Toy Box: The little and large of the laptop world

Dell's latest laptop line-up, the D-class Latitude series, has gone for the arty industrial design look: all brushed metals and Germanic corners. Under the hood they're all getting far too grunty for their own good.

Dell's latest laptop line-up, the D-class Latitude series, has gone for the arty industrial design look: all brushed metals and Germanic corners. Under the hood they're all getting far too grunty for their own good.

Some have the full Centrino mobile chipset whack while other options include just going for the mobile chip and not bothering with the Intel wireless add-on. Intel will be working overtime explaining the new speed paradigm it's pushing. Clock speed isn't, apparently, the only true measure of laptop performance any more. I wonder if AMD has heard about this.

The two extreme models are interesting. The big-endian D800 model is the first non-Apple notebook to go for the monster 15.4in wide-aspect screen and, boy, is it a whopper. Weighing in at 3.175kg. Carry it under your arm and you'll need to tie a white flag on the back to avoid clipping people when you turn corners. It sits on an unusual stand as well: this one tips at a strange angle and looks ungainly as a newborn foal, but it seems to work quite well in practice. Built with graphics in mind, this puppy comes equipped with an Nvidia GeForce4 4200 Go Video Graphics card with either 32MB or 64MB of DDR dedicated memory. I imagine you could play quite a nice game on it also.

At the little end of the spectrum is the yet to be released X 300, the ultra portable. Made from the lightest materials, slimmer than a TV newsreader, the X 300 is flat out like a lizard drinking. Of course the price tag will probably match, but if you have to carry a laptop when you don't want to this is the beast for you. No pricing yet, the X300 is due out later this year.

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