Dell Latitude E6220

Dell Latitude E6220

My Dell Lati­tu­de E6220 with a uni­que branding.

My back­up lap­top during the last two years has been an 11,6″ Acer note­book in a net­book size. “Back­up”, as in “a second com­pu­ter that works when machi­ne no.1 does­n’t and else works as a log­book for ama­teur (ham) radio and other expe­ri­ments”. Armed with an 1,5 GHz Intel Pen­ti­um 987 CPU, 8 GB of RAM and an SSD, it scored okayish on Geek­bench and also has a very por­ta­ble power sup­ply (which in my mind is one of the most important aspects of mobi­le com­pu­ting). The Acer, howe­ver, lacks VT‑x, which pre­ven­ted Vir­tu­al­box from run­ning pro­per­ly. And the iro­ny is that I also have an iden­ti­cal Acer Chrome­book C710 with a part­ly bro­ken screen that I had bought for spa­re parts and mana­ged to res­to­re — which has a Cele­ron 847 CPU and thus an enab­led VT‑x.

Dell Latitude E6220, Dell Latitude E5450, Acer Aspire One 756, Acer Chromebook C710

Dell Lati­tu­de E6220, Dell Lati­tu­de E5450, Acer Aspi­re One 756, Acer Chrome­book C710

Note­books in such net­book size are gre­at, but they often come with hor­ri­ble key­boards. The key­board and the dis­play seem to be the most important inter­faces bet­ween the com­pu­ter and a human, and as such mat­ter more to me than things like bat­te­ry run­ti­me or a fan­cy size. And while I have come to appre­cia­te the luxu­ry of an IPS dis­play on a lap­top, the key­board is still a bit more important.

Dell Latitude E6220, Dell Latitude E5450, Acer Aspire One 756, Acer Chromebook C710

Dell Lati­tu­de E6220, Dell Lati­tu­de E5450, Acer Aspi­re One 756, Acer Chrome­book C710

The other day I atten­ded a flea mar­ket for ham gear and saw some refur­bis­hed Dell Lati­tu­de E6220 lap­tops. The­se are 12,5″ 2nd gen. i3/i5/i7 CPU with average TN dis­plays but the same — illu­mi­na­ted — key­board that also fits the 13″ and 14″ ver­si­ons of this lap­top genera­ti­on (E6330 and E6430). Being a pre­vious owner of a very nice E6430, I was instant­ly hoo­ked — also sin­ce my main machi­ne is a Dell Lati­tu­de E5450 on a Dell docking sta­ti­on and a 24″ IPS dis­play, so in case of emer­gen­cy, a back­up is just a mat­ter of plug and play on the docking station.

I mana­ged to find a very cheap offer from the UK and recei­ved my E6220 in such a bril­li­ant con­di­ti­on (for a used item!) that I am still won­de­ring why it was so cheap. It only has the i3 CPU, so may­be tha­t’s why, but this 2nd gen i3 is still bet­ter than the Pen­ti­um 987 on the Acer. And the key­board is a joy to type on! When you’­re a Dell fan boy like me, an older lap­top from 2012 may still fasci­na­te with its build qua­li­ty and per­for­mance, espe­cial­ly when you have come to dis­li­ke the “Vaio”-style of modern plastic lap­tops. The Acer 756 is still ok in this regard (top cover, main­board, bot­tom shell, bot­tom cover), but even modern Think­Pads mean­while come with a top cover that has all fur­ther parts screwed against it. The Ultra­book design approach is ok for Ultra­books and MBAirs, but I still pre­fer a midd­le frame. Which is also a rea­son for the Dell E54xx seri­es over the (else bet­ter) E74xx seri­es. My E5450 has ever­ything I ever wan­ted in a lap­top, I would buy it again any time, and I would pro­bab­ly only replace it with an E5470.

So why this step back­wards to a Dell Lati­tu­de E6220 with a bul­ky 6‑cell bat­te­ry and thick power cord, if ins­tead I alrea­dy own two (!) 11,6″ lap­tops? Is it love? I guess so. When I first saw the E6220 and even while orde­ring it on eBay, I was afraid that it would be like my old HP tc4400: a bul­ky tablet lap­top that I did­n’t real­ly need. But I was pro­ven wrong: the bet­ter CPU, a simi­lar weight, a lon­ger bat­te­ry run­ti­me than on the Acer, a big­ger screen with an opti­on to add the IPS panel from a Leno­vo X220, an impro­ved build qua­li­ty and avail­ab­le spa­re parts for the next 10 years or so, dedi­ca­ted but­tons for volu­me con­trol, a metal frame, VGA and HDMI like on the Acer, 3xUSB 2.0 and two 3.0 ports on the Expres­s­Card slot, an illu­mi­na­ted key­board  – all of the­se fac­tors speak for the purcha­se of the E6220. And the opti­on of reu­sing the afo­re­men­tio­ned 8 GB of RAM and the SSD on the E6220 also add value (vs. buy­ing a more recent 12″ Dell lap­top that only accepts mSa­ta SSDs).

Dell Latitude E6220, Dell Latitude E5450, Acer Aspire One 756, Acer Chromebook C710 on top of each other

The Lap­top Stack: the 6cell bat­te­ry on the E6220 loo­ks stupid. 

I can only recom­mend buy­ing refur­bis­hed busi­ness lap­tops. Go and get a Dell if you don’t have other pre­fe­ren­ces. They are my choice the­se days (vs. Leno­vo & HP). I paid less than 100 EUR on this Dell E6220 which imo beats any plastic con­su­mer ware at your local elec­tro­nics equip­ment mar­ket. Win10 included.

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