didn't show as much wear as it does, but that may happen with the Latitudes as well, and it still works fine which is my main concern.
    Other than a more solid build (though the Inspiron's are pretty good as well) why go for a Latitude if you were me?  I still am leaning that way just because I do plan on keeping it for a while but I still have a lot of questions.  For instance, Dell says that Inspiron's are made to have the best technology but the Latitudes are made for longer life-spans.  Wouldn't my Inspiron with $400 in upgrades over the base Latitude have a longer lifespan because it has better components?  I just don't get it yet.
  • Irish80122,
    I think a main difference between Latitudes and Inspirons is that Dell tries to keep the Latitude models available longer so that businesses don't have to constantly change the platform which creates additional headaches for IT staff.

    If it were my money I would go with the Latitude. Here in our office which has about 180 users we only use the business series (Latitude, Etc.) laptops. If you want something somewhat thin and extremely powerful go with the D620. This laptop measures 13 X 9.5 X 1.25. This is what I got using a ruler just now (may be slightly off). Ours cost in the high $1000s with the docking station and monitor stand but no monitor. That includes the Core 2 Duo 2.16GHz, 2GB RAM, The best screen possible (wide screen LCD WXGA+), 256MB, 7200RPM 60GB HD, nVidia Quadro NVS 110M, CD-RW/DVD Combo, and an Extra 9 Cell battery, and 3 Year NBD warranty with complete care. These machine are pretty durable but not as durable as say a Panasonic ToughBook.

    They can be loaded with 64-Bit XP if you know how to reinstall your OS. Our most demanding users use the 64-Bit setup to run Stata 9.0SE (64-Bit), GAUSS (32-Bit), Matlab (32-Bit still). Since the Stata SE is 64-Bit you see a huge improvement in speed (around 20-40%) from our tests versus a D600 which is not a DC and is not 64-Bit.

    On the difference of $400, that is close to what the difference of two years NBD and complete care cost. I think you might be able to drop it down if you really don't want it.

    I hope this helps you out.


    Message Edited by CoMpUtErGoD20XX on 04-06-2007 12:11 PM
  • We're Sorry

    The page you requested may no longer exist on


    This is EXACTLY the kind of answer I've been searching for ... Given today's (Fall 2009) economic situation - We're trying to recycle Laptops by refurbishing them in-house for re-distribution.  I wanted something CLEAR from Dell that mapped out the hierarchy of models (preferably with some specifics about each product).  So far I have concluded that DELL HAS SCREWED themselves (and customers) by having WAAAAAY too many models.  You guys are looking like Apple in the early 90's !!!  So many models & options, no one knows what's what!