Dell is focusing on the education segment in its latest introduction of ruggedized notebooks for the classrooms. The newly introduced Latitude 13 Education Series brings the best of the Latitude brand in an affordable, durable package that’s fit for schools and everyday handling from students. While durability and ruggedness is a core focus of the new Latitude 13 Education Series notebooks, these systems are still attractive and elegantly designed to be used everyday.
These notebooks are part of Dell’s initiatives to help foster collaboration and learning. As a result, one of the hallmark features of the Latitude 13 Education is that the screen uses a barrel hinge, allowing the display to fold down flat to the table in a 180-degree configuration (the actual angle is actually slightly more than 180 degrees) with the keyboard portion. This allows students to fold down the display to collaborate with teachers and classmates.
Additionally, the laptops feature a full keyboard that’s spill resistant. Both the trackpad and the keyboard are sealed and the keyboard offers a comfortable island-style key arrangement. The only downside is that the design doesn’t allow Dell to add backlighting to the keyboard, which could help with typing in darker environments.
Dell says that the laptops are tested to military standards and the colored edges of the laptop are encased in a rubberized material to help shielf the Dell Latitude 13 Education series from drops and bumps.
Additionally, the laptop display uses a Corning Gorilla Glass NBT for added durability. According to Dell, rather than trying to crank up the brightness of the display, like its competitors, the Dell Latitude 13 Education Series focuses on reducing reflectivity with the screen. This will allow the display to feel and look brighter, even with bright sunlight, while still being more battery efficient so the laptops don’t need to be charged as frequently.
The rugged factor will overall be a cost-effective investment for schools and districts as the laptops will last longer and IT administrators will have to spend less time trying to troubleshoot the systems.
The Latitude 13 Education Series will come with powerful processors and can run Windows 8 on either configurations with or without touchscreen panels. Additionally a light-up strip on the rear of the laptop will allow educators to know at a glance if students are connected to the WiFi network when they should be. This will allow teachers to quickly tell if a student who isn’t supposed to be connected to the Internet is actually using WiFi.
For managed mobility, Dell is also offering classrooms the option to purchase a $4,000 Mobile Computing Cart, which can store up to 30 notebooks in trays inside a locking cabinet on wheels. Once they’re loaded into the tray and plugged into the Ethernet and power cables, the cart will allow school IT administrators to run updates and perform testing every night on all compatible laptops. Additionally, teachers will be assured that the laptops are stored securely and are charging, ready to be used the next day.
And though the Dell Mobility Computing Cart will auto-update the Dell Latitude 13 Education notebooks, they can work with notebooks with display sizes between 10 and 14 inches. Dell says that it can be used also to store and power notebooks from other manufacturers as well, and optional sleeves for other systems will allow IT administrators to also run updates nightly on those systems while they’re plugged into the cart.
According to Dell, the Latitude 13 Education Series starts at $539. The rubberized edges are available in black, blue, or red.