Hands-On With Dell Latitude Z: Laptop For Cord Haters

Someone at Dell must have tripped over some wires and after cleaning up the bloody gash came up with the $US2000 anti-cord Latitude Z. Packed with new tech, the notebook has wireless charging and wireless USB.

Like we had heard, Dell made the Latitude Z for the suit wearing, briefcase toting, conference room type. The .57-inch thin and 4.5 pound laptop may make it the lightest and thinnest 16-inch notebook ever, but it is still more of a laptop to carry from room to room than put on a tray table. The design itself is a lot nicer than the typical business notebook, though. The soft-touch lid feels nice and the back of the magnesium alloy chassis has angled chrome plated hinges.

That is nice, but not having to plug the Z into the wall to charge is way nicer. Similar to the Palm Pre but on a much bigger scale, the Z has power coils built-in to the base of the notebook and works with a magnetic inductive charging stand to charge wirelessly. The dock (which adds an extra $US200 to the price) plugs into the wall and when you put the notebook on top of it automatically starts charging. Apparently it takes the same amount of time to recharge as a normal notebook power cord. For the first notebook to ever have inductive wireless charging, I'll take it.

The love for no cords doesn't stop there. You can also buy the $US200 wireless dock and hook up all your peripherals (printer, monitor, mouse, etc.) to it rather than to the computer. It then communicates with the notebook itself which has Ultra Wide Band technology built-in so there is no need to add an extra dongle.

Beyond the love of wireless, there are a few other things that make the Z different from your average laptop. It has Dell's Latitude-On which gives you access to email and a browser before actually booting into Windows. Lots of laptops have this pre-boot environment now (like the HP Envy 13 and Lenovo S10-2), however, the difference here is that it runs on a different processor. In addition to a Intel ULV processor, the Z has an ARM processor which will boot up the instant-on mode faster and increase battery life. Frankly, I don't always see the point in these pre-boot environments when you can just wait a few extra minutes to get into Windows but my guess is some find it useful.

And because it seems like every notebook has to have some form of touch capability now, the Z has what Dell calls EdgeTouch. The right screen bezel has an LCD sensor that when tapped brings up shortcuts. Not sure how much the average person will end up using this thing but it is a neat trick.

That guy that tripped over the wires probably has some sort of unfortunate looking scar, but at least we have the Latitude Z. Sure it will cost you a pretty penny when you add in all the wireless doodads, but it is chock-full of some kick arse tech. [Dell]

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