Dell refreshes business laptops, desktops with Ivy Bridge, consumer-inspired designs

Intel‘s new Ivy Bridge processors have come to Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL), and the PC vendor has taken the opportunity to refresh its Latitude and Optiplex lines of business laptops and desktops with new consumer-inspired designs and productivity improvements.

The third generation Intel processors are bolstered by Intel vPro management on select models, as well as USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 4.0, hard drive shock protection, improved battery life and discrete graphics.

Chris Cartwright, small business notebook brand manager with Dell Canada, said discrete graphics are becoming more important even to business users, so Dell included the option in its Latitude refresh. It also put a lot of emphasis on design, offering a metallic blue finish and brushed metal rather than the usual plain back.

“The great thing about these Latitudes is everything kind of works well together. Batteries, docking station, everything,” said Cartwright. “The battery for the 15” will work for the 14”, so it makes it easier for the IT guy ordering back-up parts.”

Dell’s revamped Latitude line includes the E5430, a new design intended to be more portable as a lightweight model with a 14” display. The E6230, E6330, E4430 and E6530 have 12.5”, 13.3”, 14” and 15.6” displays respectively and promise improved battery life and an improved wireless antenna. The 14” E5430 and 15.6” E5530 are designed as more budget-friendly offerings, while the E6430 ATG is a ruggedized 14” model.

The bring your own device (BYOD) trend isn’t drawing a lot of attention from the business that Dell speaks with, said Cartwright. While the trend is certainly out there, he sees the buying decision still largely resting with the business. Still, he said Dell looked to address it in its Latitude by marrying discrete graphics and more attractive designs that consumers like with the management tools and security that the business looks for.

“The Latitude has gone from black to metallic blue, a backlit keyboard, a better discrete graphics card, Bluetooth, and the design has changed drastically from two-generations prior,” said Cartwright.

On the desktop side, Dell has also refreshed its Optiplex line of business desktops, which are still a popular choice for use cases where data security is important, said Cartwright. One form factor that’s gaining traction is the all-in-one desktop, he added.

“The monitor takes up less space, it can be mounted, and there’s touch capability,” said Cartwright. “With smaller cubes, it doesn’t take up as much space.”

The new Optiplex 9010 all-in-one offers Vesa mounting, an integrated power supply and an optional wireless keyboard and mouse. It and the other new models also include Ivy Bridge processors, wireless connectivity options, microphone and headset mini-jacks for VoIP, and support for up to three digital native monitors.

Availability and pricing on the new units is not currently available.

Follow Jeff Jedras on Twitter: @JeffJedrasCDN.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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