The Executive Branch: Dell Unveils Latitude Z Notebook

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Dell is rolling out a new version of its business-focused Latitude line of notebooks designed for executives who need high functionality as well as security and style for their jobs.

The Dell Latitude Z Series notebook is designed for executives who are looking for portability and design paired with function. This latest offering from Dell is a 16-inch notebook built with enough power and security features to protect the data of an executive while simultaneously making a statement with its design and features.

A feature new to the Dell Latitude Z is its 'Always On' function, which provides executives nearly instant access to the applications that are most frequently used and may not require a full boot of the notebook. Specifically, Always On gives its users the ability to access Microsoft Outlook, provide access to a Web browser and sync quickly with contacts.

The Latitude Z accomplishes this by housing a system-within-a-system inside the notebook. In addition to a traditional motherboard equipped with a Windows environment, the Latitude Z is built with a second motherboard that is approximately the size of a business card, complete with a WiFi radio, ARM processor and 512 MB of memory.

That second motherboard allows users to access the Always On function with a single press of a button, quickly providing access to Outlook or a Web browser without having to go through the whole rigmarole of booting a notebook.

The thought behind the Latitude Z is that when an executive deplanes and is en route to a business meeting, he or she can have full access to an e-mail account, rather than try to read an attachment or e-mail on a BlackBerry.

Dell specifically designed this Latitude to make a statement, and while the Z may be a different branch of the family targeted at executives, there are still some features that entrench it in the Latitude family. The notebook is different from the Dell Adamo, for example, because Latitude is designed for the enterprise -- that means IT managers can still set security features, protect data and easily swap or replace parts that may become damaged.

The Latitude Z is built with an Intel Core 2 Duo ultra-low-voltage processor and comes with up to 4 GB of DDR3 memory. The screen on the notebook is a 16-inch 1,600-x-900 high-definition display that is large enough for users to comfortably work in multiple windows.

Storage can be customized by users depending on their requirements. Users can equip the Latitude Z with a single or dual SSD drives, with each drive boasting up to 256 GB of memory.

Charging the Latitude Z can be done one of two ways. A standard cable can be plugged into the back of the notebook and then into the wall to restore the charge on either the 4- or 8-cell Li-ion battery. In addition, a coil is built into the bottom of the notebook that matches to a charging stand. When the system is placed on the stand, the notebook charges as if it were plugged into a wall outlet.

The Dell Latitude Z notebook's starting weight is about 4.5 pounds. The Latitude Z is currently available from Dell and starts at $1999.

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