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Review: PC in a tablet form factor

Zafar Anjum | Feb. 24, 2012
Dell touts its new tablet Dell Latitude ST as a tablet PC built for both mobile professionals and IT professionals that support the use of such a device.

Dell has been debuting tablets, like Dell Streak 5 and 7 since 2010 but hasn't been able to make a mark in the market.

The company quietly pulled out its Andorid-based device Dell Streak 7 sometime in mid-2011, and now they have come out with a Windows 7 device called Dell Latitude ST.

Dell touts the new device as a tablet PC built for both mobile professionals and the IT professionals that support the use of such a device.Dell L ST

When the tablet was launched in Singapore, it was said that the Latitude ST can be tailored to specific business or end-user needs with certified applications and professional services. The tablet is designed for use in enterprises and has provisioning, security and management features aimed at businesses.

Recently, I had the opportunity to test the tablet for a few days and this is how I found it.

It has a 10.1-inch screen and weighs 1.8 pounds (816 grammes). It felt a bit heavy in the hands but seems to be a rugged device with a rubberised bumper, anti-glare Corning Gorilla Glass screen and TPU overmold.

The tablet runs on Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system and features Intel's Atom Z670 processor with a clock speed of 1.5GHz, and has up to 128GB of storage.

The Latitude ST can also take the form of a consumer tablet and be used to surf the Web and check e-mail-though it was not always smooth sailing when I was surfing the Net on this tablet. In normal settings, its sound system is good enough for playing multimedia without needing sound amplifiers.

The tablet has 2GB of DDR2 RAM, wi-fi, an SD card reader and an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port. Optional items include a 3G chip for mobile broadband connectivity.

Officially it was said that the tablet offers seven hours of battery life. Between charges, if not heavily used, the tablet can run for a day.

Though Dell says the device has front and rear Web cams, embedded microphone, and Skype video conferencing facilities, I could not locate the cameras on the device. I have used and tested many tablets and could figure out their cameras intuitively (without reading the manual) but this one left me clueless.

The device also comes with a stylus for those who like to use such things. I am happy with the touch function.

The only irritating thing is that every time you need to type something, the virtual keyboard does not open up automatically. You have to call it. For example, when you call up a note, you have to call up the keyboard.


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