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Summary:

The enterprise notebook space is much more interesting now that Dell has announced the Latitude Z. The Z is a 16-inch ultra-thin “preppy” notebook with some firsts for the the industry. Dell has outfitted the Latitude Z with the first wireless charging option for a notebook. […]

Latitude Z Notebook LifestyleThe enterprise notebook space is much more interesting now that Dell has announced the Latitude Z. The Z is a 16-inch ultra-thin “preppy” notebook with some firsts for the the industry. Dell has outfitted the Latitude Z with the first wireless charging option for a notebook. That’s not all though, they’ve also made an option for wireless docking in an attempt to leave the Z totally untethered in the office. They threw the new Latitude ON capability that uses a second processor to allow working with a network without booting into Windows. This innovation won’t come cheap, though, and no doubt why the Z is aimed firmly at the enterprise market.

Latitude Z Notebook

The hardware of the Latitude Z is impressive, starting with magnesium alloy in the Black Cherry finish with a soft touch finish. The 16-inch screen displays 1600×900 and is accompanied by a backlit chiclet keyboard and a multitouch trackpad. There is an option to outfit the Z with two SSD drives for maximum storage capacity. The notebook weighs in at a respectable 4.4 pounds and is only 14.5 mm (0.57 inches) thick. The power adapter is small and light for easy portability.

Latitude Z Notebook Keyboard Detail

The Latitude ON feature is different than other instant-on methods currently used, as this has a dedicated second processor to make it work more efficiently. A 1-inch square motherboard contains an ARM processor and small amount of memory (512 MB or so) to power the Latitude ON feature. Dell believes that in the corporate environment, where applications are served on Citrix or Exchange Servers, the Latitude Z user can spend most of his/her day in the Latitude ON environment. This means no booting to Windows, although the Z can toggle via button press between the two environments. The Latitude ON environment is fully connected via VPN or other secure methods to the enterprise network. It runs as a client in the setup, not a standalone system. The ARM processor used allows the system to shut down the Intel processor when not in use so the Z can maintain decent battery life in this environment.

Latitude Z Notebook StandThe most impressive innovation that Dell brings to the Z is the wireless charging. This is accomplished via a notebook stand that is plugged into the standard power adapter. The notebook is set on the stand and instantly begins charging. While inductive charging is prone to lose up to half of the energy due to the technology, Dell maintains their method charges at over 70 percent efficiency. The notebook plugs in normally when away from the stand. The wireless charging requires an optional module in the notebook in addition to the stand. Both pieces will cost about $200 each, making the system add a fair chunk of change to the package.

Dell is not content to have wireless charging, they are also making an option available for a wireless dock. This dock will operate over UWB and in addition to standard USB functions will handle wireless video using DVI on the dock. It is conceivable that the Z owner could have the notebook and charging stand concealed, and with the addition of a hidden wireless dock have just a keyboard, mouse and display on the desk with no wires. The price of the wireless dock is not known yet.

Latitude Z Notebook with Accessories

There is a 2 MP webcam on the Latitude Z with autofocus, and three features to take advantage of it. The Dell FaceAway utility is a facial recognition similar to that of competitor’s that will log the user on by scanning the face with the camera. There is also a utility to scan business cards into Outlook using the camera, with built-in OCR. Lastly, the webcam is a document scanner that can convert paper documents into digital PDFs by holding them in front of the camera.

Latitude Z NotebookThe Latitude Z has all of the standard capabilities we expect in notebooks in addition to the fancy stuff we’ve described. There is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and integrated 3G available for configuration. The new Latitude is available today in the U. S., select countries in Europe and Asia, and in Canada. This technology won’t come cheap, with the basic configuration starting at $1,999. Complete information can be obtained through the Latitude Z web site.

  1. I have to admit, there are some pretty cool features to be found in this Latitude Z, particularly the low-power Latitude ON hardware that runs alongside the main Wintel hardware and the inductive notebook stand.

    Perhaps some of these features will carry over to a Latitude XT3 convertible Tablet PC, along with a switch to Wacom’s pen+multi-touch digitizer tech…I’m hoping, anyway. (And it’ll probably still be as overpriced as ever, at least from Dell, but at least they might be able to make it look as if it just might be worth the price premium this time.)

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  2. Dell’s transforming itself from generic box builder to innovator quite well. A 16″ 4.2ib laptop is quite in itself, but this goes much further.

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  3. GoodThings2Life Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Very, very nice… but any time the starting price is at my usual cut-off point for a system… ouch.

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  4. So what would you rather bring to Starbucks? I tiny AC brick or this annoying “wireless” recharging stand?

    Sorry, but give me the AC brick.

    Sometimes technology tries to be too cute I think

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    1. You actually think that you have to use the stand for power? I’d guess that that the brick can plug into both the stand and the laptop.

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    2. The stand is the wireless charger. As the article states:

      “The notebook plugs in normally when away from the stand.”

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    3. The fact that you thought you needed to bring that stand everywhere makes me wonder if you’re qualified to own a computer at all.

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  5. Hi,

    Can you tell me when it will be launched in India and a rough estimation of how much this awesome laptop will cost in India?

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  6. Wow, impressive design from Dell. They had me at 16″ screen, backlight keyboard, thin form factor. But the wireless charging, wireless dock, and secondary processor are mind boggling. This is a Dell?

    The only downside is the screen. I’m not buying a laptop with a resolution less than 1920×1200. Screen size and resolution are more important to me than portability. A 17″ or 18″ version would be even better, but the Latitude Z definitely has me thinking of something other than at 17″ Macbook Pro.

    FYI, the link to the Dell website is broken. Hopefully more details will be available soon.

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  7. Nothing like writing a blog entry by copying Dells ad. Not thatI expect much more form this site. Many corporations have given up on Dells long ago because of shoddy quality and support and switched to HP laptops. I know of quite a few. Dell and the others trying to copy Apple don’t get that is the OS and hardware combination and how well they work together that makes Macs what they are. Plus its topped off with best in class support. Dull has none of those things. They just throw out products to see what sticks. Like the Adamo that nobody bought. Take a look at their stock price to see the results.

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    1. Not a word was copied from Dell’s ad, contrary to your belief. I had a one-on-one briefing with Dell and went over every aspect of the Z and the wireless technology. I asked a lot of questions which were answered in this post. I also expect to have a hands-on evaluation unit in a few weeks to carry on the direct reporting.

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    2. My firm supports hundreds of clients, less than 2% use HP Laptops. 85%+ use Dell, about 5% use Mac and 5% use Lenovo.

      The people that use HP’s do not use them as primarys. They sit in the servers rooms as backups and are for the most part a generation or two old as those users have switched to Mac or Dell.

      IBM/Lenovo users are hardcore.. they won’t switch to Dell/Mac/Etc they all want their X60′s.. period.

      The CEO’s/Partners all want Macs (and thats ok since most don’t do much work, they don’t need Office 2007/Etc)

      All admins/assistants/etc use Dell E/D Series Laptops or Optiplex Workstations.

      I must admit I have one HP desktop, its in one of our clients serverooms. I use it as a stepping stool to reach items above the rack. Comes in very handy.

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  8. I guess wireless charging is the future, but it doesn’t seem efficient enough at this point.

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  9. The Wireless Dock doesn’t have ethernet! Yes, you read that right, no ethernet. Sure, it does USB and Display wirelessly, but you have to plug in your ethernet to your laptop if you dont have wifi. Not all offices have wifi. I can’t believe I missed that on the specs.

    Why would I assume that a wireless dock would have the same basic features as a normal Dell laptop dock???

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    1. If I’m not mistaken its actually replicating a USB Dock. Much like how the Lenovo X300′s dock via USB. SO with that comes other limitations like the 22″ screen resolution, single monitor only.. etc. Its not a ‘true’ dock which is unfortunate as I’d buy one of these for every employee if it had the option for even a standard (non wireless dock) that could support dual 24″s like the E Series and D Series Laptops do.

      That was the deal breaker for me.

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  10. Hi everyone,

    I bought the laptop a week ago and these are all good comments. It’s a nice, sleek laptop. Expensive but cutting-edge. The wireless dock without ethernet – I missed that one, too. Not sure how I’m going to get around that except for plugging the cord in directly to the laptop. I graduated from an XPS M1710 and loved the big screen on the XPS, but it was a brick. The Z’s light weight was an important factor for me.

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