Dell introduces the Latitude 13, a semi-rugged laptop for education

The education space is a battle arena for business notebooks that want to prove they are durable enough to serve use by hundreds of kids and cheap enough to fit into the local school budget. While Dell and Lenovo are both shooting for first place, Dell still has the advantage of having more government contracts already signed off. To improve their existing lineup of machines, the company has announced the new “classroom-ready” Latitude 13 laptop.

Dell quotes the machine as an “education series laptop that is built to meet the needs of any student computing program”, which is quite a high statement considering many high school students are already playing around with Photoshop and AutoCAD.

So what has dell done to ensure the laptop is truly “classroom-ready”? They began by surrounding both the LCD and base unit in a rubberized trim and created a “sealed” keyboard and touchpad to prevent liquid from entering the machine. Because I briefly used to work for a local school district in their IT department, I can vouch that these features are an excellent addition that should attract the attention of any school network administrator.

In addition to the table drops and chocolate milk spills that the unit can withstand, the unit also includes Corning Gorilla Glass’s latest NBT Glass; this should prevent some of the screens breaking issues that arise when students smash down the lids of their work machines.

The units also include the “network activity light” that we first saw on Dell’s Latitude Netbooks back in the day. The light included on the back of the screen can light up when students begin to access the internet, instead of paying attention to their lectures.

Dell has not yet released any words on technical specifications, but the unit will start at $539 and non-touch models of the unit will be available in red, blue and black – touch models will only be available in black.

How have laptops evolved since you used them in school?

Source: Microsoft

Michael Archambault