Kicking the tyres of the Dell Latitude Z

For the past few months, I’ve been using a new laptop computer on my travels and when working away from the desktop computer in my home office.

The new laptop is a Dell Latitude Z and comes courtesy of Dell as part of a promotional programme they’re running called Latitude Z Global Ambassadors.

The Ambassadors are ten people around the world who have agreed to use the machine and talk about it and say what they think of it. I’m one of those ten. (You can connect collectively to some of the Ambassadors with Dell’s Latitude Z Ambassadors list on Twitter.)

Dell launched the Latitude Z last September so it’s been available in many markets for over six months now. It’s clearly positioned at the premium end of the laptop market – in the UK, pricing starts at around £1,400 including VAT and can rapidly take you towards £3,000 if you configure it with some of the really exciting features such as wireless power charging and face recognition security via the built-in webcam, or just load up on all the options.

The model I have is the Z600 with nearly all the bells and whistles including wireless charging and webcam security. It comes with Windows 7 Professional.

As I’ve been using the Z for a few months (and, btw, I pronounce it as the American ‘zee’ rather than the Brit ‘zed’), I’ve formed some impressions which will come in posts in the coming weeks in which I’ll focus on specific aspects of the machine, its form and its function.

There’s one particular thing about the Z600 that stands out hugely for me and I want to mention it rightaway – the keyboard. This is the best keyboard I’ve used on any laptop. Better, even, than the excellent keyboard on my trusty but now totally obsolete IBM ThinkPad T30 which I doubted would ever be beaten for usability pleasure. Heh, there’s a technical term :)

The Z600 keyboard has keys that are well spaced apart, perfect for a clumsy typist like me with clunky fingers who’s forever hitting the wrong keys on any keyboard. I do that far less on the Z600.

Then there’s the coolest keyboard feature of all – the keyboard is backlit and the characters on each key also illuminate as the photo shows (click for larger version). This is so useful, not only in obvious low-light conditions (like on a plane at night) but also in an office or a Starbucks where bright ambient light can sometimes make you squint or peer at the keys. No more of that with the backlighting. Love it!

So, there’s my initial introduction to the Dell Latitude Z with a couple of immediate impressions.

More to come.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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