Dell Unleashes Latitude XT2 Tablet Notebook

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Claiming to be the industry's first tablet PC with multitouch technology, Dell's Latitude XT2 laptop has a 12.1-inch WXGA (1280-x-800) LED touch-screen display that allows the user to control things like scrolling, panning, rotating and zooming, with simple gestures.

As with most things Dell, the XT2 can be fully customized from a choice of various components. Our evaluation unit had a 1.40-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U9400 processor, running Windows Vista Business on a 120-GB hard drive. The model comes with 1 GB of RAM onboard and a slot for an additional DIMM; ours had 3GB total.

With a small form-factor, overall dimensions of the XT2 are 11.7 x 8.7 x 1.1 inches and it weighs approximately 3.62 pounds with standard 4-cell battery (3.78 pounds with the optional 6-cell battery).

The notebook has a nice, sturdy feel to it and is the perfect size for holding, whether in laptop or tablet mode. The keyboard has full size keys and is very comfortable to use. Although the touch-screen is always active, in laptop mode the cursor can be controlled via either an easy-to-use "eraser tip" controller or the standard touchpad.

Like other tablets, the screen is attached to the base by a single hinge in the center. A simple 180-degree clockwise swivel allows the display to be folded down over the keyboard.

Although the bottom of the unit was warm to the touch, it never got too hot to hold as a tablet. In addition, the multitouch gestures are fairly intuitive and take almost no time to get used to.

When held in tablet (portrait) mode, the bottom of the screen becomes the right side by default. Among buttons that include a quicklaunch button for Dell's ControlPoint system panel, and a power and CRTL button, there is also a button that rotates the screen 90 degrees clockwise at each push. This makes it a breeze for left-handed users to be comfortable holding the device.

On Primate Labs' Geekbench2 benchmarking software, the XT2 scored a 1728 which, while not spectacular, is about where other systems with similar specifications fall. Despite the low score, the system showed no signs of dragging and ran smoothly and relatively quickly.

Although not the fastest unit we've tested, the Latitude XT2 has a lot to offer for a tablet in its price class. With a starting MSRP of $2,299, it is a reasonably priced tablet notebook that is a capable computer and comfortable to use.

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