Dell's much-hyped Adamo—its high-style MacBook Air-rivalling laptop—failed to deliver on the technology side when it was released recently. That could be because Dell's really banking on its Latitude Z machine to be its high-style MacBook Air rival, as evidenced by its first hands-on review.
The guys at RegHardware recently got their mitts on the 16-inch machine, and at first glance it really does seem to match up to the Air's design: Brushed aluminum body, check; back-lit keyboard, check; skinny profile, check; tiny power brick, check; limited number of connector ports, check. This last may not be seen as a boon, but Dell hasn't gone as minimalist as Apple. The Latitude Z has an ethernet port, DisplayPort, two USB sockets—one of which doubles up as an e-SATA connector.
The machine also performs well thanks to its CULV Intel Core 2 Duo processor at either 1.4 GHz or 1.6GHz, up to 256MB solid-state drive, 2GB or 4GB of RAM, a fingerprint and RFID reader, a 2-megapixel Webcam, and a 1,600 by 900-pixel widescreen. It runs Windows, starting with Vista, but switching to Windows 7 when that OS launches, but it'll also have a special basic Linux install, dubbed Latitude On, which gives instant-on access to email, IM, and the Net.
Sadly, all this goodness seems like its might result in the Z being priced into the stratosphere: When it hits in August or September it's expected to cost $2,400. In comparison, the new 2.1GHz MacBook Air with a 128GB SSD now sets you back just $1,800. And remember, when it launched, the Air faced healthy criticism for its apparently high-cost, high-style features. Dell: When will you learn Apple's lessons properly?