Dell Latitude Z: Lofty Ambitions, Lofty Price

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The Dell Latitude Z notebook is the second recent offering from the company that's heavy on features but surprisingly expensive.

The Latitude Z was rolled out Tuesday and is being targeted at executives and other enterprise employees who need a notebook that makes a statement. The notebook was built as part of the Latitude series, which ensures that IT staff can easily manage the notebook and secure its data while still giving the user hardware that is capable of impressing clients with its style and versatility.

But as anyone who is a frequent flyer knows, with those leather seats comes an executive price. The Dell Latitude Z starts at $1,999 -- and that doesn't even include one of the more innovative features of the notebook.

The Latitude Z may be the first notebook designed to be charged wirelessly. The hardware is built with a coil in the bottom that matches with a coil built into a docking station. When the notebook is placed on the station, the notebook recharges without having to be plugged into an outlet.

But the wireless dock isn't included in the Latitude Z's starting price and will cost about an additional $200 once it becomes available.

That puts the cost of the Latitude Z notebook, with wireless dock, starting about $2,200, about the same class as the Adamo.

The Adamo was unveiled in March by Dell with a starting price of $1,999 and has a heavy emphasis on design. Designed to be a competitor for the MacBook Air, the Adamo was clearly Dell's premium notebook offering.

The problem with the Adamo at launch, however, was the current economic climate. The MacBook Air was released before the economy tanked, something the Adamo can't boast.

That's why it is surprising for Dell to roll out the Latitude Z now with such a high price point. Will there be some takers for the premium enterprise notebook? Most likely. But with CIOs increasingly working with CFOs to cut costs, justifying the cost of the notebook -- plus an extra $200 for a wireless docking station -- might be difficult.

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