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On both machines, the left-hand edge is home to a VGA connector, headset jack, SmartCard reader slot and access to the 2.5-inch hard drive which is secured with four screws. The E6520 adds a USB 2.0 port. We like Dell's use of the combined headphone/microphone jack for its cleaner look elimination of plugging mistakes. Making our way back to the the front edge, we notice that the E6520 requires a lid latch while the E6320 uses springs to stay closed. Either way is fine with us, as long as the lid latch can be operated with one hand.
Once inside, we notice a good many other identical characteristics. Both machines are equipped with a trackpad and a finger-tip pointing device, and each has its own set of buttons. The 6530's trackpad is about a quarter-inch higher than the E6320's; both are 3.25-inches wide. Both units also provide dedicated buttons for volume control and mute, a feature we always look for and favor very much. Also common are power switch and LEDs for wireless and hard drive access and battery status. The upper display bezel is home on both units to an HD web cam and mic. The 15-inch wide E6520 uses the extra two inches it has over its smaller cousin for a numerical keypad.
Between the Latitude E6520 and Latitude E6320, performance too was essentially identical. With Windows 7 settings configured to provide maximum performance, the E6320 delivered a high Geekbench 2.1.13 score of 7647, and the E6520 a high score of 7633. Statistically identical to each other, these scores are significantly higher--by 1000 to 1500 points--than scores of similarly equipped machines from other vendors.
The Bottom Line
Both the Latitude E6520 and Latitude E6320 are well-performing machines wrapped in rugged magnesium casing and equipped with Dell's motherboard-based Free Fall Sensor technology protecting hard drive data. The Latitude E6520 offers a 15.6-inch screen (vs. 13.3-inch) with native resolution up to 1920 x 1080 (vs. 1366 x 768) with optional multi-touch (vs. none) driven by an optional NVidia NVS 4200M discrete graphics adapter (vs. none). The higher-end machine also delivers four USB 2.0 ports (vs. two), a 54mm ExpressCard slot (vs. 34mm) and FireWire 1394 (vs. none). Both include dock connectors.
The 15x10-inch E6520 weighs 7.5 pounds with the AC adapter; the 13x9-inch E6320 tips the scale at 5.5 pounds. They're both about 1.25 inches thick. Starting price for the Latitude E6520 is $1090; as tested it lists for $1925. The Latitude E6320 starts at $959; as tested its list price is $2086. Both ship with a three-year basic hardware service warranty, and both are recommended products by the CRN Test Center.
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