Dell Latitude D510

The mainstream Dell Latitude D510 doesn't excel in any one area but manages to be a good all-around business notebook.


3.8
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Rather than the flashy sprinter that's first to cross the finish line, the mainstream Dell Latitude D510 is the decathlete of business notebooks, flying under the radar as it does a little bit of everything. With a mix of old and new technology, the Latitude D510 delivers reliable performance and four hours of battery life for businesses of all sizes -- but it lacks the digital creature comforts and the security hardware of its peers. From AU$1,923 (as of July 2005), which includes Dell's three-year warranty with onsite support, the Latitude D510 is a competitively priced, sturdy laptop for employees who want basic computing on the road.

It may look unremarkable and commonplace, but the Dell Latitude D510's angular gray case is about as sturdy as you'll find these days. With its shock-mounted hard drive; aluminum, magnesium, and steel frame; and magnesium case, the Latitude D510 is designed to withstand heavy everyday use. By contrast, the ThinkPad R52 has a plain old plastic case. Weighing 2.36kg and measuring 35.5mm thick, 338mm wide, and 273mm deep, the Latitude D510 wider and heavier than the R52, which places its size places it around center overall in the mainstream notebook market. With power adapter and cord, the Latitude D510 has a reasonable travel weight that's about 2.5 kilograms.

Because it's a wide-body machine, there's plenty of room for a comfortable keyboard, trackpad, and mouse buttons -- although the pad has neither a scroll button nor a dedicated zone. Our test unit came with a 15-inch XGA display that was bright and comfortable for viewing multiple windows side by side. There's also room for a modular bay that can be filled with your choice of optical drives or an extra battery; our test machine came with a CD-RW/DVD drive, but Dell offers an 8X DVD burner for a reasonable AU$88 upgrade.

The Dell Latitude D510 features all the ports most businesspeople will need, plus a few oldies but goodies. In addition to headphone and microphone jacks and four USB 2.0, FireWire, VGA, and S-Video ports, the Latitude D510 features antiquated serial and parallel ports. A Type II PC Card doubles as a slot for the upcoming high-speed ExpressCards. Mobile workers can connect to the network using a modem, Ethernet, or the integrated Intel 802.11b/g Wi-Fi radio; the Latitude D510's 100Mbps wired networking, however, might be a big turn-off for businesses looking to standardise on Gigabit Ethernet. If those connections are not enough, Dell's AU$171.60 D/Port port replicator has pass-through of all ports except for FireWire and adds S/PDIF audio and DVI connections.

As well equipped as it is, the Latitude D510 has one chink in its technological armor: it lacks a flash card reader that would make using the laptop with a digital camera or a voice recorder much easier. The system also lacks both a fingerprint scanner and a Trusted Platform Module for data encryption, so it can't match the security provided by ThinkPads.

Our test unit was loaded with Windows XP Professional; like most business-minded laptops, it came without a productivity suite. Given the Latitude D510's large screen, we'd expect to see DVD playback or other handy software preloaded on the system; however, our test unit featured only an Intel wireless-connection management utility.

Our test unit included a quick, current-generation Centrino 1.6GHz Pentium M processor, a 40GB hard drive spinning at 5,400rpm, 512MB of swift 400MHz memory, and an integrated Intel graphics accelerator. All these components add up to a surprisingly nimble performance on CNET Labs' mobile benchmarks. The Latitude D510 came in less than 5 percent behind the more expensive ThinkPad R52, which has a faster processor. The Latitude D510's battery pack ran for just over four hours on a charge, 24 minutes past the ThinkPad R52.

The Dell Latitude D510 is made with many of the same components -- such as optical drives, memory, and batterie -- as others in the Latitude D series, which can simplify troubleshooting and help reduce inventory for firms with other Latitude notebooks in use. And when it comes time to retire the laptop, Dell will help you recycle or sell the old units and move the data to your new systems.

The Latitude D510 we looked at came with a three-year economy warranty and onsite support, with service available in 90 countries. Dell's support Web site offers the expected downloads (manuals, spec sheets, and software updates) and setup tips, as well as a great chat room to help resolve problems. If all else fails, you can call the company's 24/7 toll-free support line or send e-mail at any time during the warranty period.

Mobile application performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating
Dell Latitude D510
207
Toshiba Tecra A4-S211
186

Battery life
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery-life minutes
Dell Latitude D510
244
Toshiba Tecra A4-S211
170

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ME
1
Rating
 

ME posted a review   

The Good:NOTHING

The Bad:ALL

INSANE to have to replace the mother board which I could almost buy a new laptop for the cost of! Only gave it a 1 because 0 wasn't an option! UGH!

Yavna
3
Rating
 

Yavna posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:waste of money and time

Very bad computer I have ever used.
Especialy, it can not be repaired easily. The spare parts are very costly. Dell makes money by giving very poor quality chinese made items and I am surprised as soon as the warrenty is void every thing gives trouble. You will be repairing one by one and eventualy you need to pay double the cost of this computer for service. My suggesion is that you not even look at Dell computer whatever price they give. If you already made the mistake of buying one, and if it sarts giving trouble, just throw away and you will feel how true is my statement.

scarbo
2
Rating
 

scarbo posted a review   

The Good:Its good when it works.

The Bad:It costs as much as a car to keep replacing the motherboard everytime the ac input breaks. Unbelievable.

Same problem. I've been through 2 motherboards - both broke due to the power input component failing. Its bordering on a scam.

SY1803
5
Rating
 

SY1803 posted a review   

The Good:competitive priced and convenient to use when it's functioning.

The Bad:Poor quality and liability

I had the same problem with my latitude D510, which works fine from a charged battery but would not work from AC adapter directly. The computer works from a port replicator (model: PR01X) too. It's only two years old. The motherboard definitely has some defective part. I hope someone will take this case to a class action so the problem can be taken care of.

D510user
5
Rating
 

D510user posted a review   

The Good:good price and easy to use

The Bad:poor reliability and quality.

My latitude D510 quit working from AC power but works fine from battery. The battery would not get charging with AC power. Something was wrong with the motherboard based on the comments here. I bought this one just about two years ago. There were some defective parts on the motherboard. Dell should repair the defective motherboard.

hideawaybar
2
Rating
 

hideawaybar posted a review   

The Good:it lasted about 2 years, and they did accept return on The new battery and adapter I purchased while trouble shooting.

The Bad:should last longer

I had the same problem, computer would not run with adapter attached, and would not charge the battery. the tech told me about motherboard problem. this machine was less then three years old. I will never buy another Dell Product!

pigdog
10
Rating
 

pigdog posted a review   

The Good:yes

The Bad:no

sweet as a nut mate, sweet as a nut

 

Sgr posted a reply   

Really mine will not charge people like u make me mad

BadLatitude
2
Rating
 

BadLatitude posted a review   

The Good:Was easily customized over the phone when initially ordering.

The Bad:Extremely poor reliability, expensive to repair (bordering on fraudulent), uncaring customer service

My D510 Latitude has been terrible. I owned my laptop for just over a year when it would not power up using the power cord, although it still operated from a battery charge. Dell customer service was not helpful Because they my one year warranty expired, I had to pay $50 to have someone tell me that my one and half year old motherboard needed to be replaced.

Talk about a scam. They sold a defective product and then charged me $50 just to tell me I'd need to spend hundreds more to fix their defective product!

I then took it to a local repair shop who indicated that Dell Latitudes experience the problem quite frequently and it almost always requires the motherboard to be replaced.

I did some additional background research and Dell had similar problems with its Inspiron model. They were sued in a class action suit and a court ordered Dell to return motherboard repair charges and fix the problem for free. Unfortunately for me, this only applies to Inspiron and not Latitudes with the same problem (for the time being, anyway)

I've owned several laptops--Toshiba, Panasonic, IBM and HP. I will never buy a Dell again.

Pete
2
Rating
 

Pete posted a review   

The Good:None

The Bad:Motherboard sucks

This laptop has been a nightmare. We bought 6 at work Not only did mine ship with a badmother board it has had FOUR replaced since. Out of the six ALL of them have had the motherboard replaced at least once. All of the sudden it just wont power up. No lights nothing. Dell always has to send a new power adapter FIRST so it takes about two weeks to get the thing fixed.


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User Reviews / Comments  Dell Latitude D510

  • ME

    ME

    Rating1

    "INSANE to have to replace the mother board which I could almost buy a new laptop for the cost of! Only gave it a 1 because 0 wasn't an option! UGH!"

  • Yavna

    Yavna

    Rating3

    "Very bad computer I have ever used.
    Especialy, it can not be repaired easily. The spare parts are very costly. Dell makes money by giving very poor quality chinese made items and I am surpri..."

  • scarbo

    scarbo

    Rating2

    "Same problem. I've been through 2 motherboards - both broke due to the power input component failing. Its bordering on a scam."

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